History

The Lodge was formed “Primarily for the Convenience of Members of the Incorporated Society of Musicians”. an organisation which was set up for the mutual support of professional musicians in 1882.

The eleven founders of the lodge were all members of the I.S.M. and amongst their number were six Past Grand Organists (another one,  F. Harold Hankins,  becoming Past Deputy Grand
Organist later) and five Doctors of Music, it seems logical that music would form an important part of the lodge activities.

Needless to say, the Lodge has enjoyed a wide variety of musical combinations throughout its history, from Full Orchestra to string quartets, Trombone quartets, Bassoon Quartets, Brass Quintets etc.

In more recent years, an Orchestra of 26 Professional Musicians and a small choir in 1991 performed in the Grand Temple at Freemasons Hall in London to Celebrate Brother Mozart's

Masonic music on the Bicentenary of his death.

W.Bro Don McGregor & Eric Stuckey's 50th 2011

W.Bros Don McGregor & Eric Stuckey being the two brethren to receive their Long Service Certificates, it was indeed fitting that they were responsible for this musical item. W. Bro Eric presented an extremely interesting Lecture “The Magic Flute & other Tales”, which had researched and written himself.

W.Bro Keith Bleasdale's 50th 2006

Our December meeting in 2006 was an important milestone for one of our most respected & distinguished members, W. Bro K.D. Bleasdale (ARMCM) PJGD. To celebrate his 50 years as a mason, W. Bro Russell Race accompanied by other very distinguished Brethren presented W. Bro. Keith with his certificate from Grand Lodge to mark this achievement. The meeting had accompanying Music provided by a Brass Quintet for all of the Processions and at various stages of the meeting at which an Initiation took place.

Lodge Centenary 2002

Our Lodge Centenary was another special occasion enhanced by Music, much of it specially written for the day.


A Brass Ensemble, String quartet, Organ and a Tenor Solo were amongst the musical highlights.

Music in The Incorporated Society of Musicians Lodge
(notes & research by W.Bro. Eric Stuckey)

Consecration Ceremony in 1902

During the Consecration Ceremony in 1902, in addition to the normal consecration hymns, an Anthem, based on Psalm 133, was sung in a setting which was written for the consecration of Cathedral Lodge No. 2741 by George C. Martin, the then organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral and first organist of Cathedral Lodge. Afterwards, at the Consecration Banquet, the Grace “Non Nobis Domine” by Byrd was sung and after the National Anthem there was a considerable musical entertainment. The programme, consisting of the song “In the balmy night” by Tchaikovsky, the recitative and aria “Come, Margarita” by Sir Arthur Sullivan, the song “Gay go-up” by Walthew, the recitative “Wie Todes ahnung” and the aria “O du mein holder Abendstern” from Wagner’s Tannhäuser and the duet “The Fisherman” by Gabussi, was given by four brethren who were visitors at the consecration meeting but who joined the lodge at its first working meeting on 24th May.

50th Anniversary 1952

For many years after this no reference was made in the minutes, of any musical activity but I think we can safely assume that, following the practice of the time and the nature of the lodge’s membership, there would be regular entertainment at the Festive Board. This supposition can be strengthened by the comments made in the minutes of the lodge committee when reference was regularly made to the organist being asked to organise a concert for the Ladies Festival but again unfortunately no record of the contents of these programmes remain. Then on 20th September 1952 there is reference to the 50th anniversary of the lodge when, at the Festive Board, a performance was given of Mozart's “Masonic Cantata” This was an unusual version, in English, of “Eine Kleine Freimaurer Kantata” KV 623 but there are no details of the performers available. Again on 25th February 1963, after hearing a lecture in lodge from W.Bro Ernest Bradbury on Mozart's Masonic Music there was given, again at the festive board, another performance of the same Cantata but this time we read that the conductor was Aylmer Buesst and the singers were A.L. Watts and Alfred Hepworth, tenors and our then Worshipful Master, George Pragnell, bass. On a personal note, this was the first occasion that I was involved in any music making in the ISM lodge, playing as I did in the string group that accompanied the singers.

