Gables Museum wows with spectacular holiday concert gala

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Coral Gables Museum (CGM) hit it out of the ballpark with its first annual concert gala.

When the time guests arrived the fun began with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, and the sounds of the Assai String Quartet. Lots of laughs surrounded an area where folks gathered for photos with Santa (Steve Moorman, who fooled many with his disguise) as well as a giant inflatable mechanical bear that hugged passersby.

Credit the amazing decorations to CGM board member Lynn Bauer who never does anything less than awesome. Founding CGM chair and chair emeritus George Kakouris, who chaired the event; chair emeritus Chip Withers; Lynn Bauer; CGM chair John Allen, Marie Vacca, volunteers and staff are to be applauded for a night of pure entertainment. After dinner, the musical program featured famous opera classics and Broadway hits before an intermission for dessert and coffee.

Part two of the night treated the audience to favorite holiday hits orchestrated by musical director and pianist Roberto Berrocal with sopranos Maria Antunez, Jennifer Zamorano and Vanessa Gentzchein; tenors, Martin Nusspaumer and Petyer Rivera, and baritone, Armando Naranjo.

Among the many enjoying the evening were Cora Gables Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli; former Mayor Jim and Carmen Cason; Vice Mayor Pat Keon,; Commissioners Frank Quesada with wife Anna, Vince Lago and wife Olga; Drs. Karelia and Marino Carbonell; Dr. Hal Wanless; David Evensky; Arva Moore Parks McCabe; and the list goes on of VIPs, donors and music lovers.
Other yearend parties in December also filled the calendar.

Despite a packed schedule, Chef Chris Valdes, owner of Best Chefs Catering, surprised the CGWC board by being on hand to personally prepare a five-star dinner that wowed everyone attending. This dinner was just icing on the cake for an evening a great fun following a short board meeting conducted by president Deborah Van Stone Moore to close out the year.

CGWC past president Linda Hartwell orchestrated the evening that included an opportunity to create one’s own holiday ornament. Of course, the gift exchange — a la White Elephant rules — made for fun as well. This was a great way for this hard-working group to relax after a busy year, and following their party for the children in the club’s free dental clinic.

By the way, the Coral Gables Woman’s Club’s free children’s dental clinic had a party with a special guest, Santa (aka former FBI agent Sam Martinez). Santa was joined by several club members including Dental Clinic director Dr. Iris Torres who did a great job of handing out gift cards and raffling off 12 great items for the children including two bicycles.

In other holiday parties, Scott and Belinda Sime held their annual toy drive celebration collecting some 400 gifts for the Lighthouse for the Blind. This has to be one of the best holiday parties around with live music, crepe stations, passed hors d’oeuvres, buffet and open bar.

For many, this party is a way to give back and reconnect with people whom they may not see often during the year.

By the way, Coral Gables Farmers Market begins again for the season on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8 a.m., in front of City Hall. This is always one of the best in South Florida offering “how to” programs as well as great food, products and plants. The city is always well represented with resource info and so much more.

Finally, the crazy, fun loving, zany folks in Coconut Grove have pulled of another hilarious King Mango Strut Parade. This year it was on New Year’s Eve afternoon with hundreds lining the streets to watch the hilarious parade participants recapping 2017 with their satirical twist on events and people in the news.

Until next time, keep making each day count. May you all have a Happy New Year!

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
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. Active in many non profits, she received numerous awards across the community. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, where she sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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