the sound of music

Recently our local Heritage Foundation, dedicated to preserving historic structures, undertook a major fundraising effort to restore our downtown theater. The result of their successful work is a state-of-the-art venue for movies, concerts, and plays. Our community is fortunate to have dedicated citizens who look to the future with an eye on the past.

This summer my daughter and I went to see Studio Tenn’s production of The Sound of Music on its opening night. As usual, when the day came for us to go, I thought of a hundred different things I should be doing with that time. But I was thankful to be spending time with my daughter and anxious to see a live production in our new facility.

The evening was absolutely amazing. The talent of the actors was evident in the performance of their lines as well as their musical numbers. The set was minimal but very effective. I felt as though I was right there in the scene, and when I reminded myself it was a play rather than real life, I felt as if the cast members were performing their very best work, just for me. Yes, it was that good.

But it was more than just a wonderful evening at the theater for me. I was totally involved in the story and the music. The performance took me back to the moment when I saw the movie for the first time, wrapped up in the beautiful scenery, the grumpy father, the children and their unique clothing, the intrigue of the escape, and the charming Maria. I could remember the year I was in sixth grade, singing the songs in school programs and listening to them at sleepovers on the weekends. This story was definitely one of “My Favorite Things.” Why hadn’t I even thought of it in the last few years?

Can you hear “The Hills are Alive…” and not see yourself, arms spread wide, spinning around in the mountain meadows? And I remember playing “Climb Every Mountain…” as one of my piano pieces, the first time I played high notes alternating with low chords -“til,” (boom), “you,” (boom), “find,” (boom), “your,” (boom), “dream.” The yodeling of “The Lonely Goatherd” was a part of my childhood, too. When the nuns sang “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” near the beginning of the play, I sang along in my head, every note, every word, phrases I hadn’t thought of in years. And it was the same with every solo, duet, and chorus throughout the entire production. It was all there in my mind, waiting to be rediscovered.

And then, near the end, we heard “Edelweiss,” and my daughter smiled and said, “Here it is.” The song that was sung in rounds with my friends at camp, and later the tune to a sorority favorite on the last night of rush – a melody I sang to my children as I rocked them to sleep, and a memory engrained in the heart and mind of both my daughter and myself. Such a beautiful, inspired tune, along with words that span years, and cultures, and dreams.

Music has that quality like nothing else does– to revive long-forgotten memories and bring fullness into hearts that can easily get downtrodden with the monotony of day-to-day life.  To show us the best in others and the possibilities for ourselves. “My heart will be blessed with the sound of music, and I’ll sing once more.”

13 thoughts on “the sound of music

  1. I guess many of us have certain memories that connect to that musical. You’ve shared some lovely memories here, nice to read. I too sand Edelweiss to my children!

  2. Whenever the movie comes on TV (usually during the holiday season in December), we always stop the channel flipping to watch and sing and remember our first times….thanks for the reminder.

  3. elsie says:

    Your journey through the songs took me back through my experiences with each one you mentioned. I enjoyed reliving and thinking about my connections to this music.

  4. Tara says:

    I still remember going to see The Sound of Music for the first time…and all the times I watched it with my own children. That music was, in so many ways, the soundtrack to my childhood and theirs.

  5. Judy C. says:

    Thank you for such wonderful memories of my absolute favorite movie. I always enjoy watching it whenever it comes on tv, but now I can watch it any time – my son gave me the movie on DVD. How special that your community has come together to refurbish the theater – just think how many more plays you will be able see with your daughter.

  6. newtreemom says:

    This was so sweet to read as it stirs so many good memories. I cannot count how many times I have seen the movie now, and I still love it every time! First I wanted to be Liesl, later I longed to be Maria…

  7. Deb Day says:

    Our experiences with the Sound of Music are much the same. I imagine this is why it is a favorite of so many. Most can remember the first time they saw it in the theatre, singing the songs in choir, seeing it on stage. It becomes a common memory. Thanks for sharing yours.

  8. b says:

    I loved this post…for many reasons. First, I also have many childhood memories of growing up in a Swiss community where this musical was regularly produced during our annual summer festival. Second, it reminded me of a slice I’d written earlier about being at a concert with my parents and listening to “Our House.” You’re right — music does span time, culture, and physicality. what a brilliant memory you shared with us today. thank you :).

  9. margaretsmn says:

    I was singing along with you. One of the all time favorite musicals in our house! We too have a local theater group that amazes me every time. Thanks for sharing.

  10. We have the CD and the movie on DVD-the music is the best! Thanks for sharing your musical memory slice…I was there with you humming the tunes.

  11. pamelahodges says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. loved this line – look to the future with an eye on the past.
    Three years ago when we lived in California we went to get a Christmas tree from a small lot in Felton. There was an elderly woman there getting a tree. After she drove away the owner of the lot told us that she was the youngest Von Trapp daughter.

    • That is incredible! I think it was kind of the owner to wait til she drove away before telling you who she was, although you probably wished you had known when she was still there. Thanks for sharing your brush with greatness.

  12. I was convinced my 4th grade teacher was the sister of the actress who played Leisel. Imagine her delight at being asked that question by a 9 year old!

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