National Repertory Orchestra awards 2015 Volunteer of the Year award |

National Repertory Orchestra awards 2015 Volunteer of the Year award

NRO Board of Trustees president Patrice Lara (left) and NRO CEO Douglas Adams (right) present Sandra Mortensen with the 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award.
Courtesy NRO |

The National Repertory (NRO) presented the annual Volunteer of the Year award to Sandy Mortensen. She was chosen for her many years of dedicated service in support of the NRO.

“Sandy’s unbridled energy and enthusiasm for life, coupled with her passion for the Orchestra’s mission, have resulted in an uncommon legacy of firsts that have benefited the Orchestra during her 17 years of involvement,” said Patrice Lara, president of NRO Board of Trustees, in a release. “Her brand of spirited support — whether volunteer or financial — has encouraged others to do the same, not only for the NRO but our community at large.”

Mortensen served as president of the Board in 2004 and 2005. During this time and with the help of Lou Wagner, Bob Follett and Sonny Wiegand, she convinced the Board to establish an Endowment Fund. In 2004, Sandy persuaded the town of Dillon to host the July 4th NRO concert at the Lake Dillon Amphitheater. This popular concert continues to draw more than 4000 people annually to Dillon to kick off their Fourth of July celebration.

Several years later, Sandy and Nancy Follett, with an assist from Mike Altenberg and Tom Rader, established the Sustainers group. The Sustainers are past board members and significant contributors to the NRO in time, talent and finances. Their role is to support the orchestra by raising awareness of its existence, provide a vehicle to stay connected to the organization, and have camaraderie with others having similar interests and goals in supporting the continuation of live orchestral music in the world. Mortensen continues to serve as chair of the Sustainer group today.

She also organized and served as facilitator for the NRO’s Visioning Workshops in 2011 and 2015. Her goal for the Visioning work sessions was to create a plan for improved continuity, consensus and consistency of focus with the orchestra as it plans for the future. This results in more effective recruitment of trustees as well as improved commitment from community members, grantors, benefactors and patrons.

In 2013, she was honored as a Patron of Distinction for exceptional foresight, fortitude and dedication. This honor was to recognize those who have played a key role in the creation of the NRO’s long and rich legacy.

“I try not to toot my horn but to just get things done,” she said. “I negotiated with Eric Mamula, the owner of Downstairs at Eric’s and the building that currently houses the NRO’s office, to switch office spaces with us. He took the NRO’s old office, we took his, and now we enjoy more space and windows.”

In 2003, head usher Paul Finkel and Mortensen bought the vests for the ushers who are still being used at concerts.

“The key to the National Repertory Orchestra’s success rests in people like Sandy, who embody the spirit of dedication to our mission of ‘Changing Lives Through Music,’” said Julie Chandler, director of marketing and development for the NRO, said in a release. “Words cannot convey our gratitude for her many contributions to the organization that has touched thousands of lives.”

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