HS Class of '66
Thirty-five years ago this month,
on April 22nd, 1966 Broadway came to Emmitsburg, bringing with it
Rogers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. Who would have
thought or even dreamed that Emmitsburg High School could produce
a Broadway show, one so well-known and so popular?
Who had this dream? Bob Holmes, a
junior high school core teacher, believed that it could be done
and he directed it. Gary Smith, the band teacher at Emmitsburg and
Frederick High Schools, directed the band, which was made up of
students from Frederick High School. Anne Deatherage directed the
singing and Susan Sander was the art director.
The cast included nearly all of
the members of the senior class and the children were all from the
Emmitsburg Elementary School.
A senior class play was
traditionally a light-hearted comedy-romance, directed by Mrs.
Jones. No one ever believed that a Broadway success could be
produced in Emmitsburg. Moreover, The Sound of Music succeeded—succeeded
over and above all expectations.
You all know the story—The
setting is Austria, 1938. Captain Georg Von Trapp needs a
governess for his motherless children. After the children reject
several governesses, the Captain applies to a nearby convent.
Maria—a young novice–is sent to him, and the story proceeds
Maria is adored by the children,
plays with them, goes boating with them, and teaches them her
favorite songs. Eventually the Nazis come to the mountain village,
and the Captain, wanting to protect his children from the Nazis,
decides they must go to America.
The story develops around the
beautiful songs, songs from which most of us can sing a refrain or
two. Favorites are the theme song, "The Sound of Music,"
"Do-Re-Mi," "My Favorite Things." The play
ends with "Edelweiss" as Maria and the children are
spirited away from their Alpine village to begin their new life in
The Emmitsburg school production
was acclaimed by the whole community. Everyone loved it. Everyone
got into the spirit of it. I remember that when the play arrived
at the spot where Maria felt she should leave the Von Trapp family
because she had fallen in love with the Captain, as she walked off
the stage carrying her suitcase, someone behind me whimpered,
"Oh ——— oh ——— she’s a leaving!" I felt as
if I ought to turn around and tell her that Maria would be back.
The musical played two nights in
Emmitsburg. The auditorium was filled to over-flowing both nights.
Both nights cameras were flashing as the parents of the cast tried
to get their own children as they appeared in every scene. One
father was lying on his stomach in the middle of the aisle to get
his best shot.
A few weeks after the second
Emmitsburg performance the whole play was taken to Frederick–cast,
props—everything, to a performance at the North Frederick
Elementary School. Did all of Frederick attend? The Board of
Education did. Some Frederick residents did, but the greatest
number in the audience were the parents and friends from
Emmitsburg. They just couldn’t get enough of it. It was
Emmitsburg at its finest.
Not long ago Linda Keilholtz
Umbel said to me, "The Sound of Music was the best thing that
ever happened to Emmitsburg." I believe she was right.
other articles by Ruth Richards
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