As a way of commemorating 200 years of history and partnership with local communities, Morning Dawn Lodge 7 in Gallipolis will be hosting a special reception upstairs at the Ariel Theatre following the Ohio Valley Symphony’s spring finale concert on Saturday. During the concert, the OVS will dedicate several musical selections to the Freemasons.
“This is a huge opportunity for us to honor the unsung heroes of our community who quietly help their fellow man,” said Ariel Board of Directors Chair and Master Mason Jeff Fowler. “It’s truly about fellowship and the breaking of bread.”
Members of the 12th District of Ohio Freemasons, along with several dignitaries, have been invited to the event, and the public is also welcome. So far, at least 140 members and all three Deputy Grand Masters plan on attending.
The Grand Lodge was formed in January 1808, in the Chillicothe statehouse by delegates from the six Masonic lodges then meeting in Ohio. The six original Ohio lodges were spread across the state and met in Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Marietta, Warren, Worthington and Zanesville. They reflected the diversity of the early Ohio settlers and operated under the authority of charters issued by East Coast Grand Lodges, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The oldest lodge was American Union, chartered in 1776, and the youngest was Scioto Lodge, chartered in 1806.
Today, there are over 530 Masonic Lodges in Ohio with a combined membership of 114,000. As in their pioneer past, membership reflects the community in which the lodges meet, uniting good men from a variety of social, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
“When you look at the Masonic Lodge, you can see that it’s a true brotherhood,” said Fowler. “Brotherhood is the only thing I know that can withstand the changes that society and culture has undergone over the last 200 years.”
The OVS will perform works by Brahms and Schumann beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Both Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 and Schumann’s Cello Concerto have been audience favorites since they premiered, thanks to their warmth and the parade of beautiful tunes that will leave concert-goers humming on their way home. Music director Ray Fowler will conduct the OVS as they pay tribute to the Masons during the performance.
The featured soloist for the Schumann piece is Soo Bae, who began studying cello at age 6 in her native South Korea.
Tickets to the 2007-08 OVS finale are available through the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre at 426 Second Ave. in Gallipolis. The box office is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 90 minutes prior to the concert. Call (740) 446-ARTS (2787).
Prices are $22, $20 for seniors and $10 for students. Tickets are also available online at www.ohiovalleysymphony.org.
The public is also encouraged to attend OVS rehearsals for free from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, May 2, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Open rehearsals are an excellent way for new audiences to grow comfortable with symphonic music.
More information about Ohio Freemasonry and their Bicentennial celebration can be found at www.freemason.com.