Every summer, local first responders and a select pair of nonprofits receive support

It was 2017 and Dave DePeters was in the midst of his first season as Chief Executive Officer at the National Repertory Orchestra. A wildfire was raging on Peak 7 and several others were ablaze elsewhere in Colorado and across the West. Luckily, the Breckenridge fire didn’t do too much damage. Thanks to the valiant efforts of firefighters and emergency response, nobody lost their home.

That’s when it struck DePeters that he wanted to organize a benefit concert for first responders.

“We felt strongly that we needed to give a ‘thank you’ concert for people who saved our homes and lives and worked hard to preserve our town and community,” DePeters says.  “We talked to the firefighters and police and invited them to the concert, and got Summit County’s nonprofit rescue groups involved. We wanted to raise money for them. It was a great success.”

The local first responders – Summit County Rescue Group, Summit County Animal Control, Flight for Life, High Country Training Center, Summit County Water Rescue Team and Wildland Firefighter Foundation – have been beneficiaries of the NRO ‘hero’ concert every year since.

“We really appreciate the support,” says Ben Butler of Summit Rescue Group. “Last year was the first concert I personally went to. Being able to speak to concertgoers about how we get deployed and how our organization works is great for raising awareness. Everybody I work with is so humble about what they do. We love being a part of our community in their moments of need. We love what we do.”

After that first year, the NRO added two more nonprofits to its concert beneficiary program. Different organizations are selected every season in alignment with the NRO’s seasonal theme. This summer, coinciding with the NRO’s “Elements of Nature” theme, High Country Conservation Center (HC3) and Project Healing Waters will join the first responders as concert beneficiaries.

“We thought HC3 was a great fit. They’re doing so much here in the county to help our natural environment. We were honored to have won HC3’s Rookie of the Year award for our own conservation and sustainability efforts,” DePeters says. “Project Healing Waters also does amazing work, offering healing flyfishing programs to veterans and military personnel. They’re all about conservation of water and we are very water-conscious here in the high country. With this in mind, we created our Adopt a River project this summer, cleaning up the Blue River in town. We feel that the community gives a great deal to the NRO and we really want to give back to our community in turn. We try to do that not only through our own programming, but also by bringing awareness to other nonprofit organizations we want the community to support.”

A percentage of proceeds from the three beneficiary concerts this summer will support Summit County first responders, HC3, and Project Healing Waters. Butler says that the Rescue Group proceeds will go toward funding the organization’s new indoor training center in Frisco, where volunteers can practice rope work and various skills year-round, improving their deployment protocol and rescue success.

Mark your calendars for the following beneficiary concert dates:

July 10: Earth, Fire and Water – benefits Summit County first responders

July 27: Britten’s Storm and Tchaikovsky’s Strings – benefits HC3

Aug. 3: Robert Moody conducts Sibelius – benefits Project Healing Waters


Photo: First responders benefit concert in August 2023. By Elaine Collins.