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10 March 2021, 14:33 | Updated: 10 March 2021, 15:28
The time four 21st-century von Trapps brought the sound of music to an unsuspecting crowd.
And it seems the original Austrian family of Georg and Maria von Trapp, whose story inspired the Broadway musical and enduring film The Sound of Music, have passed down their dulcet tones to their descendants.
Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and August von Trapp are the great-grandchildren of Georg von Trapp, and step great-grandchildren of Maria, Georg’s second wife, who was played by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film.
Formerly known as The von Trapp Children, the four siblings formed a musical ensemble called the von Trapps in 2001, performing together for more than a decade.
Later, the quartet decided to pursue individual careers outside of music. “But,” as the person who filmed this clip in 2013 explains, “They continue to make special guest appearances with friends and artists.”
“They were working on an album with [zookeeper] Jack Hanna (who evidently is a 5-star yodeller) and they sang for our staff out of the goodness of their hearts,” the YouTuber continues.
In the video (watch above), the four siblings sing a wonderfully delicate ‘Edelweiss’ – one of the most famous songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1959 musical, and the last song ever written by Oscar Hammerstein II, who died the following year.
The song was written for the character of Captain Georg von Trapp who, in the Broadway musical, sings it with his family as a goodbye to his beloved homeland, amid the destruction of the Second World War.
In the 1965 film version with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the Captain sings it earlier on, as he rediscovers the joy of music with his children.
These brilliant, fourth-generation von Trapps breathe new life into the melody with an exquisite a cappella take, with close harmonies and scrunchy cadences aplenty.
The original Trapp family, and all its 12 singing members, became famous in their native Austria after the First World War. But when the Second World War hit, they emigrated to the US to escape Austria. There, they became well known as the ‘Trapp Family Singers’.
Here, in a magical moment of music and comedy, real-life Maria von Trapp teaches on-screen Maria, Julie Andrews, how to do a “genuine Austrian yodel”.