Our Organists Entertain
Without question Music is an important part of Masonic Ceremonies but how many realise the amazing amount of work the Masonic Organist puts into his craft?
Two superb examples are our Provincial Organists: Worshipful Brother John Fry and Companion Christopher Humphreys, respectively the current Craft and Holy Royal Arch Chapter Grand Organists for the Province of East Kent. In addition to providing the music for Provincial meetings and other important events, John and Chris play for many other Lodges and Chapters across the County. The scope of Chris and John’s most recent work was heard in October 2018 at the Investiture of Right Worshipful Brother Neil Hamilton Johnstone as our new Provincial Grand Master and Most Excellent Grand Superintendent.
John points out – “Our preparations for such important Provincial events start quite few weeks earlier when we receive a copy of the Order of Proceedings. Our job then is to choose music that is not only appropriate for the various processions in and out, but also musically dresses the occasion and adds atmosphere and further meaning to what is happening throughout. These would be a very different events without the right music”.
Chris adds “The range and quality of instrument being played is also a very important factor. I use a Technics Organ which is brought along by the Provincial team. As this organ was originally designed for home use it benefits from some extra amplification, courtesy of my own amplifier. I know, however, that John prefers to use his own keyboard and amplifier both of which he has obtained specially for such occasions.”
Generally, and from a musical perspective, typical processional music being played during these events includes:-
Beethoven – ‘Ode To Joy’
Gluck – ‘Alceste’
Handel – ‘Lascia Chio Pianga (also known as “Rialdo”)
Wesley – ‘Stand forth O Worthy Craftsmen’
Mendelssohn – ‘War March of the Priests’
Handel – ‘Largo’
‘Sheep May Safely Graze‘, plus other fine composers’ works are played when lighter music is required, and the recessions traditionally include sung versions of Elgar’s – Land of Hope and Glory (Provincial Craft) and Parry’s – Jerusalem (Provincial Chapter) and, of course, The National Anthem.
Unlike most other Active Provincial appointments, which typically are for one or two years, Provincial Organists are appointed for anything up to five years or more, but all of the Organists who have played for many years for the many Craft Lodges and Chapters across the Province of East Kent give a similar degree of dedication as that shown by John and Chris, often attending more than one meeting each week as guest Organist and travelling to each venue at their own expense.
So a big thank you to John and Chris and, indeed, to all our Organists for their fine work and dedication; it wouldn’t be the same without you!
John (Left) Chris (right)
Worshipful Master of Sir Edward Elgar Lodge No 9837
‘Celebrating the Heritage and Gift of Music’
John Fry playing at the Tovil Masonic Centre, Maidstone
Chris Humphreys playing at the Margate Masonic Centre