Sonia Marie Olivas is a freelance harpist and music teacher at Harp Enchantment in La Jolla. She graduated from California State University Northridge with a B.A. in Music, emphasis on early childhood education and world music. Some of her concert credits include the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, Lyceum Theatre, Torrey Pines Christian Church and the La Jolla Library.
Olivas has played harp music for some 14 years at more than 500 events weddings, corporate events, funerals, gallery openings, birthdays, senior gatherings and tea parties. She will debut a Latin Harp album this summer. In addition to performing, she teaches at her studio and at Music Central.
What brought you to La Jolla?
My friends invited me out for lunch on my birthday at a restaurant that overlooked the ocean and Prospect. I was so taken by the view and atmosphere that I came back to La Jolla several times. I knew this was my destination point and moved here from L.A. six
What makes this area special to you?
I love the cove walks, ocean sunsets, dog-friendly establishments; and the people, galleries, libraries and boutiques.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or
improve in the area?
I would love to have live music in every restaurant and café in town, as well as on the sidewalks. I think it would be especially fantastic for the themed establishments to have that genre of music playing within — how special and truly authentic it would be to have music complementing food and décor!
Another huge improvement would be to fix the roads. It seems like the roads are getting worse — and not just during the rainy season.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by family and friends who persevere and come together when times are hard, and praise each other when times are great.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
I would enjoy having my mom, dad, sister, all three grandparents, Aunt Anita and cousin Teresa, Glenn and his mom over for a dinner party. This is more than eight guests, but I think we would all have a fantastic time laughing, storytelling, advising/scolding, crying and then laughing all over again. This would be my gift to the living — dinner with the dearly departed they miss most.
Tell us about what you are reading.
I am reading a collection of short stories from around the Latin globe called “Cuentos Españoles,” edited by Angel Flores; I’m enjoying traveling through history to all the different Latin countries. The most recent story is “El Techo” by Horacio Quiroga. This story takes place in a province called Misiones, a territory in the tropical jungle of northern Argentina bordering on Brazil and Paraguay. I came to conclusion that there are two themes in the story. The first is obviously about being able to redeem one’s self against all odds. The second is that if you want something enough, you will stop at nothing to achieve that goal.
What is your most-prized possession?
I would have to say that’s Emily, my Yorkshire terrier, and my harp.
What do you do for fun?
I like to play tennis, dance, watch various types of movies, attend concerts, festivals, farmers markets, watch sunsets by the ocean, go to art exhibit tours, take walks in nature with family, friends and Emily, hang out at coffee shops and try out new restaurants or cuisines.
I also enjoy being an organizer of the Spanish Language and Cultures Active Fun Tennis Club and La Jolla Life meet-up community. In addition to teaching privately, I like to volunteer at the La Jolla Elementary School music program once a week.
Describe your greatest accomplishment.
That would be adventuring off on my own as a professional freelance harpist and music teacher. I left a nice family business in the mortgage/real estate industry to pursue my passion. I’m happy to say I’m grateful and ecstatic to be able to keep on this wonderful journey.
What is your motto or philosophy of lif
Enjoy life like a tourist! Always be curious and enjoy the wonderful moments to the last drop. Aaah!