Musical Memories 2020

For the first time since 1987 the Caroling Competition was not live at 550 Biltmore Way in front of the amazing poinsettia tree. But we did our best to make it happen – despite everything that was going on in the world – kicking off the holidays for Coral Gables once again … Because WE ALL NEEDED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS. It was quite a year!

Plans as to how we could present the Competition began in June, primarily because the only thing we knew for sure is that we didn’t know what things would be like by December.

We had a meeting with the choir directors from all the schools, and we discussed our options, the first being … do we want to present the Competition at all in 2020? The answer was a resounding “YES” from all the teachers. You can be sure that after going through the whole experience, they wish they’d kept their mouths shut!

From the start, it was the teachers who made this happen. Their dedication to their art, their commitment to your children and their determination to continue a tradition that began 34 years ago, something they feel is important for their kids, has made it possible to present the show that you are going to see. It’s about more than the holidays, it’s about supporting and keeping the music programs in our schools.

To say that things were “different” in 2020 is an understatement. In the new normal, nothing is normal. In a “normal” year, 30 schools participate in the Caroling Competition, over five nights, with 20 minutes of music performed by each school.

For the 2020 virtual event, we had 23 schools sign up. But only 13 were able to complete a ten minute video, with three to five songs. Technology and dual modality teaching were the roadblocks they had to overcome. Some children were going to school in person, while others continued remote learning. Some days there were five students in the class, some days there was only one. One of the teachers pointed out that with a dual teaching modality, what suffers is discipline, routine and structure. And it is very difficult to motivate the kids when they’re not in front of you.

But they prevailed! And all of them can now add a whole host of accomplishments to their already impressive resumes, including film and audio editor, production designer and software technician. It was a journey in learning and development for the Choir Directors and the kids. And the results are nothing short of impressive.

At the suggestion of the teachers, we did not award cash prizes to the schools that placed with the highest scores in 2020. Instead, as they requested, the prize money and the performance fees were combined and given to each participating school EQUALLY. There were still “winners”. But because everyone poured their heart, soul, and their own money into producing these shows, they felt that all of the participating schools should share equally in the money for 2020. And so we are pleased to announce that each of the 13 participating schools received $1,265 for their appearance in the 2020 Competition.

That funding was made possible through the ongoing, everlasting, never ending devotion of our family of sponsors, most of whom have been supporting the Caroling Competition for several decades. It would be impossible to present this show ever year without their generous support. We are forever grateful to each and every one of the 30+ organizations, foundations and individuals who help us kick of Christmas in Coral Gables every year. You’ll see animated graphics throughout the show recognizing all of our sponsors this year, and a couple of short “commercial videos”. It’s the only way we know of that we can recognize their support of our mission … keeping music in our schools.

2020 Middle School Judges: Jorge Arcila, Rebecca Henriques, Andres & Darlene Trujillo, Katherine Driscoll

2020 Senior High Judges:  Jorge Arcila, Bill Quesenberry, Giselle Rios, Kevin Rutledge, Rafael de Guzman.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our show, and that we brought a “little Christmas” into your life. You can be sure that we will return live again next year beginning, as always, the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, December 1, 2021.

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