Rochester, NY submitted the winning proposal to host the 2017 Biennial Supreme Council meeting for the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. The meeting, which will bring approximately 2,500 people from the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction and visitors from around the world, is scheduled for August 22-29, 2017. The Supreme Council meeting has been held in New York State 14 times since the Union of 1867 – eight times in New York City, once in Saratoga and five times in Buffalo, the most recent being in 1959, and NEVER before in Rochester!
In preparing the proposal, which involved almost a year of planning, the question arose: “Why Rochester?” The quick response is, of course, “Why not, Rochester?” But a more thoughtful answer to that question involves what Rochester has to offer the Supreme Council and the Scottish Rite members, ladies and distinguished guests who will attend the meeting.
To even be considered as a venue for the meeting, it was necessary to identify and secure a block of 1,000 hotel rooms with 4,200 room nights and a slanted-floor auditorium with stage for the week and a seating capacity of at least 2,500. We went to work with VisitRochester (www.VisitRochester.com), and put together an EXTREMELY attractive package for Supreme Council involving three Rochester downtown hotels – the Hyatt Regency, Radisson Riverside and the Crown Plaza hotels, the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, and Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre for the main events of the meeting. The negotiated room rates for all hotels will be $129 per night, and overnight parking is currently only $4 per night. In addition, the VisitRochester organization went the extra mile and negotiated very favorable rates for use of the Eastman Theatre and the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Bottom line: It’s AFFORTABLE for both Supreme Council and the attendees!
Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre.
But besides affordable pricing – Again: “Why Rochester, NY?”
First, there are a number of significant anniversaries IN 2017 in Rochester and around the state. We will have a lot to celebrate:
- 150th Anniversary of the Valley of Rochester;
- 150th Anniversary of the New York State Council of Deliberation;
- 150th Anniversary of the Valley of Corning;
- 150th Anniversary of the Valley of Binghamton;
- 150th Anniversary of the Palmoni Lodge of Perfection and Palmoni Council Princes of Jerusalem in the Valley of Buffalo;
- 250th Anniversary of the Ineffable and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection and Albany Grand Council Princes of Jerusalem;
and there are lots of things to see and do in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region!
Why Rochester? It’s the Music!
It is home of the world-renowned Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival has quickly became one of the nation's most popular and most respected music festivals. More than 196,000 attended the 2014 music festival. We are planning to have a variety of music at all the major events, reception and dinners during the Supreme Council meeting.
It’s the Wine!
The Finger Lakes Region is home to over 100 wineries and is recognized as a world-class wine destination. Indulge in wine tours, peaceful views and unique experiences when you plan your visit to Finger Lakes Wine Country, the most beautiful and affordable wine country destination in the world. The viticulture area is centered around four main lakes with American Indian names: Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga. The majority of wineries have organized "wine trails" with special events, and other activities to conveniently welcome visitors. There will definitely be wine tours on the Supreme Council “Things to Do and See” schedule.
It’s the Golf!
Golf in Rochester – it’s un-fore-gettable! Rochester’s world-class golf courses played host to the 1995 Ryder Cup, 2003 PGA Championship, 2008 Senior PGA Championship and to the annual LPGA Wegmans tournament. In 2013 Rochester hosted the PGA championship at Oak Hill Country Club, which became the only club to have hosted all six of the men's championships! Praised by golfing pros and weekend duffers alike, Rochester continues to be a prime golfing destination. It is even said to have more golf holes per capita than any other northeastern city in America. There are more than 80 courses within a 45-minute drive of Rochester, many designed by the world’s famous golf architects. Golf outings will be a key part of the activities planned for the attendees of the 2017 Supreme Council meeting!
It’s the History and Museums!
Rochester is home to the George Eastman House – International Museum of Photography and Film (www.eastmanhouse.org), featuring a variety of photographic highlights and the revolution of photography. Or visit the House itself, a grand mansion and exquisite gardens have been restored to Mr. Eastman’s grandeur. A visit to the Memorial Art Gallery (www.mag.rochester.edu) is a journey through more than 5,000 years of art history. From the relics of antiquity to works in the vanguard of contemporary movements, the Gallery offers a panorama of the world’s art. The Rochester Museum and Science Center (www.rmsc.org) features hands-on educational fun for the entire family, exploring science and technology, the natural environment, and our region's cultural heritage, and at the National Museum of Play at The Strong (www.museumofplay.org)is the only museum in the world devoted solely to the study of play. The Susan B. Anthony House (www.susanbanthonyhouse.org) was the home of the legendary American civil rights leader, and Mt. Hope Cemetery is listed on the national registrar, which include the gravesites of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglas, John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb.
It’s the Erie Canal and Lake Ontario!
Rochester, NY became the country’s first “boomtown” as a result of the Erie Canal’s venture through the city and it forever changed the development and growth of the region. Over the years the canal has become less a transportation corridor for the movement of people and goods and now strictly a recreational corridor. You can take a walk, jog, or take a boat or a bike ride along the New York State Erie Canal Heritage Trail that more or less follows the original towpath. Scores of shops, services, picnic areas, restaurants, and marinas have sprung up along the canal route. Boat rides along the Erie Canal will be an enjoyable activity during the Supreme Council meeting. In addition, August just happens to be at the peak of the season for salmon fishing in Lake Ontario. Half-day and full-day fishing charters are already in the works for Supreme Council meeting attendees.
So What’s Next?
The real work begins! It’s time to begin putting together the detailed plans for the meeting and associated area activities. It total, we need to have approximately 60 volunteers involved in the Host State/Valley Organizing Committee. The various subcommittees that are needed include:
- Registration Committee – 12-16 positions, Saturday and Sunday, August 26 & 27;
- Tylers/Ushers Committee – 20-24 positions, Three major events, Sunday , Monday, & Tuesday, August 27-29;
- Market Place Committee – 6-8 positions, Saturday & Sunday;
- Busing Committee – 10-12 positions, Sunday, Monday & Tuesday;
- Production Committee – 4 positions, Tuesday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 29;
- Information and Restaurant Committee – 8 positions + VisitRochester Staff, Saturday – Tuesday, August 26-29;
- Activities Committee – 10-15 position Golf Wine Country Tours Erie Canal Boat Cruises Salmon Fishing Charters – Lake Ontario Museum Tour (On-Off Shuttle Service)
At present, we are in the process of identifying the Chairman for the various committees listed above, who will serve as members of the Host Executive Organizing Committee, and will be responsible for recruiting of the other members of their particular committees. If you or a group within your Valley are interested in serving on the Host Organizing Committee, either as a Subcommittee Chairman or as a Committee Member, please contact me at your earliest convenience (MorrisGM14564@gmail.com).
So Who can attend the Supreme Council Meeting?
The majority of attendees will be 330 Masons (Honorary Members, Active and Active Emeriti members of Supreme Council) in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (www.scottishritenmj.org) and Distinguished Guests from other Masonic organizations from around the world.
However, please note that the meeting is open to all Scottish Rite 320 Masons as well! 320 Scottish Rite members, who wish to attend events, must register for the meeting, like all attendees. They are allowed to attend the Vesper Service on Sunday, the General Session on Monday, and their associated Valley and State Dinners. But if they are serving as a member of the Host Organizing Committee, then they do not have to register.
We are honored and pleased to have the opportunity to host the 2017 Supreme Council meeting in Rochester. It will indeed be a GRAND EVENT! Stay Tuned – Additional Information to Follow!