This year’s National Repertory Orchestra 2014 Gala focused on “Reaching for the Gold,” an Olympic theme that was felt throughout the evening at the DCPA Seawell Ballroom, held June 27 in downtown Denver.

Honorary Chairs were Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Sharon Magness Blake and Ernie Blake who were celebrating their wedding anniversary. Gala Chair Debbie Welle-Powell kept things flowing on track along with NRO senior staff, board and volunteers.

As part of the Olympic theme, several athletes attended. Paralympic snowboarder Keith Gabel, Olympic gold medalist speedskater Joey Cheek, NRO Music Director/Conductor Carl Topilow, paralympic alpine skier and Team USA’s 2014 Olympic Opening Cermony flag bearer Jon Lujan, and NRO Board President Barbara Vonderheid proudly displayed the U.S. flag before the program. Besides Vonderheid, this year’s NRO board leadership is represented by Secretary Nancy French, Treasurer Kyle Richardson, Past President Kate Taucher as well as Libby Bortz, Barbara Calvin, Dennis Dineen, John Hayes, Patrice Lara, Janice Parrish, Rick Poppe, and Linda Shea.

The orchestra started the program by playing John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare,” the long-time official musicial theme for summer and winter Olympic games. Emcee Greg Dobbs encouraged auction bidding and introducedĀ NRO President Barbara Vonderheid and NRO Executive Director Doug Adams who recognized Music Director Carl Topilow, the orchestra, and donors.

Dobbs also recognized gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and wife, Claudia, as well as Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman and other long-time NRO benefactors.

Governor Hickenlooper took the podium and thanked more than 400 guests for their continued commitment and passion for building arts in Colorado. Special thanks went to this year’s sponsors: First Western, 1st Bank, Cigna, Craig Hospital, ISU, Vonderheid & Associates, Colorado Mountain College, Cottrell Printing, Breckenridge Grand Vacations, Wells Fargo Advisors, Lamont School of Music, Lumeris, Western Union, Climax Molybdenum, Kaiser Permanente, and videographer Gary Kilner.

The NRO’s misstion statement “Changing Lives Through Music!” rings true when listening to the precision and synchronicity of some 40 young musicians who just a few months ago had not met or even played together. Each year top young musician students from leading conservatories and music schools from throughout the world are selected for the program based in Breckenridge, Colorado. The National Repertory Orchestra is a preeminent intensive fellowship that prepares musicians for orchestral music careers while also providing the highest-level of musical experience for a wide variety of audiences and supporters. For more information visit