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Monday, February 05, 2024

Have you ever wanted to be a lodge Organist?

by Christopher Hodapp

Does your lodge have a pipe organ sitting in the corner or up on the balcony that's collecting dust because no one knows how to play it? We've got six original pipe organs in all of the ceremonial rooms at Indiana Freemasons Hall/Indianapolis Masonic Temple, installed in 1909 when the Temple was originally built. They all work – we have a Brother who visits every couple of years from Florida who loves maintaining and restoring these complex instruments. But in my 25 years of membership, I think I've heard one played a grand total of three times. 

Likewise, in my Mother lodge, Broad Ripple 643, we still had an official organist for the first three months I was a Mason, but he was quite elderly and sadly passed away less than a year after I joined. Our Eastern Star Chapter had an organist, but they left our building in the early 2000s, and so it fell completely silent. 

Well, if you ever had the unfulfilled desire to learn to play the organ in your lodge or church, but didn't know where to start, here's a suggestion. Over on Redditt's Freemasonry board today, Redditer 'Frosty the Sasquatch' from Alberta posted a link to a Youtube video by Jonathan Scott who has created an instructional program called "The Sometimes Organist," designed to encourage anyone with a background in playing the piano, or even a self-taught novice, to get started playing these amazing instruments.

The course teaches you to play 18 simplified arrangements of some of the most common, classic organ pieces used in churches during worship services, weddings, and other occasions:

0:06:00 George Frideric Handel - Thine be the Glory
0:09:34 JS Bach - Adagio BWV 1020
0:15:00 Frederic Chopin - Prelude in E Minor
0:19:32 Antonin Dvorak - Largo Theme (from New World Symphony)
0:25:12 Henry Purcell - Trumpet Tune in D Major
0:28:11 César Franck - Poco Lento
0:31:26 Richard Wagner - Bridal Chorus
0:34:40 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Adagio Theme (Clarinet Concerto)
0:37:08 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Romanza Theme (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik)
0:39:47 Antonio Vivaldi - Largo (Winter - The Four Seasons)
0:43:04 George Frideric Handel - Eternal Source of Light Divine
0:49:40 Arcangelo Corelli - Adagio
0:52:19 Frederic Chopin - Prelude in C Minor
0:55:06 Henry Purcell - Trumpet Tune in C Major
0:58:04 Gabriel Fauré - Après un rêve
1:03:09 Antonio Vivaldi/Bach - Larghetto BWV 972
1:06:20 Felix Mendelssohn - Wedding March
1:09:40 George Frideric Handel - March from Scipio

Give the video above a click, or you can see on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fP9dEo_d2V4


  1. Nothing says an organist has to play an organ. In my mother lodge, one of our members is the installed organist and plays guitar.

  2. “Louie, Louie” on a majestic pipe organ is a revelation.

  3. Sorry, my Google account doesn't let me sign my name per se, (security, I guess), but I am Steve Gatton, PM of an OH Lodge, currently a member of an OR Lodge, and the organist at the Portland Valley Scottish Rite. Our restored Wurlitzer in our auditorium at the Rite is a treasure, and I try to do it credit during our SR portrayals. It would be nice ro see more musicians, keyboard and otherwise, get involved with the Lodges and other bodies. I even spent a few terms as GL Organist (now called Musician, no organs to use), which was a real trip. The CD and recorded stuff doesn't come up to what live music can add to the meetings and ceremonies. Thanks for posting this. And, yes, even brass instruments can be a part (KS's trumpet!), so definitely not limited to keyboards!


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