From Stephen of Devotion

"Meeting at Collingwood allows us to also partake of a meal on rehearsal nights. Thanks to Don for the excellent soup and home made bread.. that was a winner. It is very important for Lodges to socialise together between meeting - it creates a stronger bond between us as Brothers. I am sure our Candidate will be given a quality experience next meeting when we initiate him." Damien WM 2010

The Worshipful Master stole a bit of my thunder in his message this month – I confess to being the member who described rehearsals as the heartbeat of the lodge.

In doing so I was not so much reflecting on Lodge but on the many hours spent on the training paddock for rugby, army reserve training and of course studying and preparing for exams.

I particularly remember one such rugby training session when we were, shall we politely say, in the bottom half of the table about two thirds of the way through a season and about to play one of the serious premiership contenders.

Everything just clicked that Thursday night – the drills went smoothly, there was lots of communication, everyone had fun and perhaps most importantly confidence was high. We won 5-3 the following Saturday, not a big margin but very satisfying for seeing the result for the effort we had put in.

To my mind rehearsals allow you to stop and see what you are doing and make the corrections needed. They afford the opportunity for a more experienced Brother to assist with delivering charges by providing insights into the often difficult language and sequences. Our organist attended and we were able to discuss how the music fit into our ritual.

In rugby the skill of a coach determines the effectiveness of training, likewise in a Lodge how training goes is a real reflection of the skills of the Director of Ceremonies. That our DC, Andy McKay, was able to spend time on real points of detail gives great confidence.

Hopefully all this augers well for the main event.