Philippine Star
November 4, 2012

MANILA, Philippines - It was in 1965 when I was still studying in a seminary in Bulacan that I decided to spend my once a year day-off to watch The Sound of Music at the Ever Theater on Rizal Ave. That was one move that even four decades later I was very glad I did.

From that time on, I’ve seen countless Broadway productions of The Sound of Music either locally or in New York, Los Angeles or other cities. I’ve lost track of. As the popular sentiment goes, “You never get tired of The Sound of Music and have to watch it at least once a year.” The movie starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer won seven Oscars in the ’60s and is still a staple on TV, cable, airplanes and of course, homes around the world.

The true-to-life love story of Captain Georg and Maria Von Trapp was first adapted for the movies in Germany in 1949 based on her memoirs. In 1959, a producer purchased the rights for Broadway and Hollywood with top-notch songwriters Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein doing the musical score. The 1920s’ plot based in Salzburg, Austria highlights how a nun-to-be falls in love with the Von Trapp children and eventually with their father. Captain Georg Von Trapp together with the family then escapes Nazi-occupied Austria and stays initially in Italy, then to London and Philadelphia where they stayed in 1939. Back then, they were already touring the world as the Von Trapp singers. In 1950, they finally settle in Vermont, USA where they put up a hotel/restaurant and sang to their patrons. It was also in Vermont that Maria wrote her memoirs which was later published as a book. Close to five decades later, the third generation of Von Trapps continues the legacy. Amanda, Sofia, Melanie and Justin Von Trapp have been musically trained from the day they were born in line with the family tradition. The Von Trapp children’s singing career debuted in 1997 when they were cast in the Broadway musical The Sound of Music as the Von Trapp children and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

In 1993, I got to visit Salzburg with my travel buddy Joey de Leon and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the bestseller tour of Salzburg was not the city’s historical sights nor was it Mozart’s house but the The Sound of Music tour which takes you to all the locations where they shot the movie. It is impressive how they preserved all the sets and locations including the gazebo where the Sixteen Going Seventeen segment was shot.

The Von Trapp’s first Manila visit was in 2006. Back then, youngest member Justin was barely a teenager and the three girls were below 18. I met them at the press conference at the newly-opened Hyatt Hotel & Casino in Ermita. I was taken aback by their angelic voices and harmonies. Because of a road accident, I missed their show at the PICC. I kept the communication lines with Mom Annie open frequently inquiring when they would be available to come back. Six years, five CD releases and 150-plus concerts around the world later, they’re finally returning to Manila to perform for one night only at the Newport Theater where the Broadway musical The Sound of Music ran for almost one year to rave reviews.

Fresh from their triumphant sold-out 13-city tour of China that included concerts in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc, the Von Trapps are excited to come back to Manila. The concert will spotlight on the Sound of Music classics like The Sound of Music, Edelweiss, Climb Every Mountain, DoReMi, So Long Farewell and the likes with a sprinkling of Christmas carols and a surprise number. Your date with the Von Trapps is at 8 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Resorts World’s Newport Performing Arts Theater. Tickets are available online at Ticketnet’s website, Ticketnet outlets, National Bookstores, Robinsons, Ayala Malls and the ticket concierge at Resorts World.

The Sound of Music and Christmas with the Von Trapps is presented by Steve O’ Neal Productions in collaboration with Philippine Airlines, the official carrier; Hyatt Hotel & Casino, the official residence; Hard Rock Café; IBC 13, the Telenovela Channel; SM Supermalls; Jac Motors; and RJ100FM, the official concert station.

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