70th Anniversary 1972

It seems that it was becoming the custom to celebrate the bigger lodge anniversaries with Mozart’s music for, on 6th May 1972, the 70th anniversary of the lodge was celebrated at the Installation meeting by reading the minutes of the first meeting, hearing a lecture on “The Growth and Spread of the Craft” and then at the festive board there was another performance of Mozart’s KV 623. This performance was conducted by Eric Stuckey, the singers were A.L. Watts & Eric Barnes, Tenors, George Pragnell, Bass with an orchestra led by Irving Cobb with Michael Bromberg 2nd violin, Freddie Petts viola, Lauri Cromwell, ‘cello, a visitor R. Todd, double bass and a wind section of A. Beaver Flute and Keith Bleasdale & F. Jones, playing horn parts on their trombones. In this performance we still used the English translation but the orchestral parts were Mozart’s. There is also a note in the minutes that Don McGregor sang the Master’s Song. The vocal parts that were used at these three performances have disappeared, so these performances can never be repeated.

75th Anniversary 1977

For the meeting held on 7th May 1977, at which we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Lodge the minutes note :- The brethren stood as the Worshipful Master and his Wardens processed into lodge to the sound of “The Entry of the Priests from Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute” played by four trombones.” the players being, W.Bros. Keith Bleasdale & F.Jones and Bros. C. Jones & Ken Parker. After the Installation the Lodge was "Called Off"and a performance was given of Mozart's Cantata “Die Maurerfreude” or Mason's Joy, KV471. This was sung in the original German, as the minutes note,by many members and friends of the Lodge” The singers being W.Bro John Dobson, a principal tenor from the Royal Opera House and a member of the lodge, W.Bro Don McGregor and Bro Alan Jones who was also from the Royal Opera House and a member of The Guildhall School of Music Lodge. There is no record of the names of the orchestral musicians except that the leader was W.Bro Irving Cobb and the Conductor was again W.Bro Eric Stuckey.

80th Anniversary 1982

At the lodge's 80th anniversary meeting on 24th April 1982 the minutes again state that “The Master and his Wardens entered the lodge to the accompaniment of the orchestra playing the ‘Entry of the Priests’ from ‘The Magic Flute’ by W.A. Mozart. Again there is a note "After the Installation, the Lodge was called from Labour to Refreshment. During this time the brethren listened to the Orchestra and Soloists in a performance of “Die Maurerfreude” by Mozart and part of “The Masonic Ritual Music” by Jean Sibelius. The orchestra was under the direction of W.Bro Stuckey and the soloists were W.Bros L. Watts, C.J. Attree and D. McGregor". A further note adds that, “After the lodge was closed, the new Worshipful Master, (Major J. H. Howe, a retired Director of Music, Scots Guards) left the lodge to the strains of “The Garb of Auld Gaul” the Regimental Slow March of his regiment.”

Masonic Symphony composed by WM in 1987

On the 25th April 1987 there was something new in the way of music. The minutes note that W.Bros. Keith Bleasdale & John Evans and Bros. Eddie Thompson & David Tucker presented part of a ‘Masonic Symphony’ composed by the Installing Master, W.Bro Robin Stone, orchestrated for four trombones by John Evans.

Mozart Bicentenary Celebrated in The Grand Temple 1991

At the meeting held on the 2nd December 1989, I presented a paper that I had prepared on ‘Mozart and His Masonic Music,” which, if my memory serves me correctly, was far too long. At the conclusion I made a flippant comment that the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death was approaching and perhaps the lodge should do something to mark the occasion, never really thinking that it would be taken up. However, David Nelson, the secretary, took note and, as a result, on 7th December 1991 at a regular meeting of the lodge there was:-"“A Celebration of Brother Mozart's Masonic Music" to mark the Bicentenary of his death in Vienna on December 5th 1791. Given by the Incorporated Society of Musicians Lodge No 2881 on December 7th 1991 in the Grand Temple, Freemasons’ Hall, London. With the assistance of an orchestra of 26 professional musicians, which had been assembled for us by W.Bro John Davies, a member of the Lodge of Union, who called upon musician masons from the I.S.M Lodge and many London and a few Provincial Lodges together with a small Male Voice Choir of 10, many of whom also sang solos, a performance was given, in chronological order, apart from the Overture to the Magic Flute which began the programme, of all of Mozart’s Masonic Music, most of which I had the privilege of conducting. The Worshipful Master had entered the temple to the sounds of the orchestra playing Mozart’s “Entry of the Priests” and it was something to hear that followed by the ‘Opening Ode’ sung by over 400 masons, accompanied by a full orchestra, in the magnificent setting and acoustic of the Grand Temple.

