Josue can you see |

Josue can you see

Linda Bottjer

Strotz Photography Puerto Rician flutist Josue Casillas plays with Toccata for "Baroque to Broadway" at Incline Village, South Lake Tahoe and Reno.

Trust Toccata to add sparkle to this star spangled weekend from Incline Village to South Shore.

First, the audience helps kick off the sixth annual 21-concert 2011 Big Blue Summer MusicFest by singing the National Anthem along with members of Toccata’s orchestra and chorale under the direction of Maestro James Rawie.

Second, a Puerto Rican Pied Piper returns to the Lake Tahoe Basin to gather music lovers for the Baroque to Broadway concert series, beginning Saturday, July 2,

Audiences have appreciated the talents of acclaimed flutist Josue Casillas when combined with the multiple stellar ones on Toccata. Casillas has appeared several times, beginning with his inaugural Tahoe concert in 2006.

“He is a complete joy to work with,” Rawie said.

That inner euphoria erupts and spills from him even during a phone interview. Despite the honors and fame he remains the son of plantain and orange farmers from Bayamon. The ethics of hard word were instilled young, as was the comfort of his family and church both of which provided music to his life.

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He began playing the flute as a child adding to his skills as an accordion player. At age 15 his future welded itself to the present when classical music was heard for the first time. The effect was immediate.

“The same intensity came as when I first picked up the flute,” Casillas said.

The principal flutist of the island’s Symphony Orchestra and professor at the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico is a busy man, but always excited to spread the power the music especially that composed from the early 17th through the mid-18th century offers.

“Baroque music makes better brains,” said the honoree of the Cleveland Institute of Music. “You are smarter and more alive from listening to it.”

The concerts, including those on Sunday and Tuesday, will feature Casillas on the airy and buoyant “Flute Concerto in D minor WQ. 22” by German-born C.P.E. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Piccolo in C major Rv. 443” written in Venice, Italy.

Such influences have inspired Casillas as he has traveled the world during his studies and career.

The CIM proved more than just a place to work with world-class artists and gather his degrees. Awarded with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra his professional musical path traveled across this country, Central and South America and Europe.

The mid-90s found Casillas as an intern with the Houston Symphony Orchestra and working for his Master’s at Rice University. His chocked-full Texas tenure eventually included serving five years as the orchestra’s principal flutist.

Aside from his current concert and educational work he also serves as an artist for Miyazawa Flutes – his instrument of choice.

“Miya” in Japanese means “beauty” and “eternal.” Combined with Casillases view that Lake Tahoe’s beauty “makes people relax and appreciate the music,” tells audience members a special evening awaits.

Along with the Baroque portion Rawie will lead the Toccata chorus and vocal soloists Anna Helwing, Joy Strotz and Stuart Duke, through rousing spirituals and Broadway show tunes and finish with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America the Beautiful.”

Toccata brings America’s vast melting pot of artistic seasonings to a boil.