Freeport, Illinois — Every once in a while we run across a new Freeport treasure that tells yet another story of the unique aspects of our community. The people here, are pretty thoughtful of others.
From the traditions people have created within the city such as seasonal concerts, plays, musicals and holiday decorations we get to enjoy, to the traditions we share on a more personal level, created or given by those close to us.
Those traditions might include uncle Jim dressing up as Santa ever year, grandpa reading the night before Christmas, or it could come in the form of a holiday ornament that holds special meaning to us from Christmas past or family past, which adds a final heartwarming touch to the spirit of this time of year.
Beyond all the fun parties, family get together’s, company parties and all the holiday gift giving we do though, one of the coolest examples of a holiday tradition we ran across recently, is a Christmas tree that graces the home of a local teacher at Freeport High School.
It’s a special Christmas tree and one that holds the memories of decades of high school musicals.
It was in the early 2000’s when the tradition started.
Michelle Golzs’ daughter Sarah had begun doing musicals with Freeport High School, under the direction of high school drama teacher Tim Connors.
According to Connors, Michelle started giving him an ornament each year that represented the particular musical of that season. When Michelle’s other children, son Andy and daughter Meg, followed performing in shows also over the subsequent years, Connors says he continued to receive these special ornaments from Michelle.
Connors says it didn’t stop after her children graduated either. “She continued making them for me as well as other staff members and cast, for years to come” he told us.
Over the years, while Michelle wasn’t able to make every show, on Tim’s 25th year he says Michelle contacted him. She asked for a list of all his shows, at which point she proceeded to make an ornament for every one of the shows she had missed.
“It’s the start of the holiday season when I put my musical tree up”, Tim says. “Some of those ornaments are older than me!”
When you speak of Christmas time, traditions, family and a season of love, we must admit, here’s a hidden holiday gem, like so many others, we hope stands the test of Freeport time.