The Chairmen are a Unit, like a club, made up of local Shriners from Zuhrah Shrine. Most of us come from Minneapolis and the western suburbs, but a handful come from St. Paul, and one each from Kansas, North Dakota, North Carolina and Connecticut.
Several years ago, one of our ‘pallies’ had the idea of founding a new unit, dedicated to BBQ and good cigars. He originally planned to call it "The Smokers," but for various reasons, we abandoned that name, adopted the Rat Pack theme, and here we are today. You can read more about 'dem early days formin' the Unit, here.
We're all Freemasons. About 35% of Masons in the U.S., like us, take the additional step of joining the Shrine and its heritage of charitable giving and social culture.
What makes the Shrine work is its units and clubs. When you go to a Shrine meeting, you likely mean you are meeting with your unit. A guy who enjoys souped-up go-carts could easily join the Cobra Corp, and with the right Harley he'd fit in like a veteran rider with the Cycle Corp. Or, if you and yer bride enjoy ballroom dancing, the Masquers is fer you. The Chanters are a small choir on wheels, who sing to a number of audiences each year. There are dozens and dozens of these units and clubs, some with no larger purpose than socializing in their community and throwing a twice-annual pancake breakfast for charity. Others are very busy, like the (Bag)Pipes and Drums, the 101 service club and the Legion of Honor, considered to be ace ritualists for local lodges. How to choose? Well, that's where we come in. Many new Shriners join the Chairmen to take time getting to know the other groups. Of course, many will remain Chairmen members even if they join a second unit. It all depends on the time you have, and your commitment. Once or twice a year, the Chairmen will step up on a big project and "show 'em all how it should be done," inspiring a little friendly rivalry, like when we decorate an award-winning cabana design at the Pote's Ball. The operative word there is "big," because Shriners make an impact when they work together.
Membership in the Chairmen costs just $50 a year*. We welcome any Shriner from any temple, new Masons, or even non-Masons to join. You can informally participate for a year just to see if you like the group, and join the Shrine at a later ‘Ceremonial.’ When you want to join, send fill out a petition, found here or in the Documents folder on my desk, and bring it to a meeting. Or, send it to Steven Miller, our CIO - find his address on the Contacts page. We'll have a couple of the fellows meet you and sign it for ya. If you want to learn more about the Masons, click here. It'll give you a chance to take a tour of the Churchill Lodge website - they host our little piece of the web - or check out our local Shrine, Zuhrah, and the International Shrine website.
Stop by one of our meetings at Jax Cafe, or Golden Leaf, or call us if you like.
Finally, enjoy the radio spots during the weekly Sinatra hour we occasionally sponsor, Saturday evenings at six, on the Twin Cities' Jazz 88, FM. We sure do.