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Story of the Trapp Family Singers

Story of the Trapp Family Singers

4.0 27
by Maria Augusta Trapp

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With nearly 1,500 Broadway performances, six Tony Awards, more than three million albums sold, and five Academy Awards, The Sound of Music, based on the lives of Maria, the baron, and their singing children, is as familiar to most of us as our own family history. But much about the real-life woman and her family was left untold.

Here, Baroness Maria


With nearly 1,500 Broadway performances, six Tony Awards, more than three million albums sold, and five Academy Awards, The Sound of Music, based on the lives of Maria, the baron, and their singing children, is as familiar to most of us as our own family history. But much about the real-life woman and her family was left untold.

Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America.

Now with photographs from the original edition.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Harper Perennial
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Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)
950L (what's this?)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Just Loaned

Somebody tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up from the workbooks of my fifth graders, which I was just correcting, into the lined, old face of a little lay sister, every wrinkle radiating kindliness.

"Reverend Mother Abbess expects you in her private parlor," she whispered.

Before I could close my mouth, which had opened in astonishment, the door shut behind the small figure. Lay sisters were not supposed to converse with candidates for the novitiate.

I could hardly believe my ears. We candidates saw Reverend Mother Abbess only from afar in choir. We were the lowest of the low, living on the outskirts of the novitiate, wearing our black mantillas, waiting with eager anticipation for our reception into the sacred walls of the novitiate. I had just finished the State Teachers' College for Progressive Education in Vienna and had to get my Master of Education degree before the heavy doors of the enclosure would shut behind me -- forever.

It was unheard of that Reverend Mother Abbess should call for a candidate. What might this mean? Her private parlor was far at the other end of the old Abbey, and I chose the longest detour to go there, in order to gain time for examining my conscience. I was the black sheep of the community; there was no doubt about that. I never meant anything bad, but my upbringing had been more that of a wild boy than that of a young lady. Time and again I had been warned by the Mistress of Novices that I could not race over the staircase like that, taking two and threesteps at a time, that I definitely could not slide down the banister; that whistling, even the whistling of sacred tunes, had never been heard in these venerable rooms before; that jumping over the chimneys on the flat roof of the school wing was not fitting for an aspirant to the novitiate of the holy Order of Saint Benedict. I agreed wholeheartedly each time, but the trouble was, there were so many new trespasses occurring every day.

What was the matter now, I thought, slowly winding my way down the two flights of old, worn steps, through the ancient cobblestoned kitchen yard, where the huge Crucifix greets one from the wall, and where the statue of Saint Erentrudis, founder of our dear old Abbey, rises above a fountain. Slowly I entered the cloister walk on the other side of the kitchen court.

Troubled as I was, searching through my laden conscience, I still felt again the magic of the supernatural beauty of this most beautiful place on earth. Twelve hundred years had worked and helped to make Nonnberg, the first Abbey of Benedictine Nuns north of the Alps, a place of unearthly beauty. For a moment I had to pause and glance again over the gray, eighth-century cloister wall before I ascended the spiral stairway leading to the quarters of Reverend Mother Abbess.

Shyly I knocked on the heavy oaken door, which was so thick that I could hear only faintly the "Ave," Benedictine equivalent of the American, "Hello, come in."

It was the first time I had been in this part of the Abbey. The massive door opened into a big room with an arched ceiling; the one column in the middle had beautifully simple lines. Almost all the rooms in this wonderful Abbey were arched, the ceilings carried by columns; the windows were made of stained glass, even in the school wing. Near this window there was a large desk, from which rose a delicate, small figure, wearing a golden cross on a golden chain around her neck.

"Maria dear, how are you, darling?"

Oh this kind, kind voice! Not only stones, but big rocks fell from my heart when I heard that tone. How could I ever have worried? No, Reverend Mother was not like that -- making a fuss about little things like whistling -- and so a faint hope rose in my heart that she might perhaps talk to me now about the definite date of my reception.

"Sit down, my child. No, right here near me."

After a minute's pause she took both my hands in hers, looked inquiringly into my eyes, and said: "Tell me, Maria, which is the most important lesson our old Nonnberg has taught you?"

Without a moment's hesitation I answered, looking fully into the beautiful, dark eyes: "The only important thing on earth for us is to find out what is the Will of God and to do it."

"Even if it is not pleasant, or if it is hard, perhaps very hard?" The hands tightened on mine.

Well now, she means leaving the world and giving up everything and all that, I thought to myself.

"Yes, Reverend Mother, even then, and wholeheartedly, too."

Releasing my hands, Reverend Mother sat back in her chair.

"All right then, Maria, it seems to be the Will of God that you leave us -- for a while only," she continued hastily when she saw my speechless horror.

"L-l-leave Nonnberg," I stuttered, and tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn't help it. The motherly woman was very near now, her arms around my shoulders, which were shaking with sobs.

