Last night, it was absolutely great fun to meet with friends of ours, Marty & Julie, to attend a performance at our gorgeous Concert Hall here in Orange County, CA. The acoustics are amazing in this place. I probably wouldn't have gone to the trouble to buy the tickets for this show, knowing very little about the Von Trapp group other than they are descendants of the famous Sound of Music family. But our friends did, and asked us to go along with them. I'm so glad they did...
It was a wonderful program. Our Pacific Symphony played for the first half, a combination of secular and non-secular music of the season. Even a sing-along was included. Then the Von Trapps arrived on stage. The four children, ranging in age from 13 to 19, are the four grandchildren of Kurt, one of the imps you'll likely remember from the movie. These four, great grandchildren of Georg Von Trapp, billed The Von Trapp Family Children, have their own CD's and have traveled the world over giving performances. They're adorable. They're sweet, with lovely, mostly undeveloped voices, although certainly professionally trained voices. The 13-year old, the boy, has a near soprano voice. So far. He was and is the imp, I guess. All the children performed in native Austrian dress, including using coins as buttons, which were ones Maria and Georg brought with them on the escape. They're singing was good. Very good. They sang some of the tunes from the musical, told stories about themselves and their family (they live in Montana, one of the few Von Trapps who live outside of Vermont, where the family's inn is located in Stowe), and sang Christmas carols and other songs which got us all in the Christmas spirit. If you go to their website here, you'll learn all about them, their tour schedule, etc. In case you're interested. If you'd like to read an outsider's article about the facts behind the Von Trapp family, read Movie vs. Reality: The Real Story of the von Trapp Family, by Joan Gearino from the National Archives.
We did learn that the musical compressed the Von Trapp story into a mere 3 months of time with Georg and Maria. By doing some online snooping today from the National Archives story above, I learned more about the true facts: in actuality, they met in 1926, when Maria was hired to be a tutor to one of the Von Trapp daughters who had contracted scarlet fever. Georg fell in love with Maria. Maria fell in love with the children. When Georg asked her to marry him, he specifically asked that she become the mother to the children. She wasn't in love with Georg, but agreed, because she adored the children. She eventually fell in love with Georg too. So, by 1938, they had been married for 11 years, and had two of their own children, before escaping in 1938, by train to Italy (and then on to the United States). The family says that Georg was not the tyrant portrayed in the movie; he was actually a very loving and kind man, also extremely musical. Nor was Maria quite the sweet young, demure thing portrayed by Julie Andrews. Maria was a strong woman, knew what she wanted in life, and even had a temper.
Oh yes, the children also told us that Maria never did make clothes out of drapes. Poof. Another myth blown into thin air.