A quite amazing event considered from every angle. The venue itself enhanced by an enormous pair of compasses and a square on the stage with a black and white chequered floor. A packed Royal Albert Hall with a sophisticated lighting system which highlighted the colours of Masonic regalia.
Before the afternoon started there was a power point presentation on two large screens about the Masonic Charitable Foundation.Informative and useful.
Over fifty musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra were seated to the rear of the stage in front of the Grand Organ.They played for the procession of District and Provincial Grand Masters .An impressive sight. The Grand Master and his executive entered the Queen's Box.On the screens were then shown the arms of all the 132 Grand Lodges present.
Then followed a most impressive dramatic presentation in costume covering the events from the founding of the first Grand Lodge at the Goose and Gridiron on June 24th 1717 up to the present day.'Bringing light to the world, a theatrical and musical presentation of three hundred years of organised Freemasonry'.Professional actors played the roles of many famous Freemasons during the presentations with Sir Derek Jacobi acting as the link man.Music composed by famous Freemasons provided a fitting background to the actors e.g. The Magic Flute composed by Mozart, The Mikado composed by Sir Arthur Sullivan.
The Grand Master,HRH the Duke of Kent, The Pro.Grand Master, The Deputy Grand Master, the Assistant Grand Master, The Grand Chaplain and the Grand Director of Ceremonies then took up their position on stage and the Grand Master then directed the proceeding events. Three well known hymns 'I vow to thee my Country. Guide me o thou Great Redeemer,Jerusalem and the National Anthem(two verses) were sung with great emotional feeling by the Brethren with full backing from the Orchestra and the Grand Organ.Inspiring moments.
The Grand Master was totally in control of events and a message of allegiance to the Queen was read and also her response. His whole commanding performance belied his fifty years as Grand Master.
He then received from the three Deputy Masters of the three surviving Lodges from 1717 the 'great lights of Freemasonry and the Wren Maul' Then a very special moment when he received the reconstructed Soane Ark of the Covenant and the great lights were placed in the Ark with an appropriate blessing from the Grand Chaplain.
The Pro.Grand Master then addressed the Brethren and congratulated the Grand Master on his fifty years as our leader.
The M.W.Grand Master replied and spoke warmly about the events that had taken place and his optimism for the future. He then retired in procession accompanied by his executive and distinguished Brethren.
The lasting impression from this awesome event was one of total admiration for all those responsible for its production and impact. Most of all a sense of immense pride to belong to such a great organisation.