Choose Your Team
Event Planning

Captured Event

July 08, 2005 - NRO Conducts Sucessful Summer Gala

What: National Repertory Orchestra Annual Summer Gala

Where: Seawell Grand Ball Room, Denver Center for the Performing Arts

When: July 8, 2005

Time: 6:00 pm

Beneficiary: National Repertory Orchestra

Master of Ceremonies: Ed Greene, CBS4

Gala Chairperson(s): Sharon Magness Blake, Suzy Witzler

Executive Director: Terese Kaptur

Committee Members: David Alexander, Steve Edmonds, Barbara Greene, Dr. Dean Prina, Jaylene Smith, Nancy Lamb Thompson

Sponsors: Sliver Sponsors: Ernie & Sharon Magness Blake Corporate Tables: Colorado Railcar Mfg., Frontier Airlines, Grand Timber Lodge, Great West Insurance, ISU Insurance Patron Tables: Tim & Patti Casey, Jan Marie & Richard Crawford, Bob & Nancy Follett, Gerry & Annette Fricke, Reggie & Pam Gray, Sandy Mortensen & Lou Wagner, John & Anna Sie, The Summit Foundation, Vail Resorts, Wells Fargo Bank, Suzy & Cap Witzler, Deanie & Howard Zelkin

Menu: Spring strawberry salad, Italian style chicken piccata, watermelon sorbet with hazlenut brittle and florentine cookie

Attendance: 300

Attire: Black Tie

Special Thanks: David Alexander, Barbara Greene, Cindy Rowley, Nancy Lamb Thompson


Board of Directors: Board of Trustees: President Sandy Mortensen Vice President Reggie Gray Secretary Gerry Fricke Treasurer Suzy Witzler Board Members: Ann Brewster, Jan Marie Crawford, Lee Henry, Bonnie Kirschenbaum, Barre Lee, J. Kent McHose, Linda Kay Peterson, Pat Taylor, Pam Wiegand, Deanie Zelkin Honorary Board: Mike Altenberg, Nancy Follett, Tom Rader

Blacktie Photos by: Janet Woods

 Gala Co-Chairs Suzy Witzler and Sharon Magness Blake
Gala Co-Chairs Suzy Witzler and Sharon Magness Blake

Janet Woods

A conductor breathes life into a piece of music through his interpretation of an orchestral score. He is responsible for the cohesiveness of the orchestral sound and gives the audience a show they won’t forget. For 28 years, Maestro Carl Topilow has been leading Breckenridge’s crown musical jewel, the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO), an impressive group of 18 to 25 year old musical students, and delivering performances as spectacular as the musicians themselves. Maestro Topilow handpicks the orchestra members, who play the equivalent of a full symphony season during an intense 8-week internship in Breckenridge, where they gain experience that will assist their transition into professional orchestral positions. 300 people gathered at the Seawell Ballroom to hear a performance by the NRO at the annual summer gala. They were treated to magical performances of the finale of the William Tell Overture, the concerto for Brahms Violin in D Major, opus 77 with the third movement featuring violinist and concert mistress Ilana Setapen, and a pops hoedown featuring former Scottish fiddle champ Brandon Vance. An unscheduled appearance by Darth Vader, AKA percussionist Rocky Romano, presented the audience with a surprise performance of the Battle of Heroes, a piece from Revenge of the Sith, the latest installment in the Star Wars series. More unexpected entertainment for the night came from three amateur conductors whose twirl of the baton had the audience in stitches. During the live auction, led by emcee Ed Greene, one opportunity to conduct the orchestra that night turned into three chances, thanks to the generosity of two bidders who paid $3,000 for each turn at Maestro Topilow’s podium. Long-time NRO patron Lou Wagner, along with gala co-chair Sharon Magness Blake purchased the three conducting chances. Linda Millisor, a spunky patron who boisterously encouraged participants to bid higher on the auction item, was the lucky recipient of one of the three conducting opportunities when generous Sharon Magness Blake paid an extra $3,000 dollars for Millisor to get up on the podium. Lou Wagner conducted the Magnificent 7 and was followed by Linda Millisor, who galloped her way through the William Tell Overture. Sharon Magness Blake conducted the march from the opera Carmen, but almost got off to a shaky start when husband and Breckenridge Mayor Ernie Blake, a past board president, attempted to steal the baton from her. He wanted to see her conduct the orchestra with the rose he presented to her when she stepped on the podium. Sharon stood firm until the baton was placed back in her hand, and then preceded to conduct the orchestra with the rose clenched between her teeth. After she finished twirling on the podium, the dance floor was covered in rose petals as Sharon was showered with flowers that patrons took from their table centerpieces. Practice makes perfect, and it paid off for the young orchestra when they helped make the three amateur conductors look like pros. After the guest conducting, the guests danced the night away to the sounds of the orchestra in an after dinner concert. The National Repertory Orchestra trains talented young musicians for professional careers in symphony orchestras in the United States and abroad. Over 850 students between the ages of 18 and 25 participate in the highly competitive national audition tour for the 88 positions in the orchestra and to be part of the NRO experience. They perform in Breckenridge, Colorado’s Riverwalk Center and additionally in Keystone, and Evergreen. The NRO provides the members of the orchestra with a tuition-free, intense, orchestral internship that combines performance of an extensive repertoire with coaching, master classes and career development instruction. Orchestra members receive room and board and also have the opportunity to earn performance and work-study stipends.

See More Past Events