Dec. 16th, 2016 – Some Good Ol’ Yuletide Dueling

If you managed to find yourself in Gastown this past Thursday evening, you may have found yourself in a very different Gastown. Sure, the cobblestoned streets were still of cobbled stones, the shop windows displaying their usual selection of souvenirs , and the bare trees adorned in typical festive holiday fashion – Christmas is right around the corner after all. But then there’s the stuff that you don’t see every day. The marching band drumming their way up and down Water Street. Steaming cups of tea and hot chocolate handed out to those who braved the chilly night and the threatening sky. Babies in toques, down, and gloves wiggling their bodies to some Christmas tunes. Oh, and what’s that I hear? Carolers? Many, many, many carolers?

Thursday, December 1st marked the second annual Yule Duel, a caroling competition bringing together local businesses, and local choirs in support of May’s Place Hospice. And for a second year in a row, the Saint James Music Academy Senior Choir had the chance to strut their vocal chords for a good cause. Huddled up on the sidewalk, beneath the glowing lights of the storefronts and lampposts, flaunting their plastic reindeer antlers, our students sang, moved, and grooved alongside twenty other choirs that came out for the evening. They brought out the Joni Mitchell, some beloved Christmastime classics, and capped it all off with the gentle and sorrowful melody of James Gordon’s Frozen in Frobisher Bay. Their voices carried into the bustling crowds. People paused, turned their heads, and listened, and listened some more. And when the dust settled, the SJMA Senior Choir was on the main stage proudly claiming the award for “Best Youth Choir.” May I say that we’re all so quite proud of our kids?

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the organizers of the Yule Duel; to everyone who came and watched and supported, not only our students but the all wonderfully talented choirs that call this city home; to Fluevog Shoes for sponsoring our students; and to May’s Place Hospice for the important work that they do in the community. Though my feet were numb with coldness by the end of it, my heart was warm with good tidings and joy. Thank you all for this memorable evening. Now I must do what I can to unstuck Carol of the Bells from my head.

“Gaily they ring

While people sing

Songs of good cheer,

Christmas is here.

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!”