NEWBERRY — Newberry will be alive with the sound of music when Elisabeth Von Trapp, granddaughter of Maria and Baron Von Trapp made famous by the “Sound of Music,” performs at Smyrna Presbyterian Church on Friday.
Pastor Dan Ratchford was able to put the free concert together after receiving a flyer from the Presbytery.
“They gave each of the churches a flyer, and I looked at it and said, ‘Oh my goodness, the Von Trapps.’ I have always heard of them, so I followed up with them,” he said. “Forty some odd churches were given the flyer and we are the only church that picked up on it apparently.”
This will be a free concert with a love offering, which means they will pass the plate around during the concert, just like a church offering. All proceeds collected will go to Elisabeth Von Trapp. Ratchford said Von Trapp does a blend of folk and spiritual music and she will perform some songs from the musical like “Edelweiss.”
According to her website, elisabethvontrapp.com, she was born and raised in Vermont, which is where the Von Trapps eventually immigrated to. Her father was Werner Von Trapp, who was portrayed as Kurt in the film.
Her website also states that she has been singing professionally since childhood and was inspired by her father’s guitar playing and singing, carrying on the family legacy.
“We have already gotten a couple of phone calls, outside of the Newberry area, because they saw this upcoming performance on her website,” Ratchford said. “The congregation is really excited about it. This is an opportunity to invite people to come and see our church and meet a Von Trapp. I have never met a celebrity like her.”
The concert will be in the Family Center, next to the church building.
“We are already bringing in extra chairs. We can overflow outside, so if it (the weather) is not really bad we are going to put some of our folks outside. They will just have to listen from outside,” Ratchford said.
Ratchford added they are putting a lot of effort to make this a successful concert. They have purchased a stage so Von Trapp has a platform that is elevated, and they have found someone to do the lighting.
“A bit of a challenge for a church, but in a good way,” he said.
The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7 p.m. The concert will last for 90 minutes, after which Von Trapp will sell her CDs and have a meet and greet for those who would like to know more about her and her family.
“I am looking forward to the music itself. I love that style of music, but I think it is exciting. It is exciting for our church because it is a chance to invite folks and just do something for the community and let the community be a part of something. It is free, we are not getting anything out of it, except to do it,” Ratchford said. “I think it is going to be really exciting. I grew up with that music, and I just love the whole story. I never imagined that I would be able to meet one of them, so it is kinda neat.”
Ratchford said it is going to be uplifting and inspiring.
“That style of music touches your heart, encourages you, ministers to your soul,” he said.
Smyrna Presbyterian Church is located at 32 Smyrna Road in Newberry, right off Belfast Road. This will not be Von Trapp’s first visit to Newberry. She performed at The Newberry Opera House in 2015.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.