The Gates Manor Band : Jan HembyThe Gates Manor Band

Fifty-year-old Julia Burch’s comfortable lifestyle has left her unfulfilled and longing to return to the simpler times of the past.  However, in the hours following her mother’s death, the past returns to her in the form of a mysterious phone call. She hears herself and her childhood friend Margaret Gates as teenagers chatting about their upcoming band concert. She is bewildered, but planning her mother’s funeral reclaims her focus. Days later she finds a cassette tape collection in her mother’s keepsakes which includes a recording of this concert. She is shocked to discover that the dates of the concert and the phone call are the same. Remembering that her band director Caleb Morgan received an award at this concert, she decides to give this memento to him. She learns from his answering machine greeting that he and his wife Minnie still reside in the area, and that he tutors at her old high school. When her visit to the school results in another tryst with the past, Julia leaves shaken and desperate for answers. Back in her car she notices a missed call from the Morgan’s on her cell phone. She is invited to their home where they become reacquainted. Julia eventually confides in the Morgan’s who help her to understand that God allowed these recent events to uncover the source of her unhappiness. They pray with her as she returns to her first love commitment to Christ.

Her faith renewed, Julia learns that there is another purpose for her reconnecting with the Morgan’s. As past events are disclosed, Julia learns that her friend Margaret was abused by her wealthy father’s business partner, Horace Bennington, and actually missed that band concert yeas ago. Julia feels a sense of urgency to locate Margaret, unaware that she is planning suicide. Not wanting to be a burden to her brother Preston, and overwhelmed by the pain of her past, Margaret sees no other way out. She leaves Preston a letter telling him about her abuse and one other dark secret: Horace also raped their mother resulting in her pregnancy with Preston.

Julia interrupts Margaret’s plan and introduces her to a new life in Christ. Preston later stops by Margaret’s apartment where he finds her letter. He is devastated, but assumes that Horace has already passed and wants nothing to do with Horace’s two other sons. But Margaret has a divine appointment with Horace before he dies. In a powerful encounter she offers him an unexpected parting gift:  the unconditional love of God.

After Horace’s passing, his younger son learns about what happened to Margaret and her mother. A Christian himself, he feels that Preston should be made an equal heir to his biological father’s estate. Because of a change in the will made years earlier by the greedy older brother, ironically, Preston already is! Furthermore, this younger brother wants to use his own inheritance proceeds to purchase the old Gates Manor and transform it into a safe haven for abuse victims, with Margaret at the helm. But one important component is missing. It is the universal language of music. Julia and Margaret realize that incorporating a band music program would place the Gates Manor in a class by itself.  This dream soon becomes a reality. In a home where fear and abuse once dominated, now the healing love of Jesus Christ rules. Several months after the facility opens, The “Gates Manor Band” makes its debut performance. And this is one concert Margaret wouldn’t miss for the world.

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