When deciding their lineup for the pops season, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic folks considered The Sound of Music. But then they thought, why do an adaptation when we could do the real thing? Well, almost the real thing, anyway.
Justin, Amanda, Melanie and Sofia von Trapp — known collectively as JAMS — are the great-grandchildren of Captain and Maria von Trapp. (Their grandfather is portrayed as Kurt in the film.) They've renewed the family's musical tradition, becoming the singing group known as the Von Trapp Children. They got started about 10 years ago, when they began taking music lessons together.
"We started to understand the harmonies and what we could do," says Amanda who, at 20, is the second-youngest of the bunch. She adds, "A couple years later, we started opening for a famous pianist named George Winston."
From there, they were told they'd need a two-hour show in order to get bookings. "So we put together that show, and the very first place we were booked was at the a cappella music festival for Pennsylvania," says Amanda. "And in a coincidence, that was the very first place that the family was booked when they came to America in 1938."
These von Trapps have gone on to tour the world and to appear on shows like Oprah and The View. With the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and conductor Thomas Wilson, they will be singing some selections from the musical that made their family famous. But, Wilson says, "It's not all Sound of Music."
In fact, Amanda says, one of the pieces they've been known to do is the Rwandan national anthem.
"We taught music at an orphanage in Rwanda, and were asked to sing the Rwandan national anthem for their president," she explains. "... The president liked it so much that he gave Justin a cow."