NRO Welcomes Back Production Manager

Darrin BlumeDarrin Blume is looking forward to his second year as the Production Manager with the National Repertory Orchestra. After graduating college with a saxophone performance degree, he auditioned and took a job with the First US Army Band performing on multiple woodwind instruments. He served in Korea and returned from overseas to take a position with the US Army Field Band.  While serving in this organization, he managed military ceremonies, scheduled educational outreach and handled all details for national and international concert tours for multiple performing ensembles. Darrin continued his education earing a Master of Science in Information Resource Management.


Darrin retired from Army with the rank of Sergeant Major in 2015. Upon retirement, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.  Darrin enjoys an active lifestyle which includes hiking, boating, fishing and performing. He resides in Severna Park, Maryland.

Grace Nakano Appointed Assistant Concertmaster

grace-nakano-croppedViolinist Grace Nakano, NRO 2015 and 2016, was appointed the assistant concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony shortly after returning home from Breckenridge in October 2016.

 A native of Japan, Grace received her Master of Music in classical performance from the Manhattan School of Music with Lucie Robert and Bachelor of Music from Boston University with Bayla Keyes. She was a recipient of the Fine Arts Award at the Interlochen Arts Academy with Hal Grossman. She was also the first prize winner of the Duxbury Music Festival Chamber Competition in 2012.

Prior to joining the Tucson Symphony as assistant concertmaster, Grace was the assistant concertmaster of the National Repertory Orchestra, where she soloed with the orchestra in 2015.  She says, “My experiences at NRO gave me confidence and insight into the professional world by learning and performing orchestral repertoire at a rapid pace and high level. I still dream about the beauty of Breckenridge and feel extremely grateful for the opportunities I received during my 2 summers at NRO. Thanks to Carl Topilow for believing in me. [without him] I would not be where I am today.” 

 Grace was an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in 2013, acting principal 2nd for the YMF Debut Orchestra from 2013-2016, and first violin member of the American Youth Symphony 2013-2016 and the Young Artists Symphony Orchestra 2015-2016 in Los Angeles. Grace was also principal 2nd for the Dream Orchestra in Los Angeles. She has also participated in festivals, including the National Orchestral Institute, Round Top Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and the Spoleto Festival USA.