2017 Colorado Symphony Ball


Even though winter returned to Colorado on Saturday night, spirits were high as patrons and guests gathered at the Fillmore Auditorium to celebrate The Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

The Colorado Symphony reprised their annual, smash-hit ball with a night of “Rock and Roll Royalty,” with performances by the Colorado Symphony and local rockers Tracksuit Wedding. Add an auction by Reggie Rivers and the Margaret Phipps Award for Philanthropy presented to Alexandra Elliott in memory of her husband John TM Wright, and you have a very memorable evening.

One of the leading orchestras in the United States, The Colorado Symphony performs more than 150 concerts annually at Boettcher Concert Hall in downtown Denver and across Colorado. Led by Music Director Designate Brett Mitchell, the Colorado Symphony is home to eighty full-time musicians, representing more than a dozen nations, and regularly welcomes the most celebrated artists from the world of symphonic music and beyond. Every season, the Colorado Symphony serves more than 250,000 people from all walks of life, performing a range of musical styles, from traditional to contemporary. Recognized as an incubator of innovation, creativity, and excellence, the Colorado Symphony continually expands its reach through education, outreach, and programming.

For more information, log on to www.coloradosymphony.org

L'Esprit De Noel 2016


It’s now official: it’s holiday season, even though it seems like it was just 4th of July a little while ago.

The Central City Opera Guild presents the L’Esprit De Noel kickoff party and home tour every year to usher in the Christmas mood and to support the Central City Opera. The Denver Country Club area was back for a repeat performance in offering beautiful homes and decor for patrons to marvel at for this year’s 40th anniversary event.

True to the pattern the past few years, the weather turned frigid, but that did not dampen the spirits of supporters and partygoers, who visited five houses on the L’Esprit De Noel tour just like adult trick or treaters. Guests ended up at Judith Newman-Bien’s house for this year’s reception and enjoyed good food and good company.

For more information about the homes on tour and the Central City Opera, visit https://centralcityopera.org/event/lesprit-de-noel-home-tour.



Aurora Mental Health Center's 10th Annual Student Art Contest


Hundreds attended the Aurora Mental Health Center’s 10th Annual “Living Life to to the Fullest” Student Art Contest and Show October 19 at the Crowne Plaza/Denver Airport. More than 20 awards were presented to students and teachers for their best artworks and contributions to students in the Aurora metro school district. Citywide Banks was the Awards Sponsor.

1st Place Winners
K-3     Lane Wegher, Drawing Makes Me Happy
4-6      Brynley Lane, Scout gives me Joy!
7-8     Celine Choi, The Journey of My Art
9-12     Vivienne Blanco, Unlocked

2nd Place Winners
K-3     Intellia Bowen, Mountain
4-6     Annie Nuetzel, Sunset Duet
7-8     Annabelle Smith-Daigle, The Future, Imperfect
9-12   Emma Brown, Ganz AIlein

Photography Winners
1st     Gerardo Aguilar, Gold Sky, 11th Grade, Aurora Central High
2nd     Christian Castaneda, Rose of Hope, 12th Grade, Aurora Central High

Holiday Card Selection
Olivia Nuetzel, Snowy Sky, 3rd Grade, High Plains Elementary

Teacher Recognitions
Mrs. Adams Eaglecrest High School
Mrs. Cahn Challenge School
Ms. Day Indian Ridge Elementary
Ms. Simpkins Strasburg Elementary
Ms. Abbott Aurora Central High School

Director’s Choice Award Winners
Ivy Hankins, Happiness is a Work of Art! 3rd High Plains Elementary  4-6
Mary Harris, Hello. It’s I, it’s me Mary 5th Independence Elementary  7-8
Gabrielle Driggs, The Joy of my life 7th Fox Ridge Middle School  9-12
Helen Kim, Rainy Days 10th Cherokee Trail High School

K-3     Anna Mugongo, JOY 11th Aurora Central High School


National Repertory Orchestra Gala: Carnaval Night in Rio


This year’s benefit Gala for the acclaimed National Repertory Orchestra titled “Carnaval Night in Rio” was held June 25 at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel with nearly 300 music-loving guests in attendance.