"Your headaches, you know, growing worse from week to week. The doctor feels that you have made too quick a change from mountain climbing to our cloistered life, and be suggests we send you away, for less than one short year, to some place where you can have normal exercise. Then it will all settle down, and next June you will come back, never to leave again."

Next June -- my goodness, now it was only October!

"It just so happened that a certain Baron von Trapp, retired Captain in the Austrian Navy, called on us today. He needs a teacher for his little daughter, who is of delicate health. You will go to his house this afternoon. And now..."

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Copyright © by Maria Trapp. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Maria Augusta Kutschera was born on a train en route to Vienna just before midnight on January 26, 1905. Her mother died when she was only two years old and her father left her with an elderly cousin so that he could be free to travel. She experienced a lonely and very strict upbringing without any siblings or other children in the household. She was raised a socialist and an atheist and was actively cynical towards all religions. It was during a visit to a church to hear a Bach concert that her mind was changed when she heard the words of a well-known priest, Father Kronseder. Her meeting with him led to her entering a convent to become a nun. While she was devoted to the convent life, she was taken away from the outdoor activities she once thrived on. Her doctor, concerned that her health was failing, helped the nuns to decide to send Maria to the home of retied naval captain Georg Von Trapp, to be governess to his bedridden daughter. On November 26, 1927, Maria and Georg were married. The rest is history.

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Story of the Trapp Family Singers 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the description of the e-book it says that it now contains pictures from the book. Where are they?! I'm enjoying the very interesting story, but would love to be able to see what was promised.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is very discriptive and good details. My favorite book in the world! Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maria von Trapp grasped me on the first word and still didn't let go after the last. Her family's story still stays with me even today, weeks after I have read the ever so popular story. Anyone and everyone should read this story. I laughed at the story of Uncle Peter's addiction to handbooks and cried at the news that they had to leave their home in Austria. I have always loved the movie 'The Sound of Music' but never knew how different the story was. I will never look at the movie the same.
melisndav More than 1 year ago
I'm typically not a historical bibliography reader but someone on my bus ride recommended this to me. And to my surprise, I really enjoyed seeing the "REAL" Sound of Music and how the Trapp Family Singers just came to be. If you like the Sound of Music, read this book to find out what happened to the Trapp Singers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like many, I became aware of the story of the Trapp family from the movie The Sound of Music. In this book we learn the whole story. It is well written and hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And to think, it was written before I was born. It's timeless! It will be with me for many years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very enjoyable, delightful, fast read. Although the Sound of Music movie is quite different, this true back-story is a great read for any Sound of Music fan. A great lesson in having faith and following your heart, not your ego.
MsRiko More than 1 year ago
I have always been a fan of "The Sound Of Music" movie, so I was drawn to buy this book. I found it very interesting to meet the true people behind the movie. Excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good read, that gives the real life story of a family we think we know via The Sound of Music. There was very little about the family's escape from Austria and the book focused on rebuilding their lives in the United States. Maria was an extremely religious woman and her writing reflects this with many bible quotes and relating important events in their lives to proximity of relgious days or holy days of obligation. This component of the book gets long and interupts the storytelling frequently. I recommend this book to fans of the Sound of Music who are curious about what happened next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderfully warm story of a family faced with a choice of maintaining their material wellbeing, or their spiritual and moral wellbeing. They chose the latter and thus set out as refugees in a Europe being torn apart by war, and ending up in an America crawling out of the Depression. I chose this book to read because of the 50th anniversary of "The Sound of Music," but became absorbed with the real life matriarch Maria Augusta Trapp. She told her family's story in the most human terms, and in the process I grew to understand and appreciate the depth and strength of her character and unwillingness to sacrifice her principles for gain. Her conviction to faith, and that of her husband Georg, deeply moved and inspired.me, so much so I am now reading "Yesterday, Today, and Forever," also written by Maria Augusta Trapp. SAMHEN95
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm still trying to figure out how it took me so long to find this book. While not overly religious this book keeps faith in the corner of your eye and is a good pick me up if you're feeling a bit lost in this crazy world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent. A good read!
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sunsetrider More than 1 year ago
This book written in 1949 is a great period piece and I highly recommend it tianyone interested in pre-WWII Austria and the trials and tribulations of industrious refugees and a budding singing troupe, interspersed with a true developing love story between an aristocratic family and lower class young woman who wants to become a nun. Whew, wasn't that a badly written run-on sentence. Any who, there is a lot of reference to God from a Catholic perspective in the book, so if you don't think you can handle that much personal faith then this isn't for you. This book was the foundation for the musical "Sound of Music"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of the von Trapps is even better than the sound of music
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ya here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey #11 my family is strict and mean and pick on my look 24/7 #12 moms in jail and #13 i did this to save my fily from the humiliation i am sooo this is our finale goodbye thanks for reading see ha on the other side bye