The sound of voices to fill Deer Valley
July 20, 2011
Sofia von Trapp, the great-granddaughter of Capt. Georg von Trapp, who was immortalized in the musical "The Sound of Music," said she and her siblings, Melanie, Amanda and Justin, didn’t feel pressured into following their famous ancestors into music.
"Actually, our parents can’t sing at all, so singing wasn’t a big part of our family growing up," von Trapp said with a laugh during an interview with The Park Record. "The four of us just loved to sing."
Their mother Annie, after seeing how much joy music brought to her four children, took put them into a choir and they’ve been singing together ever since.
The von Trapp Children will perform with the Utah Symphony at the Snow Park Amphitheatre during the Deer Valley Music Festival on Friday, July 22.
The quartet will sing many songs from "Sound of Music," such as "Do Re Mi," "My Favorite Things," "Edelweiss" and "Climb Every Mountain," but also some personal favorites such as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," von Trapp said.
"We always sang that in the car and just decided it would be fun to make an arrangement to sing in our show," she said. "Another song called ‘J’entends le Moulin’ was sung by the older von Trapp generation. Uncle Johannes (see accompanying story) used to sing that song. It’s neat because we’re not only drawing from ‘Sound of Music,’ but also drawing from the older generation when they toured and sang."
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One of von Trapp’s favorite songs to perform is "Down to the River," from the film "O, Brother Where Art Thou?"
"I don’t know what it is about that song, but it’s the first one we ever arranged and started singing, and it’s so fun," she said.
Von Trapp said she and her siblings may not be singing professionally today if it wasn’t for their grandfather, Werner Ritter von Trapp, who was portrayed as Kurt in the movie and musical.
"He would visit and teach us Austrian folk songs," von Trapp said. "Ten years ago, he had a stroke, so we decided to make a recording of the songs he taught us to help him feel better."
That recording became the kids’ first CD and the musical train took off from there, she said.
"We were asked to open for pianist George Winston and his booking agent wanted to be our booking agent," she said. "I was 13 at the time and Josh was 7. It’s really how we started."
Now the singers are carrying on the legacy and appearing on TV, and in special concerts and performances all over the world, which can be stressful at times.
"When we started touring, we were gone nine months out of the year," von Trapp said. "It helped because we were out there with family. When one of us started to go crazy, the rest of us brought them down. We kept each other grounded."
They also take time to enjoy the countries and cities they visit.
"When we went to Rwanda a couple of years ago, we learned its national anthem," von Trapp said. "We got to sing it for President (Paul) Kagame, who was so impressed with it that he gave Justin a cow.
"We realized that music is far bigger than we could ever be," she said.
While the four enjoy experiencing other countries’ customs, they are constantly amazed at how many people in the world know them and their music.
"We were teaching music in an orphanage in African in the middle of nowhere, and they knew all the words to ‘Do Re Mi,’" von Trapp said.
While there were a few significant differences between the true story and the musical, the von Trapps feel the message of the musical rings true.
"It kept the spirit of family intact," she said. "It also showed the importance of standing up for what is right.
"We’re so grateful what this movie and musical represent and what it means to our family," von Trapp said. "We can share that with people and bring them back to their childhood or just to give them hope to, well, ‘Climb Every Mountain.’"
The Utah Symphony will present the Von Trapp Children on July 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Snow Park Amphitheatre at Deer Valley. General admission lawn tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students or $60 for a family pass. Reserved seating is $50 and premium reserved seating is $65. Tickets can be purchased through ArtTix by calling 888-451-2787, online at deervalleymusicfestival.org, or general admission tickets can be purchased in person at Deer Valley Signatures stores.