The von Trapp Children arrive in Stratford on Monday for a 3 p.m. matinee concert at the Festival Theatre.
Descendants of the famous singing family whose story captivated the world in The Sound of Music, Sofia, 17, Melanie, 15, Amanda, 14 and Justin, 11, have inherited their family's unique musical gift.
Performing in costumes like those worn by the original group, their repertoire includes a variety of folk and classical songs from various European and American traditions as well as selections from The Sound of Music.
Their concerts also include songs and family stories of life before and after coming to North America as well as spirituals and more contemporary music.
Being home-schooled by their mother has allowed the children to tour around the world to Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Austria, Belgium and Japan, performing at the Sydney Opera House, the Grand Ole Opry and Seoul Square.
They have also performed live on radio and made several television appearances on all the major American networks. However, their appearance at Stratford Summer Music will be their professional Canadian premiere.
The von Trapp story began in 1924 when Captain Georg von Trapp, a veteran of the First World War, was advised by his doctor to keep one of his daughters home from school because of scarlet fever.
Captain von Trapp hired a novice from the local convent to teach her at home. That novice, Maria Kutschera, joined in the family's love of music and added her expertise to the children's musical education.
The family began singing together to raise some money and soon received invitations to sing all over Europe. Near the start of the Second World War the family fled to Italy by train and then to the United States where they settled in Vermont and performed across the United States until the 1950s.
Their story was soon immortalized in a Rogers & Hammerstein musical that was also recently portrayed on the Festival Theatre stage with role of Maria played by Cynthia Dale. A well-known movie starring Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews and produced in 1965, further increased the family's fame.
The von Trapp family were originally based in Vermont but in 1990, Stefan (the grandson of Captain Georg von Trapp) and wife Annie settled in the Rocky Mountains of Northwestern Montana where Stefan began a masonry business.
While the children of Stefan and Annie weren't pushed towards a music career, they did take music lessons as a hobby; however, when their grandfather became ill, the children did a recording for him and these early recordings became their first CD and the launch to their singing career before huge audiences.
For more information about the concert call Stratford Summer Music at 519-271-2101 or visit the website at www.stratfordsummermusic.ca.