Mayormente indeed: Toccata closes out season with Mozart’s best |

Mayormente indeed: Toccata closes out season with Mozart’s best

Tim Parsons

Toccata possibly saved its best for last this summer.

A 9/11 Memorial Concert concludes the Mayormente Mozart Music Festival. Mozart’s “Requiem” will be featured.

“This is probably his greatest and well-known piece,” said James Rawie, the artistic director and conductor of Toccata — The Orchestra and Community Choral Artists of the Tahoe Area.

Great news for music fans is that there will be an encore. The summer series, which was expanded this summer to include South Lake Tahoe, has been a success. At least 18 concerts for next season are already in the works with a third of them to be performed at South Shore.

Fire, police and all emergency responders, including ski patrollers, are invited free of charge to the three 9/11 Memorial Concerts. South Lake Tahoe’s performance will be Sunday, Sept. 9 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Theresa Church. There also are concerts Sept. 7 at St. Patrick’s Church in Incline Village and Reno’s Trinity Church on Sept. 11.

“The concept is to honor the victims but we also are trying to reach out even more to the community,” Rawie said. “We’re inviting any of the first responders. We’re going to let them in free, and any of the first responders who come in uniform we’re going to give them front row seating. We want to welcome them and honor them. Even though we lost 254 homes, who knows how many they saved?”

Organist David Brock of Stateline said “Requiem” is an appropriate selection.

“It’s a beautiful orchestral and symphonic choral work,” he said. “Its one of the core choral works in the repertoire of the centuries and well deserving of a remembrance.”

Mozart called the organ the king of instruments because it has a wider range of sound and volume than any instrument in an orchestra. So it was also a natural choice that, for the third time this summer, Brock will be the featured soloist in a concerto.

In an overture, Brock will be accompanied by the orchestra for Handel Organ Concerto Opus 4, No. 5, one of George Frideric Handel’s shortest concertos.

A second overture, or opening performance to “Requiem,” will be Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.

“St. Theresa offers a wonderful experience for the audience because of the size and resonance of the room,” Brock said. “It’s much preferred over working with the acoustics of a theater. The ambiance provides a better sonic finish to the sound than theaters and places designed for amplified sound. They put stage curtains up and deaden the sound. That’s not what you want for these types of works. You need a naturally reverberate environment with no amplification.”

The size of St. Theresa Church is the key factor in Toccata’s South Shore success. The two highest-attended shows this year were orchestral concerts at St. Theresa, outdrawing venues at greater-populated Reno and the founding church at Incline Village.

“The stage is a slate, stone floor, the acoustics are excellent and we’ve got so much space to move around that it fits our organization the best,” said Rawie, who learned this summer how to go about next year.

“We want to see about avoiding conflicts with Saturday barbecues,” he said. “We found that Saturday concerts don’t workaround a vacation population.”

Reno’s Trinity Church, doubtless a favorite of Brock’s because of its Casavant pipe organ, the largest in Northern Nevada, has been well attended on Friday nights.

Rawie is considering a Monday night series at St. Theresa. He also is looking at alternating Sunday afternoon shows at St. Theresa and Incline’s St. Patrick’s.

The Valhalla Boathouse has also been a South Lake Tahoe venue for the Mayormente series.

In the fall, Rawie conducts a 10-week series in Puerto Rico. He’ll return for Toccata in early January for the Messiah, which is performed at all three churches, then Jan 24-27 for Basically Baroque.

It was at last year’s Messiah where South Shore really became a major Toccata player. About 20 singers from the Tahoe Choir contributed.

“Now we’re plugged into collaborating with the two biggest and best choirs on the lake; Sierra Nevada College and Linda Mitchell’s Tahoe Choir,” Rawie said. “That’s been a big break for us because once you get local singers, you get local support and more people want to come. It’s a symbiotic relationship because we work when they’re not working and they’re happy to get to do pieces with an orchestra.”

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