Caroling Competition continues 27-year tradition in Gables


Caroling Competition continues 27-year tradition in Gables

Coral Gables High School Chorus members perform during a previous Caroling Competition.

The Coral Gables Caroling Competition will get anyone who attends in the holiday spirit. It has been an eagerly awaited holiday tradition in the City Beautiful since 1987 when the 550 Building first presented the city with its spectacular poinsettia tree that became the backdrop for the competition.

Recognition goes to Merrick Festival director Sally Baumgartner for her vision in creating this choral competition that gives the community’s young people an opportunity to showcase their talent and win dollars to support their programs. Baumgartner’s passion for the competition and selfless efforts have enabled the event to grow considerably over the years.

It has become a much-anticipated event for the school choirs, their supporters and thousands who make this part of the holiday tradition.

“This event is free to the public and is truly a wonderful holiday gift to residents and visitors alike,” Baumgartner said. “We are most grateful to all those who have donated funding to make this event a reality year end and year out.”

Join the crowd in front of the 550 Biltmore Building over five nights beginning Wednesday, Dec. 4, running through Sunday afternoon, Dec. 8. Middle school performances are Wednesday and Friday evening; high schools perform on Thursday and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon from 3 until 6 pm. All evening performances are from 7 until 10 p.m.

Since 1990, the competition has provided “bus money” for each participating school — without which many of the public schools would be unable to participate. The bus money levels the playing field and makes it possible for the inner-city schools to compete along with independent schools, offsetting the costs of their transportation to the competition.

Each school receives a minimum of $175 for bus money — more if the year’s budget permits. Funding for the buses this year is generously provided through a grant from the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners and Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council

For information on the event, visit online at

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A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and the Rotarian of the Year Award. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education, co chairs the Doral Business Council Forum and is a DBC Ambassador, is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club and is on the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and sings in the choir of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. She can be reached at

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