‘The Sound of Music’ family had their own music camp in Vermont

The von Trapp family made famous by the Disney musical Sound of Music had their own summer music camp they operated near their mountain home in Vermont for 11 years.

Maria Franziska von Trapp, who was the last von Trapp portrayed in the 1959 movie to die in 2014, wrote about the music camp on the Trapp Family Lodge website.

In 1944, our mother, Maria Augusta von Trapp, leased a military camp at the foot of our hill, which was about to be dismantled. She always dreamed of creating a music center to bring people together to sing. This spot was perfect!

We invited people who loved to sing, many of whom had never sung in a group. Our conductor, Father Wasner, was in charge of the choir. I was responsible for teaching the campers to play the recorder, and in the evenings, they learned folk dances. Father played the violin. When our brother Werner returned from WWII, he played the clarinet. I joined in with the accordion, and together the three of us provided the music for the various folk dances from around the world.

Weather permitting, all of us would pile into the buses and go on picnics in the mountains, alongside lakes and waterfalls. In the evenings, we gathered in the chapel, a former barrack, where we sang hymns and received the blessing by Father Wasner.

Ten-day camp sessions were held at the camp from 1944-1955. Each dorm building at the camp, originally constructed for the Little River Dam Project by the Civilian Conservation Corps., were named for a famous composer – Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Stephen Foster.

The family advertised the camp on its tours, distributing some 100,000 brochures for the first summer, which resulted in about 400 people attending the first camp, according to the book V is for Von Trapp: A Musical Family Alphabet.

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Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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