Von Trapp descendant coming to Seymour

Elisabeth von Trapp, granddaughter of the legendary Maria and Baron von Trapp, will be making a special appearance in Jackson County later this month.

It was her grandparents’ love story that inspired “The Sound of Music.”

Her father, Werner von Trapp, was a singer and musician, so Elisabeth has carried on the legacy of the Trapp Family Singers and has been singing professionally since childhood.

She will be in concert at 7 p.m. April 28 at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 325 S. Chestnut St., Seymour.

Seymour resident Darcy Troville is chairman of the Faith Formation Commission at St. Ambrose. The committee is responsible for religious education for adults and for special programs at the church.

“Primarily, I’m in charge of Bible studies and various different things,” Troville said. “One of those things is bringing in guest speakers from time to time that are renowned.”

St. Ambrose has welcomed several guest speakers and performers in the past, such as Anne Ryder from WTHR-Channel 13 news and Father Vincent Lampert, one of the nation’s few Vatican-trained exorcists. Both speakers packed the house.

It was Troville who first had the idea to ask Elisabeth if she might be able to come to Seymour for a performance at the church.

“I was raised in Burlington, Vermont, so I was familiar with the von Trapp family,” Troville said. “When the family migrated to the United States, they thought Vermont looked a lot like Austria, and so they moved there.”

Troville was just out of high school and in downtown Burlington the first time he met Maria von Trapp. She was shopping with her son, Johannes, the youngest of her children.

“Maria was wearing her traditional Austrian clothes, had a strong accent and was very friendly on the street,” Troville said. “Her son, Johannes, was very tall and thin and wore knee-length trousers. That was the first time I had met them.”

The second time Troville talked to Maria was in Stowe, which is located on Mount Mansfield, the largest mountain in Vermont. The Trapp Family Lodge was located there.

“I went there one morning to ski and met Maria again. She remembered my face a little bit, and a name like Darcy is hard to forget,” Troville said. “I talked about enjoying the meal, and she talked about how beautiful the setting was in Vermont.”

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that Troville discovered Elisabeth von Trapp was a musician, and then he heard her sing.

“I went on her Facebook page and listened to her voice,” he said. “Then I wondered if it would be possible to have her come here as a nice thing for the community and for the church.”

Elisabeth performs all over the world, from the Kennedy Center to the grand cathedrals of Salzburg, Austria, to small churches.

“Her voice is very sweet, and her guitar playing is good,” Troville said. “So I called and talked with her husband, Edward Hall, last year, but they couldn’t come just to Seymour without other appearances scheduled at nearby venues that would make it convenient to come here.”

A few months ago, however, Edward called Troville to tell him they had a window of opportunity open for Seymour. Elisabeth had concerts scheduled in Illinois and Kentucky, so the end of April is what worked out for both parties.

April 28 is the same night as Seymour’s prom, but the parents can take pictures of their kids, see them off to the prom and then come out to Elisabeth’s concert, Troville said.

“This is an exciting cultural event that the Faith Formation Commission offers from time to time,” Troville said. “This is a rare opportunity to see and hear someone like Elisabeth in our parish and community.”

Tickets to the concert are free but are required to get into the event. There will be a freewill offering during the performance with a suggested donation of $10 per person.

Ten percent of the proceeds from music sales and donations will go to the parish from the Von Trapp Foundation.

Tickets are available while supplies last at the parish office and also through Troville for parishioners and the public alike.

For information, email Darcy Troville at dtrov@catholicweb.com or call the parish office at 812-522-5305.

Q & A with Elisabeth von Trapp

Q: Is it correct that you have five siblings and were all a part of the Trapp Family Singers?

A: I have four brothers and one sister. We are the children of Werner von Trapp, depicted as Kurt in “The Sound Of Music.” My father and his siblings and parents were the famous Trapp Family Singers.

Q: “The Sound of Music” is one of the most beloved movies of all time. Why do you believe this is so?

A: “The Sound of Music” is a story of a real family. It also tells several love stories. One love story is of the younger generation, depicted through Liesl and Rolf and the pressures they faced within the context of those historic times. The other love stories are of Georg and Maria and how they find each other through their love for the children. But the greater love story is how this family decides to preserve their lives, their faith and their future. This love story also depicts the challenge so many millions of people faced in those historical years, by that fateful decision to leave their home, their country and everything behind to survive. The film director, Robert Wise, brilliantly chose as a backdrop to this love story the authentic scenes of the city of Salzburg and surrounding landscapes.

Q: Did your grandparents, Maria and Baron von Trapp, encourage you in your love of music, and if so, in what way?

A: Music influenced my relatives’ lives in so many ways. Whether performing music onstage or singing at family reunions, at festive occasions or holidays, my relatives always brought the gift of music to these moments in their unique way. This love of music was their daily expression of hope and faith that they shared with all those they met along the way traveling or when they were back home in Vermont. They always encouraged those present to join them in singing both melody and harmonies. They loved to sing.