                    Bassoon Quartet at Ladies Festival 2001

W. Bro Paul , A Professional Bassoonist and Teacher was the outgoing Master in 2001. He organised a Ladies Festival at a Golf Club in South London on a Sunday Afternoon. Entertainment was provided by a Bassoon Quartet comprised of 3 professional friends and the outgoing WM. We were expecting a programme of Classical Music from our guest entertainers but instead we enjoyed a delightful selection of light music with many humorous and novelty items. This splendid treat was enjoyed by all. If you would like something different for your Ladies Festival, please contact The Secretary.

 

Centenary Meeting 2002 
(notes by W. Bro. E. Thompson)

Yet again the excellent musical content to this special meeting was down to the efforts and organisational skills of W. Bro. Eric Stuckey. Processions accompanied by Brass and Organ certainly add a greater sense of dignity and occasion, just as an Anthem for Tenor Voice & String quartet added a touch of class. Proceedings began when the WM, accompanied by his Wardens, entered the Lodge to the "ISM March". This was composed especially for the occasion by W. Bro Major James Howe MBE LGR PPGO.

A second procession to receive V.W.Bro Brian.A de Neut, representing The Most Worshipful The Grand Master, along with a retinue of Grand Officers was accompanied the Brass Ensemble & Organ playing Mozart's " The Entry of the Priests"

The Anthem that was sung at the Consecration 1oo years previously was the next musical item to grace this meeting. This Anthem described at the top of this page had been traced by W. Bro Stuckey. He created a new setting to great effect & utilising the Musicians available. This time for Tenor Voice, superbly sung by W. Bro D. McGregor and accompanied by a string quartet of Lodge members lead by W. Bro Eric. 

In May 1945, in gratitude to the Victory of the Allied Forces in Europe, members of the ISM Lodge sang the 1st verse of the Hymn " Now thank thee all our God" at the Installation meeting. To commemorate our Centenary we rose to sing 2 verses of the same Hymn in thanks for the survival of ISM Lodge through 100 years. The minutes record that this was sung with great Gusto. With 101 people present competing with the Brass Ensemble & Organ, this is not surprising. The Music was arranged and conducted by W. Bro Eric Stuckey. After the Closing Ode another Procession was formed so that our Distinguished guests could retire, this time to the "2881 March" . written by myself. W.Bro E. Thompson.

Since 2002

Although we have not had any major occasion to spur us into action musically, several ISM members regularly form part of a Large Brass Ensemble which provides music for the annual London Provincial Grand Lodge meeting of Mark Master Masons in the Grand Temple. Recently we have had 2 Trumpet players become members and if all goes according to plan we hope to welcome a talented Classical Guitarist. Watch This Space, the Musical options are looking promising.

December Meeting 2011

The most important item on the agenda at this meeting was to present 2 of our distinguished members with their Long Service Certificates to mark their 50 years as Masons. A quartet comprising 2 violins, Viola & Bassoon were assembled for the ocassion accompanied by w. Bro. E. stuckey at the organ. The Asst.MetGM, V.W". Bro Richard D. Regan PGSwdB and escort were played into the Lodge with Mozart's March of the Priests. We were later entertained by a performance of the anthem “ Behold, How  Good and Joyful a Thing It Is” words based on Psalm 133, for string quartet & tenor voice, which was written for our centenary meeting by W.Bro. Eric Stuckey.  Solo Tenor - W. Bro. Don McGregor. 

W.Bros Don McGregor & Eric Stuckey being the two brethren to receive their Long Service Certificates, it was indeed fitting that they were responsible for this musical item. W. Bro Eric presented an extremely interesting Lecture “The Magic Flute & other Tales”, which had researched and written himself.

Founded in 1902

© 2017 The Incorporated Society of Musicians. 

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