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The O.C. is alive with the sound of music

December 13, 2007|Alex Dueben

THANKS to "The Sound of Music," pretty much everyone knows the story of the Von Trapp family. And while the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical didn't tell the story exactly how it happened, it did make the Von Trapps synonymous with family entertainment as well as children spontaneously bursting into song.

This holiday season, the Pacific Symphony hosts the Von Trapp family for a Christmas celebration. But don't look for Julie Andrews or Christopher Plummer. These Von Trapps are the great-grandchildren of Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer's character).

Sophia, Melanie, Amanda and Justin have been singing together "pretty much since we were born," according to Melanie, and the four siblings have been touring the world for the last six years, during which time they've also recorded five albums.

While their first Christmas album contained both classics and modern songs, their newly released "Snow" contains all-new holiday songs written and produced by Emmy-winning composer Jay Chattaway. Originally written for a film starring the siblings, the songs ended up as an album after the movie plans fell through.

The group has recorded many of its albums in Los Angeles and have a lot of friends in the area, but their last performance in the Southland was before the annual Sing-A-Long "Sound of Music" at the Hollywood Bowl in 2005 -- a celebration of the film's 40th anniversary.

The Von Trapp Children are known for an eclectic mixture of music in their albums and live shows, and their Christmas shows are no different. Sophia mentions that her favorite Christmas carol, "Please Don't Send Me Fruitcake," is on the program.

"We're going to perform that one with the symphony. It's always funny to see the conductor's reaction to the name," she says. "It's not your traditional classical composition, but it's fun. I really love that song."

"We do a lot of songs from 'The Sound of Music,' " Melanie says. "Some Broadway tunes, 'Down to the River to Pray' from 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?,' even some folk songs that the older generation of Von Trapps used to sing. We'll also tell stories about the older generation and about how we got started."

For some, the show may bring back memories of the original Von Trapp singers from decades ago, and others may be fans of the film, but the Von Trapp Children also provide the chance to see what could qualify as a Christmas miracle to some: siblings happily getting along.

How do they stay amicable after spending so much time together? Melanie explains with a laugh: "We just sort of decided that if we're going to be around each other 24/7, we might as well have a good time with each other."

-- Alex Dueben



WHERE: Orange County Performing Artscenter, Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

WHEN: 8 p.m. tonight-Sat.

PRICE: $25-$175

INFO: (714) 556-2787;

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