The Sound of Music Revisited with Elisabeth von Trapp Performing

By Dasha Morgan

The members and clergy of St. James Hendersonville are bringing a household legend to sing at their Candlemas concert on January 26 at 4:00 PM. This will be the 30th year that the church has held a yearly benefit Candlemas Concert to commemorate Mary’s return to the temple at Jerusalem to present her son to God. The concert will continue the tradition of raising urgently needed funds for hunger relief in Henderson County.

The funds will go to Interfaith Assistance Ministry (IAM), the Storehouse and the Hendersonville Rescue Mission. The concert will take place at the St. James Sanctuary, known to have incredible acoustics, and a reception following the concert will take place in Stillwell Hall catered by Hubba Hubba Smokehouse Catering and Sweet Thangs Cheesecakes & Bakes. All this is included in the ticket price. Tickets for the 2020 event are $25 per person and are available at Diamond Rush Jewelry in Laurel Park Village, the Hendersonville Visitor Information Center and the St. James Hendersonville reception desk. (At press time the seating is very limited). More information can be found by calling 828 693-7458.

Elisabeth von Trapp is the granddaughter of the legendary Maria and Captain von Trapp, whose story inspired “The Sound of Music.’ She is carrying on the legacy inspired by her father Werner von Trapp as she sings melodious songs accompanied on her guitar. Many of us can easily hum or sing the tunes from Rogers and Hammerstein’s the Sound of Music and know well the story of the Trapp Family Singers, who had to flee Austria as the Nazi’s made their arrival. Who can forget Julie Andrews singing “The Hills are Aglow with the Sound of Music,” or “Climb Every Mountain?”

Some may realize that the family finally settled in Vermont where Elisabeth was born and raised. To read more about the reality of the von Trapp family versus the myth perpetuated by the musical, go to the website and read Robert Martin’s Elisabeth von Trapp: “Sculpting Her Own Sounds of Music.”

She began taking piano lessons when she was eight and by the age of sixteen she was playing guitar and traveling the back roads of New England performing with her siblings at weddings, gospel meetings and town halls. Elisabeth has enthralled audiences from European cathedrals to Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. She tours the United States, will have just given a concert in Chapel Hill prior to arriving in Hendersonville, and then heads to Hayesville in Clay County. Following that she is giving concerts in many Florida cities.

Building on her famed family’s passion for music, Elisabeth has created her own artistic style, at once ethereal and earthy, delicate and powerful. Listeners have likened her to Judy Collins and Loreena McKennitt. Critics have called her voice “hauntingly clear,” “joyfully expressive” and “simply beautiful.”

Elisabeth’s concert repertoire ranges from Bach to Broadway, Schubert to Sting. With equal ease and eloquence she sings timeless wonders like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Favorite Things and Edelweiss, Lieder by Mozart, Puccini’s o Mio Babbino Caro, soaring gospel tunes, pop classics, and her own stunning compositions. Elisabeth has released five self produced albums and has performed across the United States, Austria and Russia. Her music has been featured on National Public Radio, BBC-Radio, Japanese National Radio and CNN Spanish Radio. She has appeared on CBS’s Eye on People, ABC’s Good Morning America and BBC-TV.

Longtime St. James Hendersonville members Frank Byrd and Nancy Morton founded the concert series in 1990. Tari Watson is chair of the event this year. There have been some fantastic performers for Candlemas in the last 30 years. In 2019, Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer Paul Sullivan was the featured performer. Among many highlights, outstanding artists at Candlemas Concerts have included Celtic Folk artist Robin Bullock, the Michael Jeffry Stevens Jazz Trio with Wendy Jones, vocalist, and the classical ensemble Braidstream. Typically, from $12,000-$15,000 is raised each year from ticket proceeds and event underwriters. There are well over 100 underwriters for this year’s concert, who have donated at least $100.

Thus, this promises to be another successful event by the Outreach Commission of St. James Episcopal Church to provide hunger relief in Henderson County with the legendary Elisabeth von Trapp concert.

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