The Yule Duel singing competition returns to Gastown tonight at 6 p.m. in support of the city’s most vulnerable citizens over the holiday season.
Water Street will shut down traffic for the fourth annual evening of competitive caroling, showcasing local choirs, three-time Grammy winner Dutch Robinson and gospel choir leader Marcus Mosely to raise money for Downtown Eastside hospice May’s Place.
Visitors can walk through the streets listening to choirs belting out carols while enjoying popcorn and hot chocolate along the way.
“It’s become a family friendly kick-off to the holiday season and local community," said Jonathan Oldman, executive director of Bloom Group. “It’s an opportunity for us as an organization…who operates May’s Place, to give back to the local community — to provide an event that’s fun, that’s enjoyable and a great time all the while for a valuable cause.”
Spectators can donate to the fundraiser by purchasing $5 voting buttons for their favourite singing group during the initial competition, though the judges will have the last word in the final duels of the evening. All proceeds from the button purchases are donated to the programs at May’s Place.
The caroling competition begins after Robinson’s performance on the main stage at Maple Tree Square. Mosely will perform before the final duels of the evening.
This year’s lineup has 16 choirs competing in the fundraiser including the Notre Dame Platinum Girls and Iron Men Choirs, Zing! Children’s Choir and Sarabande.
The night is expected to be an entertaining competition with the return of Vancouver’s Mom Choir, runners up from last year.
As part of the Bloom Group Community Services Society, May’s Place has operated in the Downtown Eastside providing hospice services and has supported more than 2,000 people since the organization began more than 50 years ago.
May’s Place offers their end-of-life care to the most vulnerable and marginalized in the community.
More than $50,000 was raised for May’s Place at last year’s Yule Duel, and the organization is hoping to reach that mark again this evening.
For more information about the event, visit yuleduel.com.
To learn more about May’s Place, go to thebloomgroup.org/our-work/hospice.