NRO Guests enjoy the Carnaval in Rio event held Saturday, June 25 at the Sheraton Downtown Denver

In recognition of the 2016 Olympics to be hosted in August in Rio de Janeiro, the dining and reception area featured a tropical theme executed by John Tobey Design and provided a colorful neon pastel spectrum of lights with palm trees and Rio’s legendary beachfront. Dancing entertainment was provided by Samba Colorado featuring Kebrina DeJesus and Jontae Piper.

Based in Breckenridge, Colorado, the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) is an intensive fellowship that attracts the best of the best from leading conservatories and music schools. Among this year’s sponsors are: MDC – Richmond American Foundation, Breckenridge Grand Vacations, Climax Molybdenum, First Western Trust.

Carnaval Event Chair Wendy King and Julie Chandler, NRO Director of Marketing and Development, were on hand with staff and volunteers as were NRO Music Director Carl Topilow, wife Shirley, and daughter Emily.

Reception P1070275 Reception

Guests enjoyed the silent auction

Welcoming guests were Orchestra CEO Doug Adams and wife, Pam, and several Board Members including President Patrice Lara, Nancy French, Janice Ward Parrish, Pam Wiegand, and Pam Piper Yeung. Also attending were long-time NRO supporters  Ernie and Sharon Magness Blake, Bonnie and David Mandarich, Lynn and Lisa Taussig, Karen Frisone, Steve and Carmen Wiest and many others.

Every year the NRO provides an opportunity for bright, young musicians to perfect their craft. Auditions are held for nearly 1,000 musicians between the ages of 18 and 29 in about 25 different cities across the country to fill the 88 tuition-free spots of the orchestra. Although few of the musicians have met or played together previously they quickly adapt and learn to play together in outstanding synchronicity as an orchestra.

During the eight-week season, NRO musicians perform more than two dozen concerts which is about the same as a full-time orchestra performs in a nine-month season. To review the this year’s season, purchase tickets, volunteer or to get more information visit the NRO web site at www.nromusic.com


Second Annual Colorado Ballet Golf Tournament


Anyone for golf?

It was a picture-perfect day for golfing at the Lakewood Country Club. Lunch was served before the 1:30 shotgun tee-off, offering an appealing array of cold cuts, artesian bread, cheeses, veggies, assortment of salads and yummy homemade cookies and brownies to die for. The bar was open however on this hottest day of the year lemonade, iced tea and water were the drinks of choice. Besides, a Maserati, Fiat, Infinity, Alfa Romeo was within driving reach to the person with the first hole-in-one in the tournament. And, all golfers know to keep their heads about them. There’s always the 19th Hole.

This year’s tournament honored the Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs, who is currently in his 10th season with the Company.  Boggs was a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and was the former Academy Director of Chelsea Piers Golf Club in New York City.

“This is the second year of the tournament, which raises money for Colorado Ballet’s professional Company, Academy and Education and Community Engagement programs,” said Colorado Ballet Corporate Development Officer Susan Stiff.  “We decided to honor Boggs with this tournament because he has a passion for golf and during his tenure, Colorado Ballet has flourished, with record-breaking ticket sales seasons, a new home and an outstanding artistic product that rivals some of the best professional dance companies in the U.S.”

Established in 1961 by Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker, Colorado Ballet is a non-profit organization celebrating 55 years of presenting world-class classical ballet and superior dance in Denver. Colorado Ballet presents more than 50 performances annually and enhances the cultural life of Colorado. Visit www.coloradoballet.org.

Colorado Symphony Ball: Battle of the Bands Rematch


The Battle of the Bands returned at the 2016 Colorado Symphony Ball, but actually everybody won on Saturday night.

The crowd continued to carry forth the tradition of the “Bach to Rock” theme, sporting t-shirts and bow ties, gowns and leather, and just plain zany outfits sprinkled in.

