I’ve not been in a pipe band for a few years, but have a hankering to join one. The local Masons/Shriners have a pipe band, but I’m not a Mason. Should I join the Masons just for the piping? What would joining the Masons entail?
I hope somebody that is a Mason shows up and gives a more complete answer. You must be invited. Say show up after a parade and tell some of them you are a piper and would like to be in the band. Chances are, they are desperate for members although on the stand offish side.
Once invited, you have training, initiation, dues and fees, expectation of attending meetings and working fund raisers. How tolerant they would be a slacker that did little but pipe is hard to say. My service club once had a member that paid his dues, but the only day you saw him was the day of the tenderloin fry. He showed up and worked the fryer. Were we better off for having him? Yes.
Oh, edited to say, Masons have strong values. You would either need to accept them or be a real hypocrite.
One has to ask to become a Mason, not be invited. After one becomes a Master Mason, he may opt to take the York Rite or the Scottish Rite, after which he may petition the Shrine for membership.
That’s the way it works in Georgia, anyway.
My dad was a Mason. As far as I know, he attended meetings once or twice in a decade. But he did get their magazine every month, to the end of his life.
As far as I know, the one requirement for joining is that you have to state that you believe in God. On the other hand, they are discouraged from discussing religion or politics during meetings. Your lodge brothers are supposed to help you improve yourself, but you get to decide what constitutes improvement.
The Shriners are a sub-group of the Masons. They do a lot of charity work, and support a network of children’s hospitals.
It’s like any other club: if you like the members of the local chapter, you will enjoy it; if not, you won’t. Northern Piper, I would suggest trying to get to know the pipers in the lodge band, and see if you get along with them.
I work at the local Masonic temple and it is home to two lodges, both Scottish rites.
I say go for it. Masonic membership is down, they are almost all seeking ways to increase membership. As a result, they are more open and casual, about things that may have been deal breakers in the past.
The last event I worked was Robby Burns Day, complete with pipe band, and lots of it and haggis! I think they will jump at any interest you show, so don’t hesitate.
Very likely all you need to do is express the slightest interest in knowing more and you’ll be invited to attend some events, meet some members and get a real feel for the lodge.
I say don’t hesitate, give it a go. And let us know how it works out, please!
Is it possible that they will welcome you to the pipe band without requiring you to become a mason? I can’t imagine that experienced pipers are that common.
Winston Smith did a “Ask the Freemason” thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=556325