Freemasons are organising their first virtual Organ Concert, to take place on 9 December at 7pm. The event aims to showcase the magnificent Willis Pipe Organ, and will be streamed from the majestic Grand Temple in Freemasons’ Hall, London, an Art Deco masterpiece built in 1933.
The virtual audience will be able to watch Christopher Stokes, the present Senior Organist at the Freemasons, and organist and Master of the Choristers at Manchester Cathedral. He previously held posts as organist and Master of Music at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, and director of music at St Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey.
Mr Stokes is a renowned soloist, but has also appeared with numerous orchestras, including the Hallé Orchestra, the Manchester Camerata, the Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Golden Age.
The artist has selected eight memorable melodies to enchant audiences:
- Sonata in G – Edward Elgar
- Toccata Giocosa (William Mathias)
- Psalm Prelude Set 1 No 1 (Herbert Howells)
- Tuba Tune (Norman Cocker)
- Chanson de Matin (Edward Elgar)
- Tune in E, in the style of John Stanley (George Thalben-Ball)
- Sonata in Eb, BWV 525(i) (Johann Sebastian Bach)
- Crown Imperial (William Walton)
Dr David Staples, chief executive of the United Grand Lodge of England, commented: “The country has faced two national lockdowns in the past year, which has left many feeling isolated and lonely, at UGLE we wanted to spread some early Christmas cheer with a virtual concert to bring music and joy into people’s homes. During the virtual presentation, the audience will have the opportunity to appreciate some of the stunning architecture of our Headquarters here in London at the same time.”
Freemasons’ Hall, was designed as a pentagon to suit the irregular area in which it is located. Built in the central courtyard of the splendid art deco building, the Grand Temple is rich in multicolored details of blue, gold and white.
Inside the Grand Temple, visitors cannot miss the majestic 1.25-tonne organ with its ornate pipes, the golden thrones and sturdy bronze doors, each measuring 3.6 metres by 1.2 metres.
The original organ was installed in 1933 by Henry Willis, the third generation of an extended family line of organ builders. It originally had three manuals and 43 stops, giving a total complement of some 2,220 pipes, and was the last big organ built by the Willis firm. After 80 years it was in need of a complete renovation, and this was carried out in Durham by Harrison & Harrison who designed the new case above the console to houses a further six stops (approximately 400 pipes) to enhance its sound.
To participate in the event, members of the public can book for free via: http://bit.ly/FMH-Concert-Dec-2020
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Livia Ferreira, public relations manager, United Grand Lodge of England
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7395 9208 | Mobile: +44 (0)7539 578699
Michelle Worvell, director of communications and marketing, United Grand Lodge of England
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7395 9290 | Mobile: +44 (0)7538 512669
About the United Grand Lodge of England:
- The Premier Grand Lodge, which became the United Grand Lodge of England, was founded at the Goose and Gridiron Pub in London in 1717.
- It has 48 Provinces across the country and more than 7,000 Lodges, with students over the age of 18 able to join one of the 85 University Scheme Lodges.
- Freemasons use four important guiding principles to help define their path through life: integrity, friendship, respect and charity.
- One of the oldest social and charitable organisations in the world, Freemasonry’s roots lie in the traditions of the medieval stonemasons who built our cathedrals and castles.
- Membership is open to people from all backgrounds and the organisation’s aim is to empower members to be the best they can be – it’s about building character, supporting members as individuals and helping them make a positive contribution to society.
- Freemasonry is one of the largest charitable givers in the country, contributing more than £48m to deserving causes in 2018 alone. Freemasons do not only donate money – more than 18.5 million hours of volunteer work were undertaken by Freemasons in 2018.