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Modern Parenthood

Sound of Music: Von Trapp family snubs NBC casting

'The Sound of Music': Carrie Underwood tries her best, but nearly ruins one family’s love for “The Sound of Music” and the Von Trapp Family.

By Correspondent / December 6, 2013

The Sound of Music: Carrie Underwood, shown here with the von Trapp family children, starred in the NBC live performance of 'The Sound of Music' last night.

Will Hart/NBC/AP

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After Carrie Underwood performed the “The Sound of Music” in a live broadcast last night, the von Trapp family and mine found we couldn’t solve a problem like awful acting. Hopefully Ms. Underwood’s performance won’t make the next generation take the musical off their list of “favorite things.”

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Correspondent

Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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“It’s just upsetting that this could potentially be the final broadcast of our story,” Myles von Trapp Derbyshire told ABC upon first hearing that Underwood would play his great grandmother Maria, originally played by Oscar-winner Julie Andrews in the 1965 film, "The Sound of Music." One can only imagine what he thought of the actual performance.

“And although her voice is amazing, she doesn’t have acting experience,” Mr. Derbyshire told ABC “It’s just the overall image, she’s a country star, she won ‘American Idol,’ she’s very public in kind of a tabloid way.”

It was hard for me to tell exactly what my 10-year-old son was saying with the couch pillow over my head, but it sounded like, “Can we make this stop now?”

I have to add that while I absolutely adored Stephen Moyer as Captain Von Trapp, for both his singing and acting talent, it was not lost on my kids that it was “Vampire Bill” from HBO’s “True Blood.”

It was a distraction that proved impossible for them to overcome when watching the show.

As they say in “True Blood,” it all added up to “the true death” of a family tradition at our house.

For me and my family, “The Sound of Music” offers a soundtrack that has played through many scenes in our lives.

I grew up singing every song from the film score, particularly, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” when the nuns at the abbey lament the capricious ways of the main character.

Quin, 10, has been singing, “Do-Re-Mi” since he took his first music class in school.

During each and every thunderstorm of my childhood my mother sang “My favorite things” to me and in turn I sang it to each of my four sons when we lived aboard a sailboat and the thunder was upon us.

When the dog bites,

When the bee stings,

When I'm feeling sad,

I simply remember my favorite things,

And then I don't feel so bad.

It’s just a shame that we couldn’t sing that song while Underwood was acting the scene because singing it just reminded us of Underwood acting the scene.

At age 16, "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" was my favorite song.

When one of my kids asked me what yodeling was I taught them “The Lonely Goatherd” song.

My first born was a colicky baby and the song that I crooned every night was "Edelweiss."

I am notorious for chirping an overblown campy rendition of the "So Long, Farewell" song at my kids when they resist bedtime. I even wave each one off, just like in the movie. You never saw a kid run for the cover of his bed so fast!

So, here was the golden opportunity to share one of my favorite things with my youngest and while Underwood’s voice was lovely, the acting was so cringe-worthy that my son can’t even hear one of the songs without groaning today.

I was humming the opening theme as I made French toast this morning and Quin shouted, “Please not ‘The Sound of Music.’ I just want it out of my head.”

Perhaps the solution, as with so many of childhood’s upsetting moments, is to turn the record over by taking the family out to a Sound of Music Sing-Along movie experience.

Movie goers at a sing-along are each issued a bag of props that are used on cue as the audience participates in the film. Sort of a family-friendly, Rocky Horror Picture Show-style experience.

Meanwhile, we can rent the Julie Andrews version and continue to weather the storm while trying to forgive and forget by recalling our favorite things about Ms. Underwood.

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