Symphony Lodge No 4924 was consecrated on the morning of 20 September 1927, formed to accommodate musicians who in those days, played two houses in Blackpool, so were unable to attend a lodge in the evening. The lodge has gone through many phases over the years and at one time seemed to become a lodge of local councilors as the entertainment industry went into decline. Fortunately, it is now back on track and the lodge has several musician and entertainers as members.
The WM of the lodge Denis Askham, and the day’s installing master, is the stage manager at the North Pier in Blackpool and is very experienced in that role so it is fitting that he is now master and manager of this prestigious entertainers’ lodge. The master elect David Wilson was initiated into Symphony Lodge in 2013 and David is a very interesting character; not only is he a lecturer in IT at Morecambe College, in his spare time he designs and manufactures jewelry.
However he fits perfectly into Symphony Lodge for a totally different reason; he is also a very accomplished magician and a member of the Magic Circle. It is therefore wholly appropriate that his proposer into Symphony Lodge was Arthur Casson who is also in the entertainment business as an organist and singer and also a member of the Magic Circle.
The general business of the lodge having been completed with stage managed efficiency by Denis, Geoff Pritchard, representing the Provincial Grand Master, processed into the lodge room along with Blackpool Group Chairman John Turpin.
Denis invited the installing officers to occupy their respective chairs; Steve Smith as the installing senior warden, Vincent Carte as the installing junior warden and Juan Topping as the installing inner guard. With everyone in their places the stage was set for Denis’ finest performance as he installed his successor David. The resulting ceremony was a delight, impeccable and entertaining, worthy of any London West End show.
Also taking centre stage was Alistair Still, the formidable director of ceremonies of the lodge who, being the perfectionist that he most certainly is, had the honour of presenting the master elect to the lodge and also giving the address to the newly installed master.
Also basking in the limelight were the brethren who presented the working tools; commencing with the third degree tools impeccably given by Paul Auckland, the second degree tools were expertly presented by lodge stalwart Vincent Carte and the first degree tools delivered with style by Peter Baldwin.
The show continued into the second half with further addresses being delivered by the highly experienced Masons of the lodge. Following quickly on the heels of excellence, came brilliance. Geoff Pritchard rose with his customary dignity and delivered the address to the brethren of the lodge in a most eloquent and sincere manner.
The installation ceremony finally having its last curtain call, Geoff rose to bring the greetings of the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, assuring the brethren that had Tony been there, he would have relinquished his star billing in favour of the installing master Denis.
David thanked Geoff for the kind words and presented him with a number of cheques to local charities totaling £4,500. The lodge also donated £1,400 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival, making Symphony Lodge a Grand Patron of the Festival. Group chairman John Turpin presented the Grand Patron certificate to David, asking him to display it at every lodge meeting. Total donations on the day were an impressive £5,900.
After the ceremony had ended, the brethren retired to the festive board for an afternoon of congenial company with a raffle raising a magnificent £145 to start the fund raising for the forthcoming year.
The final showstopper and curtain call of the afternoon was Peter Baldwin singing the master’s song accompanied by Arthur Casson.
Article and photographs Gordon Ivett.