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‘The Sound of Music’ — the Marshall connection

August 13, 2012
By Ellayne Conyers , Marshall Independent

Part IV:

Although Lynne remembers fondly those years when she and other college students would spend their summers at the Trapp Family Lodge waiting on tables and giving a musical concert after the meal, the Lodge no longer offers this unique experience. Even though it "was a ton of fun" it proved to be very inefficient.

Music is still very much a part of the Trapp Family Lodge experience though. There are three harpists who alternate playing music in the dining room, and a pianist alternates with a flute and guitar duo in the lounge.

Although the stables are no longer in use, Lynne did run this separate business for many years with the help of some employees. Running the stables was an appealing job for Lynne as she had always loved horses and had grown up with them in Marshall. When she was 8 years old her parents gave Lynne, her older sister Jan and younger brother Phillip a choice between a television set or a horse. Lynne and Jan out-voted Philip and the family got a horse. So it was a natural transition to care for the horses in the pastures and farmland that adjoin the Lodge.

It was exciting for Lynne to move from the southwestern prairie of Minnesota to the beautiful mountains of Vermont. She had always enjoyed winters in Minnesota but had never skied. In Vermont she learned to enjoy cross-country skiing and downhill skiing as well. She also continued with her singing, joining the church choir right away, auditioning with and joining the outstanding choirs in Burlington, Stowe and Montpelier. But after the von Trapps became involved in ranching out west where they spent four to six months a year, she had to give up the choirs, except for church choir.

For the past six years, Lynne has served as executive director of the Vermont Children's Trust Foundation and presently serves as president of the board. VCTF is a statewide board whose mission is to promote healthy children, families, and communities by raising funds and awarding grants to community-based prevention programs. Since 1985, she has served as trustee and treasurer of the Stowe Free Library, and has been program director for the Stowe Performing Arts for the last 10 years. The major annual event for SPA is a summer concert series in the Trapp Family Meadow, with performances by groups such as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, The Empire Brass, Asleep at the Wheel, and Diana Krall. Lynne currently chairs a committee to raise $200,000 for the restoration of the pipe organ at the Stowe Community Church.

Lynne fondly looks back at her years growing up in Marshall, and living here during the golden era of prosperity that included a strong value system that we all experienced following the Second World War. The schools were at their peak, whereas now school systems seem to struggle. She remembered the wonderful combination of School Superintendent Lester Frey and Principal Merrill Olson. She remembered receiving an excellent background in English that she calls on all the time when writing or speaking - the grammar and the vocabulary taught by Mr. Conyers. Then there was Donn Mattson, the music teacher who she had from seventh grade through 12th grade and who worked so well with students.

The student sports teams were wonderful, and there was so much enthusiasm in the student body for the teams. "I was a cheerleader the year we won the state championship in basketball (1963). So I was a state champ cheerleader."

In closing the interview, Lynne added the following: "I really value having grown up here in Marshall. I value the people that I knew growing up here, and what that has given me as an adult - this is very important to me. It was not easy marrying into such a big family and living so near them. I found that I had to have a lot of inner strength to stay true to myself. I had some struggling with it, but I have grown to be true to myself, and yet remained true to my heritage here. Right now, this summer, Johannes and I are building a new house and there have been a lot of decision to make. Therefore, I wasn't planning on coming back to Marshall this summer, but a couple of months ago I told Johannes that I needed a Minnesota 'fix,' that I needed to go home. And he understood. It really means a lot to me to come back and connect with my family and to see college and high school friends."

SOURCE: Volume 8, No.1, 2000 of "The Lyon Tale," by Ellayne Conyers.

Oral interview with Lynne von Trapp, Aug. 4, 1999, by Ellayne Conyers.

"The World of The Trapp Family" by William Anderson, 1998.

Fourteen years after interviewing Lynne von Trapp, it was special to meet her again and meet her husband, Johannes, for the first time. Also I visited with their children, Sam and Kristina, and their two little girls. Sam told me that he has run the Trapp Family Lodge for the last five years. Also visited with Lynne's older sister, Jan, and her younger brother, Philip. It was a wonderful reunion with Marshall people in the celebration of Lynn's mother Stella's 100th birthday.



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