Maria von Trapp died last week at age 99 of natural causes, near the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont. She was the third of seven von Trapp children, and she had previously been a missionary in Papua New Guinea and an Austrian dance teacher at the lodge. As a child, Maria contracted scarlet fever, which made her too weak for school; she was tutored at the von Trapp home by her future stepmother, Maria Kutschera, who was played by Julie Andrews in the movie. On the Von Trapp family site, Maria wrote:
Our second mother belonged to a youth group called Neuland, which favored classical music and Austrian folk music. Through this group, we were exposed to madrigals and masses by Mozart and Hassler, which we easily mastered. We also discovered we had all the voices necessary for four-part music: Agathe and Johanna were highest with First Soprano voices; Martina and I were Second Sopranos; Hedwig was Alto; Werner was Tenor; and Rupert was Bass. We wanted to sing all the time but never thought about singing in public.
Oh, but then! RIP, Maria.