Calvert coming alive with musical sounds

Take 18 singing nuns, seven charming children, a teen romance and a handsome military officer falling in love with a fun-loving governess as war threatens their homeland. These elements add drama, suspense, humor and romance to the Calvert High School production of “The Sound of Music.”

Performances are to take place at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the school gymnasium.

The beloved musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II is based on the book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The story is set in Austria on the brink of the Nazi occupation of that country in the 1940s. The characters inspire courage, loyalty, faith and compassion as they struggle with relationships and a national crisis.

To open the play, the nuns from the Nonnberg Abbey sing and proceed into the hall for evening prayer. Next, the audience catches sight of a postulant, Maria, who is singing on the mountainside, oblivious of the time. The chapel bell tells her she is late and probably in trouble.

Indeed, two days later, Mother Abbess sends Maria off to work as a governess for Captain Von Trapp’s seven children.

Many people are familiar with the story. Maria teaches the children to sing and raises the spirits of the widowed captain who has shut out his children and masked his sorrow in military rituals. In spite of their age difference, Maria and the captain fall in love. After a brief honeymoon they rush home to the children in hopes of leaving the country together immediately. The sisters at the abbey and the couple’s knowledge of the mountain terrain enable them to outwit the Nazis and make a daring escape.

Cast as Maria is Monica Bickley, a product of seven Ritz Summer theater camps and several stage productions. She is able to assume Maria’s down-to-earth persona and handle the many vocal selections with her role: “The Sound of Music,” “My Favorite Things,” “I Have Confidence,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “The Lonely Goatherd,” “Something Good” and others.

Bickley also is serving as student director, with Amanda Traxler.

Playing Captain Von Trapp is Cayden Kapelka, who also has stage experience. In the roles of the children are Corinne Harris (Liesel), Isaac Best (Friedrich), Olivia Wagner (Louisa), Emma Melvin (Brigitta), Jackson Cook (Kurt), Kate Laney (Marta) and Mara Mangiola (Gretl).

Kory Wise portrays Rolf, the young messenger who sings “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” with Liesl.

Ellen Lange as Mother Abbess performs the inspirational “Climb Every Mountain.” Amanda Traxler, Alanna Widman and Amanda Martorana play Sisters Margaretta, Berthe and Sophia, respectively. They and the rest of the sisters’ chorus had to learn a bit of Latin for their songs.

Other students in minor roles, chorus or dancers are: Will Wagner (Franz), Jordan Gase (Elsa), Joseph Boehler (Max), Daniel Kwiat (Herr Zeller), John Hays, Connor Stocker, Breanna Stephens, Gabbi Hanna, Ceci Brodman, Alana Kennedy, Max Paul, Jackson Seislove, Kyle Kantner, Devon Stephens, Remington Marshall, Julianne Poland, Jadelyn Nye, Hanna Welter, Madison Schumacher, Gracye Powell, Madyson Deats, Chiara Powell, Allison Nye, Carmella Fabrizio, Nic Somodi, Anthony Traxler, Madison Daniel, Ian Warnement, Quinn Kantner, Cassie Recker, Devin Stith, Marilyn Seislove, Tami Weber, Patty Hayes and Laura Olarte.

Directed by Elizabeth Tracy, a talented orchestra accompanies the singers. The musicians include Cynthia Ramsdell, Seth Innis, Hannah Mathias, Kelsey Haynes, Robert Burdett, Lucas Walter, Regina Hoepf, Makenzie Honaker and Howard Cole.