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June 23, 2007 - NRO: " I Could Have Danced All Night"

What: Summer Gala for the National Repertory Orchestra

Where: Donald R. Seawell Ballroom, Denver Performing Arts Center

When: June 23, 2007

Time: 6 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $175 per person

Beneficiary: programs of the NRO

Master of Ceremonies: Gregg Moss

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

Founders: Walter Charles

Executive Director: Kerry Farrell

Committee Members: Sharon Magness Blake, Suzy Witzler, Pam Gray, Reggie Gray, Connie Gruber, Bonnie Kirschenbaum, Sandy Mortensen, Jim Taucher, Kate Taucher, Ann Brewster

Staff: Kerry Farrell, Executive Director; Carl Topilow, Music Director; Connie Gruber, Business and Development Manager; Karen Mason, Marketing and PR Manager; Jessie Arian, Artistic and Operations Manager; Bethany Borel, Development Administrative Assistant; Johanna Alperin, Marketing Production Assistant

Catering: Epicurean Catering

Entertainment: Lee Greenwood

Music: National Repertory Orchestra

Sponsors: GOLD SPONSOR: Ernie and Sharon Magness Blake; CORPORATE TABLES: Colorado Railcar Manufacturing, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Grand Timber Lodge, ISU Insurance Services, Maryland Creek Ranch, Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate, Vail Resorts, Wells Fargo; PATRON TABLES: Jim and Barbara Colvin, Bob and Nancy Follett, Reggie and Pam Gray, Lee and Peg Henry, Lou Wagner and Sandy Mortensen, Jim and Kate Taucher, Cap and Suzy Witzler

Quote of the evening: "There should be an American Idol for musicians, and these members of the NRO would all win."--Lee Greenwood

Menu: Perlini Caprese salad accented with shrimp and lobster salad, slow roasted whole Cornish game hen stuffed with wild rice and glazed with an orange thyme sauce, chocolate turtle cheesecake

Attendance: 350

Attire: Black tie preferred

Special Thanks: Barbara Greene, invitations

Florist: Bouquets

Event Coordinator: Pam Aten, Aten & Associates, LLC

Board of Directors: Reginald Gray, President; Ron Bristol, Vice President; JulieAnne Cobb, Treasurer; Gerald Fricke, Secretary; Carl Topilow, Music Director; Kerry Farrell, Executive Director; Ann Brewster; Bruce Horii; Anthony C. Jones; Bonnie Kirschenbaum; Jim Taucher; Kate Taucher; Pam Wiegand

Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress

 Entertainer Lee Greenwood with his friends, co-chair Sharon Magness Blake and Ernie Blake
Entertainer Lee Greenwood with his friends, co-chair Sharon Magness Blake and Ernie Blake

The hills were alive with the sound of music as the members of the National Repertory Orchestra performed for more than 350 supporters at the Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom on a beautiful summer evening June 23.

The expanse of the hills filling the viewpoint from the panoramic ballroom was perfectly matched with the melodious sounds of the instruments of the 89 students who comprise the orchestra, rivaling any national orchestra group in talent and presentation.

Chairwomen Sharon Magness Blake and Suzy Witzler mingled and welcomed guests and thanked them for their support prior to the start of the program. Well-heeled guests from both the front range and the NRO's home, Breckenridge and Summit County greeted one another with smiles and cordiality.

Attendees enjoyed a cornish game hen dish expertly prepared by Epicurean Catering and then listened to masterpieces by the orchestra, conducted for the past 30 years by Carl Topilow, seguing into a wonderful performance by Lee Greenwood.

Greenwood sang some heartfelt melodies and when he began his signature song "God Bless the USA," the crowd stood in tribute to the members of our military. "I sat next to a Marine on the plane on the way out here," said Greenwood in prefacing his song. "He was on his way to see his pregnant wife, but will not be back to see his family until his child is two years old." In that moment, people from all walks of life in the room came together as one, humbled before the commitment and dedication of those who put their lives on the line for our freedom.

Following a live auction conducted by emcee Gregg Moss, guests enjoyed the remainder of the entrancing evening, listening and dancing to the wonderful music of the NRO as the sun set and the stars sparkled in the skies surrounding the ballroom.

Founded in 1960 by the late Walter Charles, the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) performs in residence at the Riverwalk Center in the heart of Breckenridge. Originally the Blue Jeans Symphony in Estes Park, CO, the orchestra moved to Evergreen, CO in 1966 and changed its name to the Colorado Philharmonic. In 1986, the orchestra relocated to Keystone Resort and changed its name to the National Repertory Orchestra in an effort to better recognize the national/international make-up of its musicians. In 1992, based upon proposals by the Town of Breckenridge, the NRO chose Breckenridge as its new home. Upon moving, the NRO joined the Breckenridge Music Institute Orchestra (BMI) to produce the Breckenridge Music Festival.

The mission of the NRO is to provide a professional orchestral experience for young musicians through an intense eight-week internship, and to help preserve and perpetuate the quality of symphonic music in America by assisting their transition into professional orchestral positions. For those selected from the 2007 auditions, the NRO provides a tuition-free, intense, orchestral internship that combines performance of an extensive repertoire with coaching, master classes and career development instruction. For more information, log on to

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