Brent learned that the Merrill Auditorium in Portland was hosting a “Sound of Music” sing-along on Friday night, February 1. He asked me if I would like to take the girls and surprised me with tickets to the event. It was so sweet and thoughtful of him. I love the opportunities I have to spend quality time with the girls, especially now as my health and length of life are deteriorating.
Jenna seemed to be the most excited, especially when she learned that the audience was encouraged to participate and dress up in costumes. She immediately performed a “Google Search” to look at pictures of the characters from the musical and put together an outfit that looked similar to that of the Von Trapp girls. She decided she would be Brigitta. She loves the story and knows many of the songs by heart. She listened to the soundtrack in preparation, knowing she would get to sing along to the songs during the movie. Hayley was excited as well and enthusiastically searched for an appropriate costume to wear to the event, also one of the Von Trapp children. Skye didn’t seem thrilled about it, partly because she knew she’d have to wake early the next morning for a ski trip with her class from school. However, she liked the idea of going out and spending time together. She had no desire to wear a costume, but she did change her clothes to look like a teenager going out for a night on the town.
The event was presented by Portland Ovations and hosted by a very enthusiastic and funny Erin Schwab who was appropriately dressed in lederhosen and sexy red high heels (her “Dorothy” shoes). She invited the plethora of audience members who had worn costumes onto the stage, introducing them one-by-one, and presented prizes to the top three participants she judged to be the best. There were some very creative costumes in addition to characters from the musical, including each part from the “Do-Re-Mi” song.
Erin then led us through a vocal warm-up so we would be prepared to sing along to the songs throughout the film. We were each given a bag of various props, and she gave us instructions on when and how we were to use them throughout the presentation.
Staff writer Edward D. Murphy explains in an article from the Portland Press Herald some of the audience participation:
The winner of the costume contest was Ray, a drop of golden sun, who won the crowd over with his high-kicking in tight yellow leotards.
After dealing with the costumed fans, Schwab told the rest of the crowd how it was going to work, including holding up cards they were provided with Maria’s picture and a question mark as the nuns lament just what they’re supposed to do with her and taking out the little plastic flowers when Georg tugs on the heartstrings of his fellow Austrians with “Edelweiss.”
The crowd learned to roar out “bah-bah” when they saw sheep and “hills!” when they spotted, well, hills. Hisses were reserved for the Baroness, and the nasty proto-Nazi Rolf was to be greeted with “roof-roof.”
I think the girls especially enjoyed doing the hand motions along to the “Do-Re-Mi” song. I noticed Jenna enthusiastically singing along to the songs throughout the entire film. I wasn’t sitting right next to Hayley, but I think she was singing along as well. Both seemed to enjoy it. They remembered all the actions and prop use required of the audience and were actively and enthusiastically participating.
Skye seemed to enjoy it, although she rarely sang along with the songs and was sometimes annoyed at the overacting and distraction by nearby audience members. We did have to endure loud, obnoxious laughter and constant jokes being made by a lady sitting just behind us, but we just looked at it as part of the venue and “audience participation.”
Here is a video taken by staff photographer Gregory Rec posted on the Portland Press Herald article. At 3:10 into the video you will see the girls and I (left to right: Hayley, Jenna, me, Skye) singing along to the song “Sound of Music.” We’re famous! :-)
Brent stayed late in Portland so that he could drive Skye home early in order for her to get adequate sleep for her ski outing the next day. After we’d been at the sing-along for nearly two hours, Skye told me she was enjoying herself and wanted to stay for the entire event (which ended up lasting a total of four hours). I was glad that she was having a good time and liked having her there and talking to her about the movie and audience members. I did, however, feel bad that Brent waited so long in Portland when he could have been home doing other things. It was very sweet of him, and it was a such a positive experience for me. I love the musical, and it was fun to interact and participate with hundreds of other enthusiastic audience members, singing along with the songs I know so well. I especially enjoyed spending time with my girls and seeing their own enthusiasm and enjoyment. Thank you, Brent. :-)