Music resonated through the air as students, parents, and supporters celebrated the start of the Christmas season. Although the Yule Log celebration began in Europe around the 12th century, it remains a significant part of the Christmas tradition to date. People gather to hear Christmas songs while celebrating the traditional burning of the Yule Log. The Yule Log is symbolic of a log that was lit over 2000 years ago to warm a newborn savior; Jesus Christ. The traditional gathering and celebration represent good fortune for the coming year.
Reynolds Nature Preserve, located in Morrow, Georgia, hosts this celebration every year; the second Friday night in December. The preserve is composed of 130 acres of dedicated green space, approximately 5 ponds, and buildings which were erected around the civil war.
The historic Huie Barn, manned by a group of dedicated volunteers, offered Reynolds Nature Preserve t-shirts, free face painting, popcorn, cotton candy, and hot chocolate. Markell and Mikisha courteously served refreshments as Anna McCallum, acting secretary of the Board of Directors, and volunteer, professionally painted faces.
Frank Hiller, also a volunteer, and member of the Board of Directors since 1997, proudly recanted the history of the preserve while eagerly awaiting the new addition of a fire tower. The proposed fire tower would be open to tours, and would be the highest point in Clayton County.
The land originally owned by Robert T, Huie, was sold to Judge William Reynolds around 1920, and donated in 1976, to the Clayton County government to preserve green space to be utilized by the community. His dream realized; students from Forest Park High School masterfully entertained under the direction of Sean J. Terrell, the “William Shuster” of Clayton County, while members of the community joined the celebration.
Sean J. Terrell is the Orchestra Director, Director of Guitar Studies, and the Fine Arts Department Chair of Forest Park High School, in Forest Park, Georgia. There has been a dramatic change in student musicianship, enthusiasm for the art, and parent participation since his tenure at Forest Park High School. His teaching methods encourage students to want to learn, and they are genuinely excited when given opportunities to show off their acquired skills. Like his television counterpart, he is genuinely concerned about his students, and participates with them as they perform. This is truly life imitating art.
The evening’s entertainment began with soothing selections from a stringed quintet. They were followed by a guitar ensemble accompanied by their director, Mr. Terrell. Finally, the orchestra enthusiastically performed as they wrapped up the evening. Some of the familiar pieces performed were; Oh little town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, Greensleeves, Christmas Carol, and Let it Snow.
At the conclusion of the concert, the celebration continued by following a lit trail to the warmth of a bonfire where a storyteller created images in the minds of eager listeners.
The evening ended as wonderfully as it began. The Yule Log celebration warmed the hearts of all who attended.