While lending a relaxed ear to the soothing tones of Brahms and Schubert, a deduction was formed in the mind that the designation of a musical composition as a ‘symphony’ implies sophistication and seriousness of purpose, generally in the classical idiom and that such an analogy can be equally applied to Symphony Lodge No 4924. Supporting this statement, the ceremony of initiation of its newest member handsomely demonstrated the lodge’s credentials.
The air was charged with happy anticipation as the members and guests assembled for the daytime meeting of the lodge at Blackpool Masonic hall. 24 year old property manager Simon Wilson may well have been a little less full of beans than those who were familiar with the processes of joining a lodge, for it was to be his initiation. He had no idea of what was to be involved.
Having relocated from Wrexham to Blackpool, Simon was keen to join Freemasonry and had discussed the ins-and-outs of it in detail with Steve Smith, secretary of Symphony Lodge. In Steve’s words: “Simon was inquisitive to the nth degree, wanting to learn as much as he could. He now brings that tremendous enthusiasm with him.” There is little doubt that his initiation ceremony will drive his enthusiasm still further. It was delightfully orchestrated and superbly performed.
Master of the lodge John Gledhill opened the lodge and presided over its general business with zeal and efficiency before inviting immediate past master Jules Burton to assist by conducting Simon’s initiation ceremony. Those who know Jules know that he is a singularly capable ritualist. In fact, taking him by and large, he is perhaps one of the most capable of all players. Anyone acquainted with his skills will not be surprised to learn that his performance was full of theatre, bringing an enchanting blend of life and rhythm to the occasion. The values, principles and concepts of Masonry’s philosophy were clearly and accurately communicated by his distinct enunciation and bold projection in delivery of the text. It was a star performance.
Inspired no doubt by Jules’ brilliance, Peter Baldwin’s recital of the working tools was equally exemplary, as indeed was Sam Steeples’ performance in investing Simon with the distinguishing badge of a Mason.
It then became the turn of John Gledhill to once again shine. In a sincere and delightful presentation of the charge after initiation, John well and truly completed a wonderful ceremony in which Simon was solidly received into Freemasonry. The experience had noticeably sparked his enthusiasm, a point he emphasised later at the festive board during his response to the toast to the new candidate.
Concluding the warmth of the welcome to Symphony Lodge, Blackpool Group Mentor Bill Hembrow presented Simon with a group welcoming pack that answered some of the questions that had likely sprung to Simon’s thoughts during the ceremony.
Whilst receiving Simon into the fraternity was in itself a delight, the pleasures were magnified by the fact that during the preceding month the lodge had initiated Chelsea pensioner Alan Thubron. Simon at 24 years old and Alan at 72 years young maintains a perfect balance of young and slightly more mature to project the lodge and its values still further over the coming years.
Symphony Lodge composed, under the conductorship of Alistair Still, a ceremony awash with sophistication and seriousness of purpose; exactly what designates a symphony. But it was the quality of the performers that made it a classical movement. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, himself a Freemason, would have been proud to put his name to it.