Standing at 210 feet the Masonic Temple towers over its residential neighbors in downtown Detroit. The crew and band file in through the back entrance of the building not entirely sure what to expect. Most of us had seen concerts here but still were glowing with the Christmas morning excitement. The neo-Gothic adapted style of Corrado Parducci greets us in the main lobby as we wait to assemble the team. Already in awe, the crew starts to venture around and look at all of the detail: gilt registers, handcrafted stained glass, ornate paintings and towering freestanding columns. Still not entirely sure what to expect I start to notice anticipation on the faces of the members of Zoos of Berlin.

The group ascends in the elevator and at this time it was the blind leading the blind. When we approached the Tutor Lodge room, all of a sudden it clicked. Apprehensive at first Zoos and crew slowly and quietly walked into the Lodge room leery of disturbing the silence. An organ awaiting ready fingers sat like a ghost in the corner. It did not take more than a few minutes and a quick glance for Will Yates, keyboardist, to run his hands down the spine of the ritualistic instrument. Like gunfire the other members are on board as Yates' fingers turn the silent Lodge room into a carnival of sound. With this the marker snaps, the doors are shut and the band replaces the calm frozen atmosphere with the subtle buzz of their amplifiers and the gentle radiance of their voices.

Zoos are floored. Their faces are permanently intrigued. Banter about not knowing that those rooms even existed continues as we approach the Asylum. As we round the corner the crew and the band are met by a suspended neon-golden cross. The cross hangs in the center of a miniature constructed Scottish cathedral. The nave adorned with a side chapel much to the likeness of Constantine's Hagia Sophia offers a direct view of the glowing cross. The feeling of the universe all colliding at one point is directly in front of anyone who peers through the side chapel. Again Zoos finally settles in and sets themselves up like pieces on a chessboard, except that the goal is not to attack the queen but to find the perfect acoustics in this previously muted chamber. The eerie presence of the cathedral puts us back in the times of the Knights Templar and an electric clash occurs between the space and the band when again the amps are juiced up and Daniel and Trevor start to sing.

As we continue to wander around the building we all stumble upon secret rooms, examination chambers and stairways with unknown destinations. Though the construction started almost 100 years ago there are still sections of the Temple that are unfinished. The Single Barrel crew was fortunate enough to be granted access to an unfinished 800-seat auditorium. Had the auditorium been completed, the Masonic Temple would have been the only structure to house three full seated venues under one roof, but due to lack of funding, the completion was interrupted. To be able to stand in an unborn room provided a sense of disconnection from the rest of the building giving Zoos the chance to create their own space. Low light, strong pitch, the clicking of Philip Southern's camera trying to focus in on the surrounding darkness, and again Zoos bestows upon the open space their own craft. Their layered voices dance atop Yates' keys and Collin's metallic snare. As the last shoot of the day Zoos performed in front of an audience of ghosts. The feeling of aloneness, the emptiness and solace and the sound of the band were the only elements present.

Zoos of Berlin performed their ritual in a house of rituals, and Single Barrel Detroit sanctified their own rite of passage. We entered an edifice that for generations has housed the illusive presence of the Freemasons and their ideals. With their codes and secrets placed in plain view we complemented them with our own ideals of sound and structure. Forever capturing the feeling of the day the shoot rendered the events in space and time and they will live on in film as the building stands like a stone gavel on the corner of Temple and Second preaching truth, strength and charity.

- Candace O'Leary
500 Temple Street, Detroit

In 1817 Detroit became home to Zion Lodge #1. This was one of the state's earlier Grand Lodges and living proof that a much grander building could easily be supported and would stand as a crucial building block for the Masons outside of Scotland and England. Zion #1 attracted members that would come to be the forefathers of the development of Detroit, such as Lewis Cass, Territorial Governor of Michigan and the first Grand Master of the Temple. The promising support of the fraternity in the Detroit community helped sanctify the decision to build the largest Masonic Temple in existence. While the planning commenced in 1891 the cornerstone of the building was not placed until 1922. The delay was a result of having to raise member specific donations totaling $2,500,000 in order to follow through with chief Architect George D. Mason's plans. On Thanksgiving Day of 1926 the first dirt was turned and the birth of the Masonic was brought in with feasting and a formal dedication.

The Mason's commitment to the promotion of ethics and education was built directly into the structure. Pulling from antiquity the Lodge rooms are indicative of the Architectural Canon. The craftsmanship of Italian-American Corrado Parducci can be seen throughout the entire structure. Though his work can be seen across Detroit, i.e. the Guardian Building, Penobscot Building, and the Fisher to name a few, the Masonic is often times viewed as his capstone.

Today the post antiquitous structure mixes with the present alternative. Still the largest Masonic Temple in the world they have come to be known for hosting concerts from orchestral symphonies to metal bands to Broadway performances. Even the drill hall has been put to a regular use as the home of The Detroit Derby Girls. With 12 regularly meeting fraternities, the Masonic is living only a third of the life it hosted in its heyday but the building still has a lingering atmosphere of the days when the Grand Masters wore top hats and full tails.
Formal is at Noon

[Download MP3]

Century Rail

[Download MP3]


[Download MP3]

Kingston Gates

[Download MP3]

Below the Old House

[Download MP3]

Erin Cosens
DP ("Formal is at Noon")
Erin Cosens