The Steamboat Springs High School auditorium will be filled Thursday night with people who already feel connected to the children on stage. Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and Justin von Trapp are carrying on a family story that most Americans can sing.
The four children are the great-grandchildren of Captain von Trapp and the grandchildren of Werner von Trapp, who spent his childhood touring the world with his brothers and sisters. The family's life was portrayed in "The Sound of Music."
Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and Justin were discovered in the recording studio at the University of Montana as they made a CD for their grandfather. They were told if they could put a show together, there was a place for them on stage at Musikfest in Bethlehem, Penn.
"We scrambled and made a show that lasted almost two hours," said their mother, Annie von Trapp. The show was a combination of storytelling and singing. The children wear the original costumes from their grandparents.
They sing everything from "Scarborough Fair" to well known "The Sound of Music" favorites. Annie and her husband, Stefan, talk about the old generation and what it stood for.
"Their story is so much like other stories of people who came to America for a better life or because their country was at war," Annie von Trapp said. "We have a gratitude for all the people who went through that hard time period."
When the von Trapps arrived in America by ship in the 1930s, they had $3 and didn't speak any English.
"After we give a show, people will come up to us and tell their stories," Annie von Trapp said. "People don't realize how hard it was for people in Europe at that time."
The von Trapp family will be in Steamboat next week, giving a concert and helping the cast of Steamboat Springs High School's upcoming production of "The Sound of Music."
"It will be fun for them to see Maria's dress and to hear the real stories behind the music they are singing," Annie von Trapp said. "A big part of our message is to encourage kids to sing. They get a joy out of it, and they can give a gift that's hard to match. The gift of song really affects people."
The von Trapp children recently released a Christmas CD and a third CD is scheduled to be released in March. Their performance in Steamboat is part of a 100-stop musical tour that includes a concert with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra in New Zealand.
"The kids will get to see the shire from the 'Lord of the Rings.' They couldn't be more excited," Annie von Trapp said. They also will be singing in Korea, Japan and Australia. "It's pretty amazing that we get to do this and that we get to do it as a family."
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