"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Samuel Lawson's 'Songs From the Lodge'


Music was an intrinsic part of Masonic lodge meetings at least since the transformation to speculative Masonry in the 1600s. Anderson's Constitutions in 1723 includes a number of songs that were commonly sung during those lodge gatherings at the formation of the premiere grand lodge in London - and undoubtedly from before that. 

Over the next centuries, music in lodge waxed and waned depending upon the traditions of a particular lodge or the talents of its members. By the turn of the 19th into the 20th century, pipe organs were commonplace in well to do lodges, and Shrines and Templar Commanderies tried to outdo each other with their own special theme music and marches composed by their own Masonic musicians. By the 1950s, the electric Wurlitzer console organ was becoming a regular sight in countless lodges, which frequently had their own harp-shaped collar jewel specifically for the lodge musician. 

Sadly today, most of those mighty Wurlitzers sit broken or dust covered in an unused corner of lodge rooms, or consigned to the basement by Masons too sheepish to simply have them hauled away, but too talentless or unmotivated to take up the instrument themselves and lead their brethren in song once again.


My friend and Lodge Vitruvian Brother Samuel Lawson is an extraordinarily talented musician. He is a music teacher, classical guitarist, singer, and serves as director of the Chorus of the Indianapolis Valley of the Scottish Rite. Through the intersection of his interests in music, Freemasonry and all things Scottish, he continues to make an ongoing study of Masonic music and its forms and influences in the fraternity. Some of you may have seen some of his Masonic presentations around Indiana and the midwest, while others have heard him play at various non-Masonic venues, fairs, and festivals as a solo, or with his wife Rebekah and Celtic Rain.

Samuel recently recorded an entire album of Masonic-related music called Songs From The Lodge, available on the Reverbnation.com website HERE. (You can listen to each song, save songs or the whole album in an online library, or pay to download them into iTunes if you sign up on the site). 

Some of the songs may be familiar to Masons, depending on your lodge or location in the world — The Entered Apprentice Song, the Master's Song, Pleyel's Hymn. Others are less famous, but nevertheless authentically Masonic.

If you're looking for appropriate music to accompany your lodge meetings or festive boards, give it a listen. Even if it's only a recording, let Brother Samuel lead your brethren in song again, as the founders of our fraternity intended.

2 comments:

  1. It's a coincidence that you posted this today. I've been learning guitar as a retirement activity, and just this afternoon I worked out the chord progression for Pleyel's Hymn. I'm at best an intermediate guitarist, so even though Pleyel's Hymn is a fairly simple song,I was pleased that I was able to figure it out. I'm hoping to get my Lodge to go back to using it in degree work, since I'll be able to accompany it on guitar.

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  2. There are papers on Masonic music subjects at the World Conference in Paris in June, and next year it is a major theme when the Conference has its alternative Washington session. See https://www.ipsonet.org/conferences/ritualconference-main

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