Libby Anschutz, with her band Tracksuit Wedding, was one of the contenders, along with serving as co-chair with bandmate and longtime friend Ali Pashel Frankfurt. The DaVita Blues All Stars gave them a run for the votes, with Tracksuit Wedding prevailing after lots of jammin’ and rockin’ and crowd-pleasing numbers from both, playing with members of the CSO.

Mike and Michelle Fries were recognized as the recipients of the 2016 Margaret Phipps Award.

In the end, approximately $1 million was raised for Colorado Symphony programs, which continue to be more and more creative and passionate under the steady leadership of Board Co-Chairs Jerry and Mary Rossick Kern. The Symphony performed over 150 times in 2015 with an expanded and diversified repertoire to appeal to people of all ages and many different tastes. Educational programs were expanded, with activities for a wide array of participants from preschool to senior citizens.

To learn more about the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, log on to coloradosymphony.org.

Colorado Ballet's Queen of Hearts Ball


On a picture perfect Thursday night, guests were brought into the world of Lewis Carroll at the Ellie Caulkins House. In the middle of the Colorado Ballet’s sold out run of Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts Ball balanced imagination with formality.

Upon arrival, guests were greeted by The Playing Cards and the Mad Hatter himself, past Cherry Hills Village Mayor Doug Tisdale. An array of beautiful auction items, libations/hors d’oeuvres and company awaited guests as they mingled throughout the Caulkins House lobby.

Guests were then escorted into the theatre for a snippet of the Alice and Wonderland performance. Colorado Ballet’s Artistic Director Gil Boggs welcome the crowd thanking the sponsors, event chairs, and committee members. Also honored were two 20-year performers of the Colorado Ballet. Mr. Boggs then brought out the emcee for the evening, Kim Christiansen of 9News. After some additional thanks and announcements, Kim Christiansen brought out the night’s featured entertainer, Tony Award nominee and crooner Tom Wopat. The former Duke of Hazzard and Cybill star performed a series of standard classics.

Afterwards, guests descended the stairs to Kevin Taylor’s restaurant, where a wonderful three-course dinner including wine was consumed with glee. The silent auction continued and there was more entertainment, including magic.

Far from being down the Rabbit Hole, this was a wonderful night!

Live! at the Rainbow Room


Back to the Future for Young Musicians

Changing Lives Through Music

Yes, it is 2015 in Denver, not New York City in the 1930’s. This night there were no sightings of the glamorous Joan Crawford or Rosalind Russell. Definitely no sightings of TMZer’s Brad & Angelina, Anthony Bourdain, or Meg Ryan at Denver’s Rainbow Room Friday night. But boyoboy, did it feel like an authentic celebrity setting where celebs were likely to meet.

The Seawell Ballroom was magically transformed by John Tobey Designs into a glittering 65th floor supper club at 30 Rockefeller Center, NYC. The Denver Rainbow staff saw that the champagne flowed and guests enjoyed fine morsels of Angus tenderloin and freshly caught rocky mountain trout. It was an evening dedicated to beautiful, culturally astute people. The well-coiffed and well-healed individuals visiting from Switzerland to Vail to Houston to Denver were at the Seawell Ballroom, i.e., Rainbow Room, to support the National Repertory Orchestra.

For more than 50 years, the National Repertory Orchestra has played an important role in preparing young musicians for careers in the orchestra world, while delivering outstanding musical performances for residents and visitors in Summit County. The NRO provides a unique opportunity for young musicians to gather invaluable experience playing a broad variety of orchestral works during each summer season, led by world-renowned guest conductors. In addition, the NRO also prepares these talented young people with real-world insights into today’s opportunities and responsibilities for symphony musicians. The National Repertory Orchestra changes the lives of young musicians.

