Fifty Years of Singing

March 1, 2015

movie clapper and film reelsWhen I was nine years old, I saw a movie that immediately took a very special — and permanent — place in my heart. That movie was The Sound of Music.

If you saw the tribute to the movie and to its star during the Oscars telecast on February 22nd, you’re likely aware that The Sound of Music is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015. You may not realize that it was actually released fifty years ago today, March 2nd, 1965, although the Los Angeles premiere was later, on March 10th.

I first saw the movie during its roadshow release. My grandmother and I traveled to the city by bus. We had to have advance tickets. It was quite an occasion, and the movie was stellar.

Because of the way roadshows worked, going across North America from city to city, it wasn’t until September, 1966 that the movie got to the city nearest me — so I’ll have to wait another year and a half before I can really celebrate fifty years of The Sound of Music!

I did insist that my parents and I go to see it  when the movie went into regular release and it came to a town just 20 miles away. In fact, I used to think it was very impressive to be able to say I had seen The Sound of Music THREE times — twice in its original release, and once when it was re-released into theatres in 1973.

Seeing the movie wasn’t the only part of the influence of The Sound of Music on my life, however. There were other aspects of the musical that filled my life after the movie experience was over. (There were no DVDs back then to allow a person to see a movie over and over again!)

Many people remember being read stories before going to bed. I remember music — my mother singing to me, my dad singing as well, but I also remember musicals as some of my lullabies. Many nights, I would fall asleep listening to the soundtrack (on a 33 1/3 rpm LP) of The Sound of Music, or Oklahoma, or another musical. I sang along to the records during the day, as well, but it is the memory of the nighttime lullaby usage of the records that I particularly treasure.

You may know that I play the piano. You may not know of the struggle of wills my parents and I had to get me to keep on with my lessons. I am forever grateful that they won that series of arguments!

My piano teacher, wonderful and wise woman that she was, realized that having me develop a love of music and a love of playing was much more important than ensuring that I could play the standard classical songs in the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto graded system. She started including pop songs and songs from musicals in my lessons, and my interest grew. One of the books I learned cover to cover was the Piano/Vocal Selections score of The Sound of Music. I loved playing those songs! Still do.

When I learned that the movie was based on books about a real family, I had to have the books. I read them cover to cover — so many times that my copies started to fall apart. It didn’t bother me in the least that the movie and the book differed. I loved them both, for different reasons.

It may interest you to know that I still have that LP record, that piano/vocal selections book, and that copy of The Story of the Trapp Family Singers with chunks of pages missing. Their influence on my life continues.

Is there a movie from your childhood that particularly touched you?

4 People reacted on this

  1. It is hard to believe it has been 50 years since the release of this amazing movie. My first husband gave me tickets to see the movie as a Christmas gift our first Christmas. That would have been in 1966. I have seen it many times since and have not tired of it. Of course I have also seen many stage productions as well. The river cruise I took down the Danube 2 years ago was on a boat called The Sound of Music. I think this movie touched many people over the years.

  2. I loved hearing about how you came to watch The Sound of Music for the first time and how it contributed to your love of music, Beth! It was the first movie my parents took me to see. I was just under a year old when it came out; I’m still shocked they brought a baby to the movies. LOL! They never said if I cried during it or not.

    I think TSOM helped me gain a love of music, too. From the ages of 8-12, I really wanted to be an opera singer (before I fell in love with astrophysics and wanted to do that instead). 🙂

  3. I think the music of our youth finds a way inside us. In middle school I was Ado Annie in Oklahoma and I still find myself singing the songs in the shower (thank goodness for the privacy of showers!)

  4. Seems like yesterday when the movie came out. I was 13 (almost 14) when it was released. And, I wore out my record. When I started babysitting, I taught the songs to the kids — often wondered what their parents thought. I was already interested in music and had been studying piano since 7, but the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein always was a favorite. They just don’t make movies that grand anymore. It led me to work in summer stock when I was older — and of course they staged all of the wonderful musicals. Now, I’m dating myself.

    I also read the Trapp Family Singers in high school. I loved the real story too. I stayed with family at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT in 2000. Beautiful lodge and scenery, but commercialized. Wished I’d visited earlier when they did more of the musical programs and a retreat.

    I think we all have fond and vivid memories of how the movie impacted our lives.

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