Sing-A-Long-A-Sound of Music

By Shannan Mashburn • SMN Intern

Singing, lonely goat herders, nuns, and Julie Andrews are just a few things Western Carolina University’s Bardo Arts Center will be prepared for on Father’s Day with the “Sound of Music” sing-a-long event.

At 3 p.m. June 17, participants of the sing-a-long will watch “The Sound of Music” with the subtitles so they can sing along with their favorite tunes. They’ll also receive a “magic moments pack” that contains all of the props participants will need to enjoy the event. Everyone is encouraged to design his or her own unique costumes for a parade that will take place after the screening of the timeless movie.


Paul Lormand, the director of the Bardo Performing Arts Center, estimates the event will be about three hours and 30 minutes long.

Lormand got the idea from the North Carolina Presenters Consortium. The consortium consists of about 100 people across North Carolina that represent the three ‘C’s of arts – college, community and commercial. Someone pitched an idea during a meeting at UNC Pembroke where an off-Broadway booking company provides a master of ceremonies to engage the audience in participating in a sing-a-long event.

“It’s a global thing,” said Lormand.

The company in charge of the production, Sing-a-Long-a, has traveled all over the world with the show. They have performed everywhere from the United Kingdom to the Hollywood Bowl, where the show has sold out nine times. The “Sound of Music” is not the only sing along event that Sing-a-Long-a does. They also produce sing-alongs with “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Hairspray,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Grease.” Sing-a-long-a “Sound of Music” has been on tour in the UK since January 2000 and has been in America since September 2000 when it was launched at the Zeigfeld Theatre in New York.  

Lormand said nostalgia is what drove him to bring the event to WCU. He remembered going to an event when he was younger where they did a sing along with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” It was very popular at midnight showings, he said.

Lormand sent out letters to subscribers and friends of the arts about the “Sound of Music” sing-a-long and sent home 4,000 fliers in the book bags of Jackson County School students. Lormand is hoping for a large turnout and hopes people will bring their fathers because there really isn’t much out there that is special for children to do with their fathers on Father’s Day. The show “is very entertaining,” he said, and “It’s a good communal experience, but it will only work with audience participation.”

The Sound of Music is based on a true story about an Austrian family in World War II. There is historical and emotional value to the storyline that most people can identify with. The movie even encourages children to ask their parents for a history lesson on WWII. Lormand recalled seeing the “Sound of Music” the first time with his family. “It was a better experience with them. I had a bunch of questions where my dad tried to explain to me about evil in the world,” he said.

The Von Trapp’s great great grandchildren performed at the Bardo Center a few years ago. The group is still popular because of the connection that people feel, said Lormand.

“I think there is a spiritual connection to this film,” said Lormand. “I think it says a lot about America that they (the Von Trapps) moved to Vermont, had a hotel and sold this idea to Rodgers and Hammerstein.”

Lormand recalls being 10 when the movie came into theaters.

“I think this show, whether you see it or participate in it, it has this lasting memory,” he said.

Lormand believes that the “Sound of Music” will continue to be shown throughout the ages because of its cross-generational appeal.

“I’ve always said, 600 years later, we are still doing Shakespeare. It still communicates to a contemporary audience. We can identify with King Lear and Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.”

As long as we continue to have war, Lormand believes that we will continue to have the “Sound of Music.”

Lormand estimates that “Do Re Me,” “Edlewise” and “Climb Every Mountain” will be three most popular songs from the movie and that “I’ve Got Confidence” will be the least popular. “I’ve Got Confidence” was added to the movie and was not part of the play. The song is ironic because Maria is singing about all this confidence she has built up inside her, but as soon as she reaches the door of the Von Trapp home, she loses all of that confidence.

Most people dress up as nuns, Maria or the children, but there are a few worldwide that have really outdone themselves. There have been goats, lonely goat herders, brown paper packages, and brown geese that fly with the moon on their wings. A large group of people got together, wore turf and called themselves the Alps. One Chinese lady dressed up as a Chinese woman named “So Long” from the song So Long, Farewell.

Lormand plans on attending the event as Mr. Von Trapp, who he has always admired as a father figure.

“I think he is a very interesting person. I think out of everybody in the movie he goes through the most character change,” he said.

So strap on your lederhosen, cut up the curtains, make your dresses and join the Bardo Arts Center in Sing-a-long-a “Sound of Music.”

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