Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Caput apri defero - I bring in the boar's head

In the heart of downtown youngstown, a tiny sprite with a lit candle runs though the stone passages of a 110-year old church.

Jumping between shadows and light filtered through Tiffany stained-glass windows, the young sprite presents the flame to the rector, and thus the Boar's Head Festival begins.

- - -

For 50 years this amazing tradition has occurred in the same fashion inside the stunning Arts and Crafts interior of St. John's Episcopal Church.

With over 150 costumed people playing roles throughout the two-hour brass, organ, and song event (with a feast afterwards!), one can't help but feel completed blessed that we have these types of events in the community.

Here's a four-minute video of just some of the performers walking to the sanctuary. Check it out:

What costumes!
What voices!
What an effort!

- - -

Photographer extraordinaire Bill Lewis has great pictures from the 2010 event you can see here, as well as a video of a musician playing trombone for 50 consecutive years here.

There were more beefeaters than in a baker's dozen of gin bottles.

- - -

The history of the Boar's Head Festival goes back to circa 1167 in Oxford University in England.

The boar's head itself comes from Roman traditions, as the beast - a menace to man - was served at feasts. Serving the head represents the triumph of good over evil.

In 1892 the first Boar's Head and Yule Log festival was performed in the United States.

In 1961 the music for Youngtown's event was selected, arranged, and composed by Dr. Ronald L. Gould, who served as conductor for the 2010 version.

If you've never seen this amazing display of pageantry, you'll have to wait until 2012.

Caput apri defero, indeed.

No comments: