Monday, October 24, 2011

'Celts, kilts, and the Most Excellent Sample'

Well, it seems sleep is out of the question for the 412th consecutive night, so I may as well edit the photos I shot Thursday at the meeting of the local Knight Masons council, and if I'm going to do that, I might as well share some of them with the regrettably neglected readers of The Magpie Mason.

And I confess to an ulterior motivation: It was a great night that needs to be publicized not so much for the Who, What, When, Where, and Why, but for the How To. Freemasonry has many men who find themselves prematurely or otherwise inappropriately hired to preside. I offer the following only to suggest that all things are possible when it comes to planning a Communication or a dinner, or anything really. "Just do it," sayeth the ad campaign of the athletic supply company named for the ancient goddess of victory.

Here's the rundown on what happened: It was the Knight Masons' final meeting with David Lindez as Excellent Chief of Northern New Jersey Council No. 10. That alone is important to the story because it brought forth Celtic dancers, Scottish bagpipers, poetry, and the initiation of, I think, more than a dozen new Cousins for two councils. (We're called Cousins in Knight Masonry.) Plus the Great Chief of the United States, Most Excellent Kevin B. Sample, was in attendance. Our Council usually hosts the MEGC every year. Also present was Right Excellent Douglas Jordan, Grand Scribe. Doug was in New Jersey only three months ago as the honored guest, in his capacity as Most Venerable Grand Master of Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA, at the Harold V.B. Voorhis Ingathering, our annual statewide AMD conference. Also present was Very Excellent Matthew Dupee, Grand Senior Warden of Grand Council, who came from Pennsylvania, as did Very Excellent George Haynes, the Superintendent of that state. There even was a Cousin from Kentucky! (I think there used to be a song called 'Cousin from Kentucky.') And the V.E. Grand Sentinel was with us too, but he's a member here. Past Great Chief Thurman too. The distinguished East also included Cousin Piers Vaughan, wearing red, in his capacity as R.E. Captain of the Host of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of New York.

What I'm trying to say is this was a big night! Anyway, the pictures will tell the story.

Cousin David leads his Rampant Lion Pipe Band through a march that opened the festivities. 

The distinguished East gets settled on the dais.

V.E. Maynard, our master of ceremonies, welcomes our Excellent Chief,
David Lindez, to the podium.

V.E. George Haynes, Superintendent of Pennsylvania, and
V.E. Matthew Dupee Grand Senior Warden.

R.E. Doug Jordan, Grand Scribe.

John Barnes, Excellent Chief of the new Jersey Shore Council, and Piers Vaughan,
Grand Captain of the Host of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of New York.

David welcomes M.E. Kevin B. Sample, Great Chief of the USA, to the podium.

It's hard to convince some people, but oftentimes the best photos
are taken without the subjects' knowledge.

But there's nothing wrong with a posed picture either. Makia Pai and Bill Drapczak.

Only in Freemasonry can a father and son also be brothers and cousins! The Mario Brothers.

The ceremonies begin.

The grand officers in the East of the Council.

It is hard to say one particular portion of the evening was the best moment, but this gets my vote.
At right is Rich Hammill, one of our Past Excellent Chiefs. He was surprised with an appointment
by the Great Chief to the position of Very Excellent Superintendent for New Jersey.

Utterly stunned, here he receives the congratulations of his cousins. It is an honor
earned and deserved. Rich labors mightily in Knight Masonry, and throughout the York Rite.

Time for the entertainment portion of the evening. The Rampant Lion Pipe Band returns.

Talented and brave performers from a dance school treat us to several Celtic folk dances.

Another attraction of the evening was the constituting of a new Knight Masons Council.
Jersey Shore Council is the third in New Jersey. It will serve the central area of the state.

M.E. Sample presents the charter to inaugural Excellent Chief John Barnes, as David looks on.

The gratuitous end-of-the-night photo of all the big shots.
Actually too many of them to make for a decent photo.

Cousins, if you plan to attend Masonic Week in February, make sure you get to the meeting of our Grand Council on Friday morning. I know, I know, it's always a grueling business meeting that makes you want to kill yourself, but the 2012 meeting will be very different. New blood has been transfused into Grand Council, and things are changing. And then, at noon, there will be a luncheon hosted by Grand Council. Trevor Stewart will be our guest speaker!

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