More than 100 people gathered to support local musicians, young and old, on Friday evening, Dec. 13 at the Third Annual "The Gift of Song" Concert presented by Poinciana United Methodist Church and the Miami Springs Historical Society.
The Gift of Song is a perfect example of the spirit of the Christmas season. With a community united, no matter their church affiliation or lack thereof, all entered the sanctuary doors to hear the festive music that filled the air and to support local organizations.
Many know Jaime Petralanda for his service as a Miami Springs councilman, but on this evening Petralanda put on a few other hats. Along with being a seventh-grade civics teacher at Hialeah Gardens Middle School, Petralanda is the founder and director of the Gift of Song event.
Three years ago Petralanda teamed up with Pastor Gordon Pike of Poinciana United Methodist Church and the Miami Springs Historical Society as a fundraising collaborative partnership opportunity.
“We are very proud of our local students for sharing their great talents with our residents under the direction of their respective band directors, Andy Luna at Miami Springs Senior High School and Berman Lopez at Hialeah Gardens Middle School,” said Petralanda. “As well, we were pleased to have the performances of C.E.C. Christmas Angels under the direction of Elaine Floyd and Olga Bustamante, and the South Florida Jubilee Chorus directed by Chelsea Young.
“A special thank you goes out to our local residents for their support and encouragement of our evening music program and Poinciana Methodist Church under the direction of Pastor Pike, who provided a forum for our performers and inspirational guidance.
“A dynamic and caring community is established from the generosity among its members,” said Petralanda. “Sharing gifts further solidifies their familial bonds.”
Other than providing a fundraising opportunity, the purpose of the evening was to showcase a multitude of musical talent and provide an evening filled with joy and entertainment for the community, and every year the event gets bigger and better.
The evening kicked off with the innocence and charm of preschoolers from Poinciana UMC’s Children Enrichment Center, who were also known as the C.E.C. Christmas Angels.
“It was a wonderful experience for my son Andrew, and for all the C.E.C. children, to be included in this year’s show,” said Osi Martinez. “The children did great. It was so nice to see so many people from the community come out to support our little musicians.”
The award-winning female a cappella chorus, the South Florida Jubilee, practically stole the show with their barbershop-style harmonies. The audience was captivated with the chorus’ talent and enthusiasm. It was evident when the group received a standing ovation from the crowd.
A brief intermission allowed for the Hialeah Gardens Middle School Jazz Band to set up their instruments, and that was followed by the Miami Springs Senior High School Band. Hialeah Gardens Middle School played as a 24-piece band and Miami Springs Band decided to showcase their students in a trumpet trio, saxophone quartet, and a brass quintet.
“The students involved in the music programs at Miami Springs Senior High are always ready to showcase our talents,” said Bryan Gagne, who was part of the trumpet trio from the Miami Springs Senior High School Band.
All funds raised will go to the Miami Springs Senior High School and Hialeah Gardens Middle School Band programs, South Florida Jubilee Chorus, C.E.C. Christmas Angels, and Poinciana United Methodist Church charities, according to Petralanda.
Guests were able to make a $5 donation as they took their seats. The evening program included more than 20 local business logos, with additional special thanks and acknowledgement to a few generous financial contributors along with local politicians from both the City of Miami Springs and the Town of Medley. The Gift of Song, while spearheaded by Petralanda, is a true collaborative effort of many, all coming together with their gifts and talents for an evening filled with music, hope, peace and joy.