Meet the Von Lantzes

Meet the Von Lantzes

Some people have weird families. Some people have insane families. But mine is just plain crazy. But not ordinary crazy—we are musically crazy. I remember one bumpy car ride which lulled into an entrancing boredom when my sister began to hum an obscure piece of music from the dark melodies of Carmina Burana. At first I groaned out of annoyance, but slowly I was drawn to the swift velocity in the notes and began to harmonize (one of the terrible traits of an odd family).

Soon my arm-waving mother, a professional violinist, and bouncy-haired father, a conductor of innumerable zany instrumentalists, joined in the tune, a usual occurrence in the Lantz family mini-van.

When we were frightened of the rain pelting bullets on the metal exterior or the bright streaks of lightening or the sound of wind driving against the walls of the car, we would quietly begin, “ninety-nine bottles of root beer on the wall…” until it transformed into a shrieking, “negative thirty-two bottles of root beer on the wall…”

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But it wasn’t until I was finally old enough to have my first “play date” that I realized how wacky my family really was. My friends’ quizzical faces puzzled me when I extricated all my board games from our disheveled closet: Name that Note, Musical Monopoly, and Music Trivia piled the rising stack. I was surprised to discover that most children did not own these games.

After Christmas dinner, we often unbuckled our violin and cello cases and slid out the piano bench for our family quartet. When I was eleven, my eyes strayed from my music and glided over the colorful packages under the tree. I imagined what surprises hid behind the wrapping and almost asked if we could open them when my attention was called back to the “rehearsal” as my father cried out, “one more time,” implying that we must play yet another verse (and another eight songs).

Whenever I practiced slurring through my scales or plucking my pieces, my parents cried out “C sharp. That note is too low!” and eventually came in to give me a lesson by lecturing me about the history of the music I was playing.

However, this passion for music has been passed down to me. When I boarded the frosted bus carrying us to a debate tournament at 6:15 on a Saturday morning with my sister, we squeezed our puffy jackets into a seat and began to hum.

She glanced at me, asking with her eyes whether now was the appropriate time for another excerpt from the Veggie Tales theme song. We sang, and the cluster of acne-ridden nerds, tone deaf though they were, finally joined the mayhem, “Broccoli, celery, gotta be… Veggie Tales. Cauliflower, sweet and sour, half-an-hour… Veggie Tales…”

Elin Lantz, staff writer