>> write // blaaaags and reflections // biographical timeline
October: Christopher Joseph Rivera Trinidad is born on 30 October at 1.26pm to Jaime Onate Trinidad and Maria Asuncion Rivera Trinidad at Grace Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada weighing 8 lbs 15 oz and measuring 20 inches. Apparently, during Maria's pregnancy with Chris, she placed headphones by her tummy and played Beethoven and Mozart.
December: Chris receives the sacrament of baptism on 8 December from Father DW Neumann at Corpus Christi Church in Vancouver.
1982: Earliest memories of listening to late night pop radio where most of the music played is power ballads and slowjams. A Sanyo portable radio with double tape deck and ability to access FM, AM, two bands of Short Wave, and an ever present green neon light indicating the radio dial keeps Chris company as he lulled to sleep.
1983: First organ recital in front of father, mother, grandmother, and great aunt. Performance included Mary Had a Little Lamb and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
Early experiences in Montessori education. Discovered the joys of naptime and purple cabbage.
June: Graduates from Little Pixie Nursery School with teachers Mrs Joan Grossman, Mrs Joyce Simicak, Mrs Terry Wilson, Mrs Bunny Jang.
September: Chris enrolls at Ecole Saint Sacrement, a French immersion Catholic school led by the Soeurs du Bon Pasteurs de Quebec.
December: Chris's kindergarten teacher, Madame Bernou, writes in his first term progress report: "Christopher is always aware. He is conscientious in observing rules and regulations. He uses his time well. He is neat and careful with his handwork and his belongings."
March: Chris enjoys rudely interrupting and correcting his fellow classmates's pronounciation of French words during class reading time. Perhaps this is an early indication of a call to teaching. Then, at breakfast one Saturday morning, whilst eating Alpha-Bits cereal, and whilst reading the back of the box of said cereal, he notices a picture of a space shuttle and an astronaut. He decides instead that he wants to be an astronaut. Perhaps this fascination with space resulted in his later appreciation for the progressive/space rock of Pink Floyd.
January: Elementary music education consists of singing, recorder, Orff, and music appreciation ... in French. The music teacher at the time played a vinyl record where a French woman talked about the various instruments. The class dutifully took notes (en Francais!) and never saw actually saw any of these instruments demonstrated en vivo. At some point, he joins the school's fledgling choeur et orchestre noting that he was the only guy to join. This doesn't phase him, and in fact, he enjoyed the opportunity to practice his flirting skills. (!)
June: One of Chris's first grade teachers, Mademoiselle Hudon, writes in his year end progress report: "Christopher is a child who succeeds very well in all areas in class. He always works with interest and enthusiasm. His work is conscientious and tidy. However, sometimes he disturbs students around him. He can be more still. Heís an excellent pupil and a good classmate for everybody. Good luck in Grade 2. Bonnes vacances!"
October: Receives $5 from a family member for his birthday with a note indicating that the money is to be used for the creation of his future car. Chris guesses that at one point, he indicated to his relative that he wanted to build his own car rather than purchase one off a dealership lot. While he is many years removed from getting his driver's license, he notes that this particular moment signals his need to approach life from an eclectic and unique point of view and to bring disparate ideas together in hopes of developing creative approaches, solutions, and strategies to formulating an original philosophy of life. All of this, of course, at the age of 7.
December: Chris's second grade teacher, Mademoiselle Rodrigues, writes in his first term progress report: "Christopher is a bright and enthusiastic student. He participates well in class and is progressing well in all his subjects particularly reading. Christopherís work habits, however, in the last little while have not been as good as they were. Lately, Chris has been talking more than he should be and not completing his work in class. Chris has the ability to improve his standings in most of his subjects. He must make more of an effort to improve his work habits."
February: After a failed attempt at trying Jazz Dance, Chris joins the International Brotherhood of Martial Arts. Led by Sifu Pros Verceles, a former Philippines National Bureau of Investigation operative, this was Chris's first exposure to true mixed martial arts. Chris cross trains in Karate, Kung Fu, and Judo techniques; he distinctly remembers that he was told never to reveal how or where he was training.
