Off Beat: Camas man's oboe in classic 'Sound of Music' film

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 
photoCamas musician Peter Christ

During Julie Andrews’ twirl around a mountain meadow, the hills are alive with the sound of a Camas musician and about 70 orchestra mates.

We all know the scene. And many of the following songs are so ingrained in our pop culture that NBC was hoping for a ratings bonanza with them Thursday, when it aired a live telecast of the Broadway version of “The Sound of Music.”

Rewind back to the 1960s, when Peter Christ was a busy working musician in Los Angeles. He looked through the music for this job and saw songs like “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and “My Favorite Things.”

“I was not familiar with it,” the oboe player said.

“I don’t know how long it was on Broadway” before it became a film, Christ said.

That’s because he’s always focused on classical music. But he does like the music on the soundtrack, Christ said, and he appreciates the impact of Andrews’ opening scene.

“Everyone can remember her up on that mountain,” he said.

The orchestra got a sneak peek, well ahead of filmgoers, although the conductor got a better look.

“They showed the movie behind us,” Christ said. “The screen was behind the orchestra. The conductor was looking at it and would conduct to match what was happening on the screen.

“I can remember Julie Andrews running up to the top of the hill, starting to sing.” A sound man cut off her vocal track, “and that’s when we started playing.”

While they didn’t know the film would become an all-time classic, “We knew Julie Andrews’ reputation and figured it was a fairly big one,” he said.

And his contribution? Well …

“I’ve seen the thing a couple of times. I can’t say I hear myself,” Christ said.

Christ didn’t run right out to a theater, either.

“I don’t think I saw the movie for 10 or 20 years. That’s typical,” said Christ, whose other film work includes “My Fair Lady.”

“There are some I still haven’t seen, and some had a lot of oboe in them,” he said.


Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story or just tell a story.