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November 11, 2022
A Classic Story with a Bold Message for Today
Tess McKinley, Imago Stage Director

The Sound of Music is loosely based on the real-life story of Maria Augusta Kutschera, a postulant at Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg, Austria, and her life first as governess and then as wife of Captain von Trapp and stepmother of his seven children. 

After the circumstances that resulted in a new life for Maria and the family, they lost their wealth due to Nazi pressure on the Austrian banking system. The family was desperate and destitute.

After the Hitler annexed Austria in 1938, the oldest son, Rupert, was offered a position as a doctor in a large Vienna hospital; Captain von Trapp was offered command of a submarine; and the Trapp family was chosen to sing for Hitler’s birthday. 

Rupert’s position as a doctor could help support the family financially, but he would displace a Jewish doctor. As a prominent naval commander, the Captain would be honored, but he would have to fight for a cause he could not support. To sing publicly for the Führer, the family’s career would be catapulted to fame with professional engagements, but it would mean compliance with the Nazis.

The temptations were overwhelming, but they realized that acceptance would betray their Christian convictions. They turned down the opportunities and escaped to America where they lived hand-to-mouth making a living as a touring chorus. They received only insignificant compensation from the original 1959 Broadway production of The Sound of Music, and they received nothing from the 1965 film.

A year after having fled Austria, Maria and the daughters returned to visit their homeland. She wrote, “We learned with horror what one short year can do to an invaded people, how it had embittered the ones while it changed, imperceptibly to themselves, the others, and falsified their way of thinking and living.”

Today as you sit here, Ukrainians face an attempted Anschluss of their homeland. In the U.S. as well as countries abroad, we are experiencing a global cultural shift in our values, morals, and history. 

Some of us respond as Elsa does, with a carefree (careless?) acceptance, not because she is a Nazi sympathizer, but because she doesn’t want to lose her money or position in society, even if her narcissism costs her a marriage to the Captain. Her fear of being left out of society ingratiates her to the new regime.

Others of us respond as Max does: he wants to go along to get along. He does not support the Nazi agenda, but lacks the courage to stand against it. He is willing to compromise in order to avoid having any enemies. If he must join the Nazi party to avoid conflict, he is willing to do so.

Some of us are like Rolf who is young and easily lured into Hitler’s new ideas. Joining the party gives him a sense of purpose, acceptance into a brotherhood, authority, and an impressive uniform — external forms of identity.

Or perhaps we have the courage of Captain von Trapp, who takes a stand against the Anschluss. He refuses to fly the Nazi flag. He realizes this means he must flee his beloved country or be taken prisoner (or worse). 

Underneath the unfolding love story, the innocence of the children, and the religious fervor of the Abbey is the rumbling of an oncoming evil. When the children sing “Lonely Goatherd,” a thunderstorm rages in the background. Hatred and destruction are brewing just beneath the surface of every scene. There is always something unspoken.

Our audiences will likely be shocked — even appalled — at the display of Nazi flags in the concert hall scene. Although the Nazi symbol fills us with horror and disgust, we must not forget that there was a time when most of Austria and Germany proudly waved this flag and hung it from every door and window. Uniformed with Nazi armbands and insignias, they saluted and heiled each other. It is a chilling reminder of what people have done and is an admonition not to allow history to repeat itself — in any form — today or ever.

The characters of Elsa and Max may seem endearing and likable. The arguments of Franz, Zeller, and Rolf may seem convincing. Are we any less influenced by the attractiveness of a cause bigger than ourselves? Would we dare to swim against a cultural stream contrary to our convictions? 

This well-loved story is a timeless mirror to our current time and a reminder of what can happen when we sacrifice convictions on the altar of acceptance and false security, and the unexpected provisions that come when we stand for what is right.


Bakers and Helpers Needed: Imago Stage Company is looking for donations of snacks and beverages for our concessions at the upcoming performances of The Sound of Music, Nov. 11-20. If you are able to contribute something or help during our intermissions, please contact Judy DelRosario ( or drop off snack items to the church kitchen clearly marked for Imago Stage Company. Thank you!
Reminder: If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to fill out Fr. Brian's survey for discerning together God's calling on our parish. 
Upcoming Events: We will observe World Adoption month in November.
Collect of the Week
Proper 28

Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people; that bringing forth in abundance the fruit of good works, they may be abundantly rewarded when our Savior Jesus Christ comes to restore all things; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

If you have a prayer request or praise that you would like included on the prayer insert in an upcoming service program, please fill out this form.
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