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NRO concert sells out

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news

The National Repertory Orchestra is taking a slightly different approach to increasing revenue, and so far, it seems to be working.

Its latest winter event, a concert featuring NRO concertmaster violinist Oscar Soler and harpist Rosalie Gilbert, sold out 110 seats two weeks before the Saturday show. Of course, it helps that the $25 ticket includes appetizers, wine, dessert and coffee – plus fabulous musicians – but that’s not the only thing drawing crowds.

The Friends of the NRO have been instrumental in drumming up interest in the organization, which has built a reputation as one of the preeminent summer music fellowships for aspiring professional orchestral musicians. Barbara Calvin started Friends last year, when she invited a group of people to her home to discuss the possibilities. Last October, Friends began hosting monthly events, from wine pairing dinners to concerts – and they’ve been going strong ever since.

“Friends of the NRO is growing in terms of actively reaching out to residents and second homeowners to get involved through support, and as a social outlet,” said NRO executive director Ken Toltz.

Annette Fricke chaired this Saturday’s concert and enticed more than 30 volunteers to help with things like making appetizers and desserts.

“From the friends she invited, (the seats) were just about filled,” said Julie Chandler, NRO director of development.

And the fact that Soler is returning to perform in Summit County didn’t hurt.

“Everyone fell in love with him last summer – his talent, energy and exuberance,” Chandler said.

Another part of the NRO’s strategy to increase ticket sales involves scheduling concerts throughout the county. Traditionally, the orchestra has traveled to Keystone and Evergreen to perform a concert or two, but the NRO has not offered winter concerts and events outside of Breckenridge. This Saturday’s concert takes place at Keystone Center.

“One of the things that we’re trying to do is market the NRO to all of Summit County, because we’re the whole county’s orchestra – that’s how we feel about it,” Chandler said.

The popularity of the fall dinners and this month’s concert “has been a good sign that people are responding,” Toltz said.

Toltz plans to help continue to expand the NRO’s vision of growth.

“In this environment, organizations – whether they’re in the performing arts or in other areas of the arts community – we’re really called upon to come up with ways to grow our audience through innovation and creative measures,” Toltz said. “(With) my own personal background, I’m taking an organization that has already done a great job in building awareness and needs to develop a larger audience so we can thrive for years to come.”


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