Fifty Years of Singing
March 1, 2015
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?