Maria Von Trapp, married to Georg Ritter Von Trapp, was the stepmother of the Trapp family of musicians and was well known for performing with them during the 1930s and ‘40s. She also wrote accounts of her life and family in a memoir titled The Story of the Trapp Family Singers which went on to become the inspiration and basis of the Broadway musical sensation later turned film known as The Sound of Music.
Five facts about Maria Von Trapp
She was born on a train traveling from her parent’s village in Tyrol to a hospital in Vienna, Austria.
She married Georg Von Trapp and become the stepmother of his seven children and acquired the name Baroness of the Trapp Family.
She originally intended to live out her life as a nun but she changed her mind and accepted Georg Von Trapp’s marriage proposal.
Maria and her family became very popular for their musical performances while touring all around Europe and later in America as the Trapp Family Singers.
She has received many awards and decorations for her humanitarian services in Austria.
Inspirational quotes from Maria Von Trapp
“Music- what a powerful instrument, what a mighty weapon!”
Biography of Maria Von Trapp
Maria Von Trapp was born to Karl and Augusta Kutschera on January 26, 1905. She lost her mother at the age of two and was left in the care of her father’s cousin who became her foster mother.
Eventually, her father passed away too when she was nine and she was passed on to her foster mother’s son-in-law, known as Uncle Franz.
Unfortunately, Uncle Franz cared little for her.
But despite the hardships she faced growing up under an abusive guardian, Maria excelled academically. After graduating from high school at the age of 15, she saved up enough money working part-time as a tennis umpire and she eventually began her studies at the State Teachers College for Progressive Education in Vienna. She received a scholarship to continue her education there and later graduated at the age of 18 in 1923.
In 1924, she decided to become a nun after discovering her faith and becoming a devoted Catholic Christian. For this reason, Maria joined Nonnberg Abbey, a monastery in Salzburg, Austria.
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Marriage and Family Life
In 1926, she was hired by naval commander, Georg Von Trapp, to tutor one of his children, Maria Franziska, who was sick and couldn’t attend regular school. Although Maria was only supposed to leave the convent on her teaching assignment for a year, she stayed longer and eventually abandoned her dream to become a nun.
She decided to marry Georg Von Trapp because of how attached she had grown to his seven children. The couple later had three other children of their own.
The family soon fell on hard times financially due to the worldwide recession that happened in the 1930s. However, since they were all talented singers even before Maria joined, their journey as a family of musical performers began.
While trying to cope with the financial problems they had, Maria and her family turned to singing as another way of livelihood, and a Catholic Priest called Franz Wasner became their musical director. In 1936, they won a singing competition and went on to tour all through Europe under the name The Trapp Family Choir.
Soon after in 1938, the Nazis took over Europe, and the Von Trapp family decided to move to America. Although they struggled at first they eventually became a huge success where they made a name for themselves as the Trapp Family Singers instead. In 1942, the family bought a 660-acre farm in Stowe, Vermont, and they transformed it into a summer musical camp. The family ran the camp whenever they were not on tour.
Death and Legacy
The Von Trapp established the Trapp Family Austrian Relief fund that aimed to donate clothing and food to impoverished individuals in Austria after the war. In 1947, Maria’s husband and she wrote her memoirs titled The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, two years later. She then opened their family property to the public in 1950 as The Trapp Family Lodge.
In 1955, the Von Trapp family stopped touring, and Maria Von Trapp devoted the remainder of her life to her faith and missionary work. The humanitarian efforts of the Von Trapp family earned them several awards and honors over the years in Europe and beyond.
The stories of her family that were written down in her memoirs became the basis and inspiration behind The Sound of Music. This was a Broadway musical that was eventually adapted into a film and it became a massive hit in both cases.
Maria Von Trapp passed on at the age of 82 on March 28, 1987, in Morrisville, Vermont. She left behind a musical legacy that the world still remembers till today.
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