Masonic music to the ears of Perfect Points

Gary Smith (left) presenting John Lancaster with his prize.

Gary Smith (left) presenting John Lancaster with his prize.

The members of the Perfect Points met at Chorley Masonic Hall to enjoy an evening of Masonic music to be performed by chairman Gary Smith and past chairman David Harrison, with Martin Brownlow on the organ. Longstanding member Stephen Gregory had researched and put together a very interesting talk outlining some of the music and songs that are used both in the lodge as well as at the festive board.

So often we hear different music and just take it for granted. However those present for the evening discovered that almost every happening has a particular piece of music associated with it. For example the usual processional ode is written by Stevens, whereas other choices might be The Grand March from Aida written by Verdi, the march from Scipio written by Handel or even the Prince of Denmark’s March by Clarke.

The members had all been supplied with a song sheet for the evening and sang along to many of the songs, for example the opening ode was sung using the three most popular tunes for each verse, those being University College, Innocents and St. Bees. Stephen explained that his research had uncovered eight different melodies that are used for the opening ode.

The evening continued with demonstrations from Martin of many other pieces of music used, for example, balloting of a candidate is usually accompanied by Felix Mendelssohn’s Andante Cantabile; the charity collection is usually conducted to the tunes of ‘Pennies from Heaven’ or ‘If I was a rich man’. Stevens wrote another piece particularly for the admission of distinguished guests which is used at installations and celebrations. The members also discovered that there are four verses to the closing ode which they sang with gusto to the tunes of ‘Abide with Me’, ‘St Sylvester’, ‘St Oswald’ and ‘The Old Hundredth’.

Onto the festive board and the audience discovered that there are many traditions and songs sung for different events or toasts including; ‘Worthy Mason He’, ‘Hail Worthy Master’, ‘Prosper the Art’, ‘Join us in Harmony’ and ‘Eternal Father’, all of which were sung by all present. Gary and David then sang ‘Here’s to His Health’, otherwise known as the master’s song and once again pointed out that there are actually four verses which they sang as a duet.

The presentation ended with Stephen getting all the members present to form a circle around Gary, Peter Rees Mike Turner and Steven Lowe to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’. The members then gave a round of applause to all who had taken part, which of course included themselves.

Following the presentation a meal of Guinness and beef stew with potatoes and vegetables followed by an apple pie with cream was enjoyed by all. Gary then asked all present to play a game of heads and tails, which involved placing their hands on either their heads or their bottoms as he tossed a coin to decide a winner, those losing each round to sit out. John Lancaster was the eventual winner and was presented with a bottle of whisky. A most enjoyable evening was had by all.

 Pictured from left to right, are: Dave Harrison, Gary Smith, Steven Gregory and Martin Brownlow at the organ.

Pictured from left to right, are: Dave Harrison, Gary Smith, Steven Gregory and Martin Brownlow at the organ.