|Fr. Wasner conducting the original Trapp Family Singers|
in 1941. They went on tour in North America in 1938.
Georg von Trapp was given his title by the Austro-Hungarian empire for services in World War I. After the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the von Trapps were Italian citizens and moved to Salzburg. Maria and her seven step-children and two biological children went on tour in 1938, and lived in Merion, Pa. in 1939, when the tenth child, Johannes, was born.
The Trapp Family Music Camp started in 1946 in Vermont and the Lodge was built for it. Georg von Trapp died in 1947 and is buried at the Stowe farm. As family members got married, substitutes were recruited. The group had its last concert in 1956. Some differences between the movie and the real story are described in a 2005 report along with a description of what happened subsequently:
[After the Trapp Family Singers broke up in] 1956, Maria, Johannes, Rosmarie, and daughter Maria went to New Guinea to do missionary work. Later, Maria ran the Trapp Family Lodge for many years. Of the children, Rupert became a medical doctor; Agathe a kindergarten teacher in Maryland; Maria was a missionary in New Guinea for 30 years; Werner was a farmer; Hedwig taught music; Johanna married and eventually returned to live in Austria; Martina married and died in childbirth; Rosmarie and Eleonore both settled in Vermont; and Johannes managed the Trapp Family Lodge. Maria died in 1987 and was buried alongside Georg and Martina.Comment (John): The book came out the year our Granny died, 1949. The book is how we heard about the camp. We went to the Trapp Family Music Camp in Stowe in its first year at the new Lodge, 1950. When we got back to Montreal, we entered, as a family, a contest to prepare an album of descriptions of musical instruments. We did one on the different types of recorders. We won second prize (we wuz robbed)...
|Trapp Family on Tour in the USA in 1946. Johannes in|
the middle would be seven years old. Fr. Wasner and
Georg von Trapp are in front.
We learned to sing many hymns in four parts (most of the musical repertoire was sacred music, since the neglected-by-history musicologist and conductor for the Trapp Family was Fr. Franz Wasner).
We also all started playing recorders. Olga afterwards continued teaching us and I also took recorder lessons in Montreal. Later we learned to play other instruments, but the singing was the most important takeaway.
Like Sheila (see below), I remember Agathe being especially patient. She became a teacher of young children. She died in 2010 at 97, leaving just four of the Trapp children left.
When we were at the Camp in 1950 the breakup of the Trapp Family Singers was already imminent. Some of the step-daughters wanted to become regular Americans and date/marry young men in the area. For as long as she could, Mrs. Trapp told them they were required to dress up in Austrian outfits to perform and make a success of the Singers and the Camp. Brigid’s story about Hedwig fits with the general stress that my older sisters observed among the step-daughters, who were doubtless watching the biological clock.
The Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway show with Mary Martin opened in 1959. The movie with Julie Andrews opened in 1965.
Olga: The original book that came out in 1949 is what brought us to the camp. Mother bought it and afterwards took us to a concert in Montreal where she learned about the Trapp Family summer camp in Stowe, Vermont. The Marlin Family descended on it in 1950, when Dad was settled in his new job with ICAO. Mother found out that that Maria was not altogether pleased to have another big Catholic family there headed by a forceful woman. For the five eldest children, it was an unforgettable experience - total immersion in music.
|Monsignor Wasner with Pope John |
Sheila: I have memories of Agatha teaching me the recorder. I really liked her and she was very kind and patient. I also was very fond of Father Wasner. I remember mother thinking that Maria was in competition with her over who was the holiest. For example, If mother knelt in church, Maria would also kneel.