WAITSFIELD - The life of the last of the original Trapp Family Singers came to an end Oct. 11, 2007. Accomplished singer and musician Werner von Trapp, who died at age 91, is buried in Waitsfield. While he is no longer with us, von Trapp's memory - and the memory of all the original Trapp Singers - lives on in Vermont and beyond.
Werner von Trapp was the son of Austro-Hungarian Navy Capt. Georg von Trapp. Singer Maria (Kutschera) von Trapp, a former Benedictine novice, was his stepmother.
Von Trapp was made famous, along with the rest of his family, in the Rogers andHammerstein production of "The Sound of Music" on Broadway and in the movies. Von Trapp was best known as the accomplished tenor of the family choir.
Released in 1965, the film version portrayed Werner as a character named Kurt. Actor Duane Chase portrayed Kurt/Werner in the movie. Trapp family members have expressed mixed to negative feelings about the accuracy of their portrayals in"The Sound of Music". No matter, the play and movie made the family famous.
The Trapps escaped Nazi-run Europe when Capt. von Trapp refused a commission in the navy of Nazi Germany. The family soon settled in Vermont.
The Stowe area reminded Maria von Trapp of the foothills of her beloved Austrian Alps. Nearby, Werner owned and operated a successful dairy farm.
Von Trapp became a naturalized United States citizen while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. He was the grandfather of Sofia, Melanie, Amanda, and Justin, the current incarnation of the Trapp Family Singers.
Today, the grandchildren keep the famous family tradition alive - they call themselves the Von Trapp Children singers. And the Vermont hills are, again, alive with the sound of music.