By Matt Harron
Schaeffer Auditorium was filled with cheerful Christmas festivity and spirit on Friday, Nov. 2. KU Presents! featured Elisabeth von Trapp along with The Carolian Brass. Their performance entitled “The Sound of Christmas” filled the seats of Schaeffer Auditorium. A guest appearance was made by the Berks Youth Chorus, performing two tunes with Trapp.
The Carolian Brass set the pace of the show with their rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.” Festive decorating and lighting only complimented Schaeffer Auditorium’s Christmas appearance. Carolian Brass’ trombonists, Mark Hetlzer, introduced their second arrangement of Charlie Brown’s “Christmas Time is here”.
After a warm introduction, Trapp and her pianist, Douglas Major, joined the stage. Her acoustic guitar choice reinforces her father’s guitar playing as a child.
Trapp opened with her version of “O Come, O come, Emmanuel”. Her delicate voice and light touch on the strings brought a soothing feeling to the audience. She gracefully transitioned into a gospel rendition of “Hallelujah”, accompanied by Carolian Brass’ soft trumpet voice.
Trapp acknowledged Carolian Brass’ contribution as leave stage to rest their chops, “They have a soulfulness style when they play.”
As the brass transited off the stage, Trapp took a moment to farther introduce her motives as a performer. Her father, Werner von Trapp, Reading-native, inspired her to sing “The Hills are Alive”—one of her many covers from the movie “The Sound of Music.” The country-side of Kutztown reminded her of the early life she had in the Pennsylvania area.
Trapp added to the Christmas atmosphere, with rendition of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Trapp’s creativity shined with her music additional to the classic poem.
Following a brief intermission, Trapp re-entered the stage with Berks Youth Chorus. Their unity as performers was clear as they performed “My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi”. Trapp was able to queue the choir and the audience to recite all of “Do-Re-Mi”.
Berks Youth Choir member, Danielle Russell, was ecstatic to have the opportunity to perform with Trapp, “My favorite part was singing “My Favorite Things.”” Russell has been performing for two years now and aspires to become a singer and pediatrician.
For the remainder of the night, Trapp insisted on crowd interaction. Soon enough, the majority of the audience sang or hummed her next piece, “The First Noel.” Trapp’s voice resonated throughout Schaeffer’s well-proportioned acoustics; her distinctive voice appeared to differentiate from other singers.
Trapp continued to diversify herself as a performer as she embraced Pennsylvania Dutch roots. Her cover of “Silent Night” was sung in German and English. Her contrasting performance kept audience members engaged throughout the night.
Feelings of Christmas nostalgia and festivity closed out the night. As Trapp ended her performance with a piece from Mozart, the crowd responded with a standing ovation. Carolian Brass’ delegate tone and Trapp’s beautiful voice complemented one another in the final piece. Audience members left Schaeffer Auditorium with a heightened Christmas feeling of joy and peace.