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Scene & Heard 09.05.19

Get caught up on the latest news to hit the A&E scene this week.

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  • | 10:20 a.m. September 4, 2019
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New cast member

The Players Studio announced in an Aug. 28 release that it hired a new studio director. Jennifer Bushinger Ortiz is taking on the position after about 20 years of experience in various sectors of the professional theater world, such as costume-designing for Connecticut Free Shakespeare, acting in two national tours and directing nearly 100 productions across the tri-state area.

“I am honored to join this dynamic performing arts organization and contribute to its incredible 90-year legacy” Bushinger Ortiz said in the release. “There are several new and exciting prospects on the horizon for The Players Studio. We only seek to add to its reputation and provide the highest-quality arts education in and around our community.”

“The Players Centre team is overjoyed with the addition of Jennifer to our company,” Managing Artistic Director Jeffery Kin said in the release. “She has amazing qualities that will support all our students, both young and old.”

Changing roles

The Players Centre for Performing Arts isn’t the only local arts organization to announce leadership changes last week. Key Chorale shared in an Aug. 27 release that Johnette Cappadona will fill the newly created position of director of community engagement. 

Cappadona’s background is in arts management and development work; she was director of patron services for Austin Symphony Orchestra (her hometown symphony) for 18 years. Once in Sarasota, she worked for JFCS, New College Foundation and USF Sarasota-Manatee Foundation. She also started SRQ Special Projects to help local nonprofits with development and fundraising, which she will continue to do on top of her role with Key Chorale.

“Johnette’s experience, along with a passion for what we do, will be invaluable as she works with our community partners and begins building rapport with our donors and stakeholders,” Artistic Director Joesph Caulkins said in the release. 

Additionally, Key Chorale has recently appointed Jamal Sarikoki to associate conductor. The conductor, singer, organist and minister currently serves as minister of music and worship at Venice Presbyterian Church and as the artistic director of the Venice Community Concert Series.

“He is a gifted musician with an incredible voice but also a talented conductor with a lot to offer to Key Chorale,” Caulkins said. “In only two seasons, he has already made himself invaluable to our organization.” 

Forging connections

The Sarasota Ballet announced in an Aug. 27 release that its Margaret Barbieri Conservatory has joined the elite roster of Youth America Grand Prix partner schools. This means The Sarasota Ballet is now one of YAGP’s official scholarship presenters, so the conservatory joins an elite group of the world’s top dance academies that provide scholarship opportunities to skilled young dancers. In addition, both The Sarasota Ballet Education Director Christopher Hird and Assistant Education Director Dierdre Miles Burger have been invited to join the YAGP’s esteemed panel of judges for several semifinals this season.

“It’s an incredible honor for us to be recognized in this way by such a prestigious organization as the Youth America Grand Prix,” Hird said in the release. “Their belief in the quality of the training we provide is a testament to what we have built over the past few years.”






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