Tim Parsons
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

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January 11, 2012
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Toccata steps in to save Mark Twain Cultural Center

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Drama was part of what was featured at the Mark Twain Cultural Center, which concluded its lifespan at the Village Center in Incline Village in most dramatic fashion.

Economical feasibility during wintertime was unsuccessful, and the venue’s co-proprietor, Twain impersonator McAvoy Layne, said farewell onstage Dec. 30, before presenting a special guest.

James Rawie announced his nonprofit, Toccata, the Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, would assume the lease and continue to hold cultural events.

Later in the evening, a woman donated a Boston Baby Grande Piano to the venue, now called the Incline Performing Arts Theater.

Earlier, Layne came up with the idea Toccata would be an ideal host, and his notion was published in Lake Tahoe Action.

“I didn’t even know he had suggested Toccata would take over,” Rawie said. “It was just sort of a wish they had.”

The center’s property manager, Art Hoff, then made Toccata a lease offer that “was too good to be true,” Rawie said.

“I saw it as a working theater which could be used for music events,” Rawie said. “The layout is so darned cute. I imagined a decent piano.”

The piano arrived Tuesday. It was donated by the owner of Hagen Heights Vineyards in Napa, Diane Smith, who happened to attend Dec. 30.

And in a second very welcome surprise, Toccata announced in a press release that a grant from the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation would help reduce the costs of admission to Toccata concerts for young people.

Combining Parasol’s donation with matching funds from the Kling Family Foundation, Toccata will allow all students 18 years of age or under to attend all regular season concerts at no charge. Full time students ages 19-25 will only pay $5 for all regular season concerts.

The venue has a beer and wine license and is available for people to rent for events.

The first event at the Incline Performing Arts Theater will be a free piano recital at 3 p.m. Sunday by Eric Kao, the young pianist who last summer performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2 with Toccata. Vocal soloist Joy Strotz will join Kao for Broadway tunes and opera arias.

The venue is in the far corner of the Village Center, 760 Mays Blvd #10 in Incline Village.

For information, visit www.ToccataTahoe.com, call 775-313-9697, or email ToccataTahoe@gmail.com.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 11, 2012 03:01PM Published Jan 11, 2012 02:55PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.