Page 25 - MFM March 2016
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Montana Freemason  March 2016                             Volume 92 Number 2

Almost as soon as the Union band began playing            hymn is meant to be heard, and strike a mood for
‘Home, Sweet Home,’ Confederate bands took up             our gathering; you will not need to come prepared
the strain. One after another, every regimental band      to sing. Listen.
in both armies joined in. Everyone ceased what
they were doing. Pens were put down; books were           If the stars align just right, who knows? Maybe we
closed; games of tag stopped; cards drifted to the        will find ourselves with recordings of these tunes in
ground. There wasn’t a sound, except for the music.       a digital formal (both CD and mp3) so that Lodges
                                                          in Montana can benefit.
Then, in the words of Frank Mixson, a private in
the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, ‘Everyone went         Go to this link to watch a group of Freemasons in
crazy.’ Mixson had not witnessed anything like it         New York enjoying themselves in song: https://
before. Both sides began cheering, jumping up and
down and throwing their hats into the air. Mixson
had never seen anything to compare with the wild
cheering that followed the song’s lingering notes.
Had there not been a river between them, reflected
Mixson, the two armies would have met face to face,
shaken hands, and ended the war on the spot.”


What a moving story – and yet, without the music to
“Home, Sweet Home,” the Lecture - here extolling
the virtues of Music! - falls flat. The first (and only)
time that I heard the musical interlude with this
Lecture was when our (now) Grand Master Brian
Murphy delivered the Lecture on Mullan Pass – few

are the Montana Lodges which deliver this touching

music (originally composed for an 1823 opera!)


The Third Degree has a memorable Funeral Dirge,
meant to evoke quiet thoughts of reflection on
life. The words to this tune (Pleyel’s Hymn) were
penned by a Brother, David Vinton. Tragically, Bro.

Vinton was denied a Masonic funeral. But what an

impression this song can have – when sung well,
and with conviction. Yet, how many times are the
words hurriedly passed out to members possibly
unfamiliar with the tune, and who therefore only go
through miming the words?

At our 150th Annual Communication of the Grand
Lodge of Montana in Helena, in June of this year, it
is the intention of our Grand Master, Brian Murphy,
that we hear one of our Opening Odes again, perhaps
for the first time in 100 years. Fear not: the solemn

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