Meet Sofia Ortiz, our new Summer Production Assistant (and July 4th First Friday performer!)

We are happy to announce that Sofia Ortiz has joined us for the summer filling the valuable role of Production Assistant. Her experience working with sound equipment, outstanding organizational skills, and wonderful personality made her a perfect fit at the Garfield Center. Sofia is likely a familiar face to many in Chestertown:

I grew up here in Chestertown, attending Kent County High School.  My family has been involved with the Garfield Center for a number of years. I performed a few times with them as part of various concerts and benefits. As a kid, I would come to see concerts and plays and even films like “The Secret Garden” and “Modern Times”.

Sofia is currently on break from her first year of Bard College, where she is studying Creative Writing. When GCA Managing Director, Kate Bursick, approached her about coming to work at Garfield Center for the summer Sofia jumped at the chance to use her technical knowledge as well as learn some new skills:

So far, my work at the Garfield has been centered around assisting Butch Clark in the tech booth and running lights for this year’s Short Attention Span Theater. I’m also working on other smaller side projects but learning how to navigate the equipment has been the majority of what I’ve done. I really enjoy working behind the scenes, making sure things are in order and running smoothly. Everyone on the staff and in the cast has been extremely warm and welcoming, which has made my transition so much easier than it might have been elsewhere. It’s challenging starting completely from scratch and having to learn the routine of a new workplace, but so far the rewards far outweigh the snags. I look forward to helping out with the performances and keeping things in order. I’m learning that there are an incredible number of little things that need to happen off-stage before the house lights even flicker, and I’m happy to do my part, whatever that needs to be, in order for everyone else’s life to be easier.

Along with the joys and challenges of working at the GCA, Sofia has also found a few surprises:

Maybe it’s a secret and no one outside the Garfield family is supposed to know, but the old movie projectors are still up in the attic with reels of film still in drawers. I had no idea until I started working here! It seems like that’s something people would be interested in knowing about.  I’ve spoken with those who don’t come to the Garfield often but do remember fondly the old movie theater. I wasn’t around (read: born) during that era, but it might be nice to commemorate that time in some way and draw in those who haven’t returned since the projection room closed.

Sofia not only comes with plenty of tech savvy, but is also a talented musician:

My parents (Pam and Bob Ortiz) enrolled me in violin lessons at age three, and the music took off from there. They knew before I was born that they wanted musical children. I started piano when I was seven, trombone when I was ten and mandolin when I was fourteen. My biggest insight, though, came in fifth grade when I watched “School of Rock” for the first time and decided to teach myself guitar. That’s been my main instrument since then. I’ve never really tried to pin-point what genre I fall under. By myself, my songwriting is probably something akin to indie-folk (a lot of Nick Drake covers fall in here), but at Bard, I played with a few friends, and that tended to be a lot louder and closer to rock ‘n’ roll. I bought my guitar under the logic that if I played a guitar similar to George Harrison’s Gretsch, I would somehow become George Harrison. It’s a mistake I’m still reeling from, but the only redemption is through practice, so we’ll see.

See for yourself when Sofia performs July 4th on the Kohl Lobby stage at Garfield Center for the Arts for First Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m.

We are thrilled to welcome her to the staff of the Garfield Center and look forward to working with her for many years to come!