Why Boar’s Head?

The Boar’s Head Festival is an amazing experience, a wonderful time where hundreds of people come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and share the life, love, and joy of Jesus Christ. One of the greatest things about the Boar’s Head Festival is the number of people who participate in the program. Putting on six performances (and a dress rehearsal) for over 1500 people requires a lot of people, a lot of time, and a lot of energy. There are rehearsals and meetings, planning and setup, food and tickets, and countless other things to be done. The Boar’s Head Festival is a major undertaking.

From directors, to crew, to performers, to musicians there are dozens and dozens of people who give a great deal of their time, energy, and passion. We have so many dedicated and caring people involved in the Boar’s Head Festival but we decided to ask them a very simple question – “why?”. Why are they willing to share so much of their time, talent, and energy for this program? Here’s what we found out:

Bob and Karen Lorence – My wife Karen, and I are dancers; Waites.  We have been dancers for about 10 years.  When we were first asked by Ben Nead, who was the person organizing and leading the dancers, Karen and I were involved with ball -room dancing and Latin dancing.  Therefore, it was a natural for us to pick up with the Boar’s Head dancing.

Like the congregants of the church are our “church family”, so too is the cast and crew of the Boar’s Head Festival.  More specifically, the dancers are a close-knit piece of the Boar’s Head Family.  I would miss everyone if I were not involved.  Secondly, it is entirely soul-warming that two and three generations of families are involved and parents and their children grow through years and years of participation.  It is exciting to see everything come together and appreciate we are a part of an unbelievable production.  Finally, it gives great pleasure in being able to deliver a memorable experience to the congregation and the community; it is a privilege for us.

Carolyn Hanel –  I currently sing baritone in the choir, but my initial involvement in the Boar’s Head was in 1983 as a “Beedle” (usher).  I served in that capacity for 3 years before taking over the Director position for 15 years.  It was very difficult to leave the director job as I really enjoyed it.  This was before the church renovations when things were a bit more crowded downstairs. We also used to do 7 performances then – one on Friday night and all sold out.  The 4:00s used to be so crowded that in addition to putting out folding chairs in the aisles, Al Erb, who was the Major Domo (head usher) at the time would announce that we were going to 12 to a pew.  We also had live flames back then around the boar’s head and more taper bearers, also with lit candles.  With the crowds, the aisles blocked and the live flames and polyester costumes that would go up on a flash, I opted to remove all the candles except the two in the front that do not move. I’ve participated in the Boar’s Head Festival for 34 years (missed 2016 with a bad cold). I participate in the Boar’s Head Festival for the people!  The fellowship that develops over the weekend is fantastic.  I love it when a 4 year-old wood sprite discusses the performance with someone 80+ in the choir.  To say that this is an inter-generational event is an understatement.  The looks on the faces of the youngest cast members during Joseph’s Song are special.

One of my fondest memories is the 1994 Boar’s Head.  We had a big snow storm and many people did not have power.  Plus the septic system (this was before the church was on sewer) was overwhelmed and the truck to pump the tank could not cross the ice.  Everyone banded together and the show went on.  Some cast members without power slept at the church; others stayed with fellow cast members.  We brought in a porta-potty for the men to use and designated all the indoor facilities as ladies’ rooms.  And we still had full audiences for every performance.  And even after 34 years, I still tear up during Joseph’s Song and the adoration during Let All Mortal Flesh.  Definitely not your run of the mill church play!

Beth Hansel – I am a Lady in Waiting and also a Beedle? This will be my second year. The first year I did this I was asked by Bernadette and could not refuse her, also I wanted to see what it was all about since I had not been to a performance.  This year I was asked again to help out and could not refuse, this time because it is a fun and enjoyable experience.

Linda Trembath – I serve as a Banner Bearer (carry a banner) in the procession and I have been participating in the Boar’s Head Festival for 12 years. I participate because it’s a church tradition we do as a family that we look forward to every year!  It is a great time spending the weekend with our church family too!

Rylynn Trembath – I will be an Angel this year, but I started as a woodsprite, then candlesprite and jester and I have been participating in the Boar’s Head Festival for 12 years. I participate because it is a Christmas tradition and a fun weekend with my friends.

Karen Rauscher – I head up the makeup team.  I love seeing the people year after year.  Some of them I only see at Boars Head.  I’ve been doing it for 8-10 years?  I love seeing the amazement on the faces of the crowd when leaving after the shows and hearing the comments they make!

Danielle Gardner – I sing in the choir and this is my 2nd year. I participate because it is fun and inspirational. I love that we can all gather as community, people from all over, not just St. Pete’s, and praise the birth of our Lord using all of our gifts and talents.

Sean Anderson – For many years now I’ve been a shepherd in the past I have been a banner bearer, plum putting page, woodsman, archer, boars head page, Herald taper bearer, Junior woodsman and a sprite. I have been in this play since the second year it started missing only one weekend since then. I continue to do it every year because it has become tradition and it almost an essential part of bringing in the new year.

Jack Melillo – I serve as a Beefeater and this will be my 11th year (I think). I enjoy the camaraderie, the joy and wonder in the audience’s eyes, the FOOD…it’s just a very good time for me.  My whole family enjoys the weekend very much.

Cricket Snearing – I am the Stage Manager and I have been participating in Boar’s Head for at least 10 years. I belong to Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale and came to help with props the year after Pastor Todd came to St. Peter’s from Trinity.  Pastor Todd thought that I’d enjoy Boar’s Head and invited me to participate.  Back then, backstage was a very small area with a tiny prop room a very little hallway for everyone to line up in!  After the former Stage Manger retired, I was asked to take that position.  I really enjoy the organization of maintaining the props and staging items and working with a fabulous crew.  A couple of teens from Trinity now come each year to assist and it’s a fun but sometimes stressful job.  I’m not always popular in the job of getting everyone in line, quiet so they are not heard in the church, having the appropriate props and being sure they get out the curtain on time!!  The best part…having made lifelong friends that I met working at Boar’s Head. It’s so nice to come back every year and have so many people who say “nice to see you”!

Jan Gera – This year I’m simply a member of the Boars Head audience! I’m there to enjoy the performances and support my daughter who is a soloist. My family has participated in the Boars Head for over 20 years. The kids started as the children of the Manor and grew their way through the cast, as so many families do. I had the privilege of directing the show for 10 years. It’s a mantel that was handed to me by Carolyn Hanel and then I passed the baton to Kate Garrison. Why do we all do it?  It’s FUN! To see it and to be in it !  It’s is a tremendous sense of community. I’ve always said that the audience doesn’t get to experience the best part…. all participants joining together for an entire weekend.   We sing together, we dine together, play games, shake off glitter, and get to know new people! Boars Head to me is part of the soul of St. Peter’s. If you’re lucky enough to attend, take a second not only to enjoy the message and music, but look at the joy all around you.