Can you imagine a life without music?
A film without a soundtrack? A funeral without a hymn or song to represent a loved one’s life? A wedding without a romantic first dance song? The list could go on and on!
I think we can safely say that life is much better and more richer for having music in it.
When you’re happy or even when you’re sad, in fact whatever emotion you can feel I can pretty much guarantee there will be a piece of music or a song to accommodate your mood.
So music really is a vital part of our lives. Music can make you either remember everything or forget everything!
They even call it the ‘rhythm’ of life because life does have a beat, a rhythm, a song!
Music is equally important for Freemasons. The ‘Organist’ or ‘Director of Music’ provides musical accompaniment to lodge proceedings, although there is no set form.
Many lodge rooms are equipped with a pipe organ or electronic organ, and in others, there is even provision for a wider range of instruments, but are we making the most of this?
At Lodge meetings we have the opening and closing odes and a few Lodges are lucky enough to have an organist play these important tunes and to also have them perform pieces of music to ‘fill in the gaps’ during meetings, but for a lot of lodges, who don’t have an organist, they don’t have this luxury and that is a real shame.
An organist can make all the difference in Lodge. Yet there is a huge shortage of organists within the craft, which is really sad for Freemasonry.
Having an organist at meetings really does make all the difference and makes the whole meeting flow more smoothly.
Yet there are so few organists coming forward to perform.
Why is that? There are a lot of questions we need to ask ourselves.
Are we doing all we can to encourage musicians to step forward and play their vital role in our Lodge meetings?
How can we attract musicians to come in to the craft?
Are we encouraging our young University Masons to play for us?
Do we already have brethren in our ranks who may have organ, keyboard or piano skills who might just need a little bit of encouragement to come forward and play for us?
Have you asked members of your own Lodge if they can play?
Do you have a competent organist who is able to pass on his skills to a brethren from another Lodge?
UGLE knows and appreciates the important role music plays in our meetings and when the Grand Stewards’ Lodge were looking for a suitable project that they could support to commemorate the Tercentenary of the first Grand Lodge on 24th June 1717.
It was decided that the organ in Temple 10, that was roughly 50 years old and had stopped working, would be replaced so music could once again be played and enjoyed in the Temple.
It was the replacement of that organ that was ultimately chosen as the lodge’s project to celebrate the Tercentenary.
A total of £65,000 was raised to pay for the new organ, which was installed in the latter part of 2017 by Viscount Organs and inaugurated at The Grand Stewards’ Lodge installation meeting on 17th January 2018 by the then Grand Organist, Carl Jackson MVO.
UGLE has also established very close links with the Royal College of Organists, which was founded by Freemason Richard Limpus in 1864, and now funds the RCO Freemasons’ Prize, as well as providing Freemasons’ Bursaries to cover items such as tuition fees and travelling expenses.
As a result, the new organ in Temple 10 is available to pupils who wish to practise for their exams.
So, we know organists play a vital role within Freemasonry and we have a long, proud tradition of having the organ played at our meetings.
We now need to make sure this tradition does not fade away into just a fond memory of the days when we used to have music!
Having an organist does matter to us and we should really do all in our power to keep our organists playing and encourage new players to come forward.
Let’s keep the music playing!
Organist / Director of Music
The ‘Organist’ or ‘Director of Music’ provides musical accompaniment to lodge proceedings, although there is no set form. Many lodge rooms are equipped with a pipe organ or electronic organ, and in others, there is provision for a wider range of instruments. In other places, the Director of Music operates recorded or digital music systems.
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