The evening was enchanting as Carl Topilow led his 88 piece orchestra of fresh faced, talented young adults. The repertoire of the evening included a piece,”Luminosity,” composed by a former NRO musician, Anthony Di Lorenzo, a Concerto for Harp & Orchestra, Op.25,  by Alberto Ginastera, and The Three-Cornered Hat, Manuel de Falla. Finally, the guests danced to the tunes of the big band era.

The silent and live auction guaranteed, once again, that this wonderful musical experience stays alive for talented musicians each summer. Guests couldn’t resist bidding higher for the Epicurean Culinary Experience or, an original painting of your home by Betsy Johnson Welty. Pamela Adams wore the exquisite necklace from Trice Jewelers and, the bidding went over the mountain when the highest bidder won a chance to conduct the NRO orchestra.

To become a part of this musical experience or receive information on the National Repertory Orchestra’s summer concert dates call 970-453-5825. NROMusic.com.




CSO's Beethoven and Brews a Tasty Duet


Whether guests were hardcore classical music-lovers or just in it for the beer, Beethoven and Brews was a tasty evening for all at the Magnolia Hotel on Friday, Sept. 27.The Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s inaugural beer sampling-plus successfully featured the stellar talents of pianist Michael Tilley and violinist John Hilton, flavored with beers from Wynkoop Brewing Company.

More than 100 music-and-hops fans were treated to a professional performance in a relaxed atmosphere, featuring Beethoven’s Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96, also known as “The Cockcrow.” Hilton served as genial host, telling the crowd that a subito (meaning suddenly or immediately) moment in the music was good for a drink, and everyone was delighted that the piece contained plenty of opportunities for imbibing.

(l to r): Jackson Stevens, Michael Tilley and John Hilton

(l to r): Jackson Stevens, Michael Tilley and John Hilton

Event coordinator Jackson Stevens, CSO’s individual giving associate and instrumental in the creation of the event, introduced the musicians and encouraged the crowd to enjoy the brews, as well as the food provided by the Magnolia. Guests were able to meet the musicians post-performance, as people lingered in the convivial atmosphere. Tickets are available for upcoming Friday-evening Beethoven and Brews events scheduled on Nov. 8, and also in 2014 on Feb. 7 and May 9. (For complete information, go to: http://coloradosymphony.org/your-support/beethoven-and-brews/).

The region’s only full-time professional orchestra, the Colorado Symphony embraces a tradition of musical excellence by presenting a diverse array of symphonic performances throughout the year. Originally established in 1989 as the successor to the Denver Symphony, the Colorado Symphony thrives on a spirit of collaboration among musicians, staff, trustees and the community. The Colorado Symphony performs in Boettcher Concert Hall and On Location throughout the state and region utilizing small ensembles to the full-sized orchestra. Programs include expanded education and outreach initiatives, as well as Masterworks, Pops, Holiday, Family, Inside the Score and Symphony on the Rocks series that have attracted an ever increasing level of concertgoers. By presenting music that is both timeless and inspiring, while taking risks with new musical collaborations and interactive concerts, the Colorado Symphony is committed to reaching global audiences with the use of state-of-the-art digital media via live streaming and concert downloads. To learn more about donation opportunities, please visit: http://coloradosymphony.org/your-support/.

Colorado Symphony’s 2013-2014 Masterworks Series Opening Party


Supporters of the Colorado Symphony enjoyed a champagne and dessert reception at the EDGE Restaurant and Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver following the opening night of the 2013-14 Masterworks Series. Renowned three-time Grammy Award winning saxophonist and composer Branford Marsalis, along with the Colorado Symphony Music Director Andrew Litton, opened the season with a performance at Boettcher Concert Hall. Immediately following the show, symphony donors headed to the Four Seasons for an opening night reception. Guests enjoyed desserts and cocktails and mingled with Marsalis, Litton and many of the symphony’s musicians.

