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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes August 2001

Thanks for Alabama Support!

Grand Master V. Wayne Causey has asked MSA to:

Most especially express the fraternal love and appreciation from the Masons of Alabama to all the many Grand Jurisdictions that contributed to the tornado disaster relief efforts in Alabama. Just this month the Grand Lodge of Alabama completed its' relief efforts that aided and assisted 85 families in four Alabama counties. This great effort was made possible through the contributions of the many Grand Jurisdictions that were able and saw fit to come to our aid. This is the second occasion in three years that the Masons of North America and other Grand Jurisdictions have rallied to the needs of tornado victims in Alabama. It should be noted, that many families in Alabama have been exposed to the charity and relief of the Masonic order and its' boundless and universal love and concern. Again, the Masons of Alabama most humbly thank the Masonic Service Association and all the Grand Jurisdictions for their Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth shown in our time of need.

New Museum in Massachusetts

The Freemasons, who for centuries zealously guarded the secrecy of their rites and greetings, are hoping to dismantle their mysterious image and revive interest in their declining society by opening a museum along the Boston Common. As part of a multimillion-dollar renovation of its Grand Lodge, the Masons will put windows in the windowless façade, add a doorway along Tremont Street, and put on display a vast collection of Masonic memorabilia. Visitors will see objects associated with some of the most famous men in American history: the trowel used by Lafayette at the cornerstone-laying for the Bunker Hill Monument, a pistol owned by Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones, and a lock of George Washington's hair encased in a tiny gold urn cast by Paul Revere.

(Source: Story in the Boston Globe, 7-30-01)

Website

Please look at our website at www.msana.com. Right now we are featuring Hospital Representatives each month.

The Grotto

The Grotto dates back to before the turn of the century. It was founded in the summer of 1889 when a group of Master Masons met to organize and hold informal meetings. At the time, the sole purpose of the group was fun and good fellowship as a Master Mason Degree Team. The group was called the Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm. While Grotto is not a Masonic order nor claims to confer a Masonic degree, to gain membership a man must first be a Master Mason in good standing and he must maintain his good standing in the Blue Lodge in order to keep his standing in the Grotto. In 1903 they adopted as their official emblem the Black Fez to be synonymous with the Grotto, and readily visible to others. For more than 100 years, the Black Fez has represented and distinguished the Grottoes of North America. As their membership grew, it was apparent they needed to focus and establish a humanitarian effort that would also be synonymous with the Grotto Prophets. In 1949, the Grotto adopted a resolution to establish an international charitable program to be known as the Humanitarian Foundation of the Supreme Council, M.O.V.P.E.R. In 1951, the first project was "Aid for the Cerebral Palsy Child". In 1969 the Grotto's Humanitarian Foundation along with the Illinois Medical Center agreed to establish a dental clinic, whereby Grotto would help fund dental care for special needs children, under the age of 18, afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Mental Retardation. From June 2000 through April 2001 the Foundation has paid out more than $477,000 to the Dental Care for Children with Special Needs Program, United Cerebral Palsy Research and the Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Our Charitable Trust has been set and will continue to perpetuate for the care of special needs children and our programs, long after we have gone. 

(Source: Grotto, Spring 2001)

A.S.C.A.P.

Prior to the founding of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (A.S.C.A.P.) the music industry paid little attention to the rights of songwriters. Today these artists are assured of royalties from their creations. Three of the nine founders of A.S.C.A.P. were Freemasons. They were: Jacob (Jay) Witmark began his career as a ballad singer. He joined his brothers Julius and Isadore in starting a music publishing business. All three were underage, their father, Marcus, fronted for them. By giving free copies to vaudevillians such as George M. Cohan, Chauncey Olcott and Weber and Fields, they soon made the firm successful. Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg and Ernest R. Ball signed with them. The Witmark brothers all joined St Cecile Lodge No. 568 in 1894. Their father was a member of Naval Lodge No. 69. Silvio Hein was born in New York, May 15, 1879 and died Dec. 19, 1928. From 1905 to 1922 he composed for Broadway musicals. None of them are now well known, though some of the performers who sang his works were, Raymond Hitchcock, John Charles Thomas, DeWolf Hopper, Jefferson DeAngelis and Joseph Santley (all were Masons). Probably his best known work was Heart of My Heart. (Lodge unknown) Gustave A. Kerker was born in Westphalia, Feb. 28, 1857, and died June 29, 1929. He came to the US in 1867 and, like Victor Herbert, he played the cello. Like Herbert he was a leading composer of show tunes and conductor. He led the orchestra for many of Lillian Russell's performances. Few of his twenty musicals would be recognized today in spite of performances by talents such as Marie Dressler, May Robson, Blanch Ring, Julia Sanderson and Louis Mann (a member of St. Cecile Lodge No. 568). Bro. Kerker was raised in St. Cecile Lodge No. 568 on May 1, 1888. The musical stage, like Hollywood in its early days, found room for many Masons who are now forgotten.

 (Source: Bro. Norman Lincoln, Eaton, Ohio published in the July/August 2001, Philatelic Freemason)

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