Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Sound Of Music

"The hills are alive, with the sound of music,
With songs they have sung for a thousand years..."

Can it really be so?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one 
of my all time favorite movie musicals,
"The Sound Of Music"

The story behind the film...

The real life 
Von Trapp Family

In 1938, the German forces of Adolf Hitler's
Third Reich invaded neighboring Austria in what
 was known as the Anschluss, or annexation, as
the two nations joined together into one.

As loyal Austrians, the Von Trapp family knew they
had to leave their beloved homeland or face subjugation
to the Nazis.  Much like in the movie version of their escape,
the family dressed as if going on one of their frequent hikes
up into the mountains and simply walked away from their
elegant home and estate property near Salzburg, Austria.

The family later traveled by passenger train across northern
Italy to Switzerland and from there they eventually made it to
London, England where they later boarded a ship heading
for the United States of America.

In the US, the Von Trapps became well-known as a
touring family band and in 1949, Maria Von Trapp wrote a book
about her family's many adventures on the road. 
Her story became the inspiration for an award-winning Broadway musical 
in the late 1950's, and was later made into the beloved film, 
which has delighted generations of families all over 
the world for many years now.

One of my favorite songs from the movie is

Leontopodium alpinum

A beautiful wildflower of the Alps known for its
medicinal qualities, Edelweiss is used to treat ailments 
 of the abdominal and respiratory systems.

However, due to this starry white flower's natural
habitat, or growing in precarious spots along steep cliffs
and other inaccessible terrain, unwary mountain climbers
have been seriously injured or have even fallen to their
deaths while attempting to pick these flowers.

Quite a few years ago, in order to honor my Austrian
heritage, I naively, but with the best of sincere intentions,
attempted to grow Edelweiss in my front yard flower bed.
Although the bed was partially in the shade, to my dismay
this hardy bloomer of the mountains was no match for the
heat and humidity of a southern New Jersey summer,
not to mention our naturally sandy soil.

Anyway, back to "The Sound Of Music"...

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the crusty
Captain Von Trapp can no longer deny that he has fallen in love
with the beautiful and feisty governess-who-will-never-
be-a-nun, ditches the scheming wealthy Viennese Baroness Schrader
and goes off to find poor, heartbroken Maria to declare his love
for her in the romance of moonlight.

"Something Good"

Another favorite scene is near the end of the movie
when the Von Trapp family hastily arranges to sing at
the Salzburg Folk Festival as part of their plan to
escape the Nazis waiting in the audience to escort
Captain Von Trapp to his new appointment as an officer 
in the naval forces of the Third Reich.

During a solo performance of "Edelweiss"

Georg Von Trapp becomes emotional and cannot sing,
knowing that his beloved Austria has been taken over by
the evil Nazis and that he and his family will lose their freedom.
With the help of Maria and the children, and eventually
patriotic Austrians seated in the audience, he is able
to continue with a chorus of voices singing with him.
A beautiful act of defiance in the face of tyranny!

"Just say "NO!" to the Nazis!
"Climb every mountain, Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow, 'Till you find your dream..."

"Climb Every Mountain"

This movie takes me back to a more simpler time in
my life and to a different time in America.
The message of this beautiful story of heartbreak and loss
transformed by the redeeming power of love reminds me
how important it is to have courage in the face of adversity,
and above all, to place my hope and faith in Almighty God,
in these often uncertain and perilous times we are living in today.

The Beautiful Austrian Alps

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills,
From whence shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:1-2

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