Grammy winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis

Grammy winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis

The Colorado Symphony performs more than 150 concerts during its regular season at
Boettcher Concert Hall and on location throughout the state and region. 2013/14 season
highlights include appearances by virtuoso violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell, and
classical pianists Natasha Paremski and Stephen Hough. This season’s Pops and Classic Rock series feature rock greats, iconic film scores and Broadway blockbusters. The Holiday, Family and Inside the Score series offer musical favorites, captivating collaborations and interactive concerts for music lovers of all ages.

National Repertory Orchestra's Fifty Shades of Fabulous 2013 Gala


On the first day of summer June 21 in downtown Denver with temps reaching the mid-80s what better way to cool off than to reminisce over a snowy sleigh ride?

That’s maybe what Anna Maglione Sie had in mind when she took the baton and conducted the 88-piece National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) at the Hyatt Regency Hotel’s Capitol Ballroom as part of the orchestra’s annual gala.

Sie won conducting duties of the popular Christmas tune “Sleigh Ride” as part of a live auction benefit. She was followed by an energetic and animated Pamela Gray conducting Rossini’s “Overture to William Tell,” the popular galloping horses music best known as the theme for The Lone Ranger TV shows.

Winning an auction bid to conduct a real, live orchestra in front of 350 guests one of many highlights of the NRO Gala, one of several fundraisers for the Breckenridge-based non-profit that supports classical musical training for the world’s best young classical musicians. This year a record breaking 800 student musicians auditioned for the coveted 89-positions to be invited to play for eight weeks with the orchestra.

The gala theme “Fifty Shades of Fabulous!” had more to do with some fashion, silliness and goofy glasses than the steamy bestselling novel, explained Gala Chair Rita Bergman. And in keeping with this theme guests and the orchestra wore outrageously flamboyant shades while dining tables were decorated with ornate and customized lamp shades that could be purchased in support of a good cause.

Now in its 54th season, the NRO launched it’s new logo and web site last summer with a positive reception. And, thanks to generous support from Honorary Chairs Sharon Magness Blake & Ernie Blake the glamour and glitter and outstanding musical performances went off without a hitch. Among guests and donors were Breckenridge Mayor John Warner and his wife, Carre; Bonnie and David Mandarich; Robert Katz and Elana Amsterdam; Barbara and James Calvin; Nancy and Bob Follett; Rick Poppe and Jana Edwards; Nancy and Tom French; Joan Houlton; Kate and Jim Taucher; Janice Ward Parrish; NRO Board President Barbara Vonderheid; and some 24 long-time sustainers including Mike Altenberg, Libby Bortz, Gretchen and John Swift, Geri CohenPamela and Reggie Gray, and many more donors, volunteers and coordinators.

At the cocktail reception and silent auction NRO CEO/COO Douglas Adams, wife Pamela, and Marketing & Development Director Julie Chandler welcomed guests and donors while office staff Cecile Forsberg, Director of Artistic & Operations Director; Kathleen Clabby, Development Associate; and Office Manager Christina McNally and other volunteers coordinated behind the scenes silent auction and dinner preparations.

After dinner board member Patrice Lara took the podium to announce a salute to Patrons of Distinction, some three dozen long-time symphony donors and supporters who have kept the NRO thriving over the years. After the presentation, student musicians streamed quickly into the ballroom and took their positions on stage.

Emcee Greg Dobbs and Music Director and Conductor Carl Topilow— now more than 30 years with the orchestra–directed the live auctions and musical program featuring Summon the Heroes by John Williams and Conga del Fuego Nuevo by Arturo Marquez. A special treat was a violin solo performed by Hugh Palmer of Henri Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concert No 5 in A Minor, opus 37. The event wound down with a ballroom dance featuring the orchestra with conductor Topilow playing his trademark red clarinet.

Corporate and individual funding from this and many other annual events help the NRO fund audition tours, musician housing, food, cost of promoting and producing concerts, career prospective programs and education and community engagement program training. The organization represents a global perspective with musicians representing eight countries and 23 states. During the eight-week season, the young student musicians perform some 30 events including ticketed season concerts and free community events.

For more information call the NRO at 970-453-5825 or visit the symphony online at www.nromusic.com