The Boar’s Head & Yule Log Festival
This celebration of the victory of good over evil is perhaps the oldest continuing festival of the Christmas season. It began as a holiday tradition in the grand manor houses of England, and was brought to America during colonial days. There’s never a dull moment in this fast moving presentation, which is loaded with surprise entrances and exits by the performers.
The pageant is based on an old legend, that of an Oxford student who kills a wild boar when it interrupts his studies. When the church adopted the Festival, it gained a new, Christian significance: the wild boar, symbolic of evil, is overcome by good through the teachings of Christ. Marching companies, in beautiful authentic costumes of Renaissance England, sing the ancient songs of Christendom, as they carry in the gaily-bedecked head of the wild boar, which is conquered by the innocent goodness of the Christ Child. The triumph of light over darkness is made graphic in the Christ Candle through its light and through the carvings on the wooden candle-holder in our production.
The second part of the program features the original Christmas story, as shepherds and Wise Men travel to Bethlehem to bring gifts to the Christ Child. The traditional tableau–Mary, Joseph and the baby–is revealed as the climax, with the baby recently born to a member of our congregation playing the part of the infant Jesus. The iconic moment of the Holy Family stirs the heart in.
UCC members and an audience from far and wide have thrilled to the BHYLF story for the past 40 years. We have marveled at the detailed period costumes, the diverse cast that inspires awe and humor without speech, and the glorious mix of handbells, organ and orchestra that accompany the story of Jesus’ birth.
This January 3 will be special indeed because we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Festival. The composer and arranger of the music, Randol Alan Bass, returns for the third year to conduct his updated musical score. Through gifts from individuals and the Boar’s Head Guild, Mr. Bass was hired in 2013 to enhance the instrumentation, rework the organ and bell parts, and redo all the music scores.
Every favorite tune such as “Let All Mortal Flesh” and “Angels We Have Heard on High” is still heard in the production and the orchestral parts are freshened. Mr. Bass composed the former Boar’s Head musical score while in his early 20’s at the request of his teacher and mentor, Ronald Shirey.
Tickets for the 40th anniversary production of the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival went on sale Monday, November 30, 2015. Call 817.926.6631 ext. 141 to reserve your seats or purchase online . Reserved seating is $15. If you don’t reserve a seat, you can attend free.
The festival is celebrated in University Christian Church’s Sanctuary, located at 2720 South University Drive in Fort Worth. Performances are held during the first weekend in January at 3 and 5 p.m. each day. This annual celebration draws patrons from near and far! Every seat is filled, so it is suggested that patrons arrive at least one hour in advance. The festival is free and open to the public.
Annie Ambles to the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival in Fort Worth