May: Chris receives his first communion on 3 May from Pere Godard, SSS at Eglise Saint-Sacrement.
August: The son of a friend of Chris's father immigrates to Canada from the Philippines and stays with Chris's family for a year and a half. Chris looks up to him as the older brother he never had. His influence remains with Chris to this day: abstaining from alcohol, acquiring an affinity for Eighties music, how to discount peer pressure, and how to follow your own unique path.
December: Chris's third grade teacher, Madame Lisouska, writes in his first term progress report: "Christopher is an active and conscientious student. He seems to enjoy participating in all classroom activities, with enthusiasm. He contributes many good ideas in oral discussions. However, Christopher should put more effort in his homework."
March: Madame Lisouska makes the following comment in Chris's second term progress report: "Christopher is showing great interest in all subject areas. I am particularly pleased with his progress in reading and hope that Christopher will continue his good work habits."
August: Memories of entertaining visitors of the Trinidad household at the age of eight with Chris's melismatic vocal meanderings set to the backdrop of Eighties slowjams and power ballads.
Weekly visits to the local public library with mom and sister whets Chris's appetite for reading.
December: Chris's fourth grade teacher, Madame Szafnicka, writes in his first term progress report: "Christopher is a capable student, he is making good progress in all areas except problem solving. He is somewhat easily distracted from his work and that results in unfinished class assignments. He must make more effort to converse in French at school."
1989: Obligatory piano lessons are taken with a very patient and talented teacher Jana Kmodras. Chris does not take too well to regular practice but persists anyways, at the urging of his parents.
Morning drives to school with Broadway cast recordings of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon playing in Chris's mother's car tape deck proves instrumental in his later appreciation for musical theatre.
March: Madame Szafnicka makes the following comment in Chris's second term progress report: "Christopher has been working well this term and making progress in all subjects. I am very pleased with his attitude towards his work. He must make more effort to converse in French at school."
December: Mademoiselle Barker, Chris's fifth grade teacher, writes in his first term progress report: "Chris is a very bright student who maintains above average standing in most subjects. He has no difficulty understanding concepts. I encourage him to participate more willingly in classroom assignments and to concentrate on perfecting his work. He should read and write as much as possible in French to improve his grammar mark. I hope he will make more effort to speak French during the rest of the year."
1990: While at a family gathering, a family friend asks Chris if he had ever thought about becoming a priest. Seeing the quizzical look on his face, the charming older lady asks me about my favourite subject in school, to which I reply, "Science." In response, she says, "Oh, science and religion ... what a great homily you would make!" Eighteen years later, Chris would enter seminary studies not intending to enter consecrated life, but rather to deepen his knowledge of Catholicism, liturgy, and ministry.
March: Mademoiselle Barker makes the following comment in Chris's second term progress report: "Chris has worked much harder this term and has greatly improved in all subjects. He is more positive and participates in all activities. I am certain he will continue to excel. I thank him for all his help in the computer room. During the next term, Chris should work harder in music to improve his standing."
December: Madame Grenier, Chris's sixth grade teacher, writes in his first term progress report: "Christopher is an enthusiastic worker who takes his work very seriously. He needs to focus on improving his penmanship next term. Otherwise his basic skills are quite good. We congratulate him for the good job he is doing as one of the two morning computer monitors."
1991: Mrs Kmodras relents to Chris's requests to learn more popular piano pieces rather than stuffy classical music. First song learned in this new programme of study is Bryan Adams's 'Everything I Do'.
March: Madame Grenier makes the following comment in Chris's second term progress report: "Christopher is a good student who works very hard at achieving his goals. He now takes more time to produce good quality work, even in art. I congratulate him for his good art oratoire (public speaking) presentation."
December: Madame Pugh, Chris's seventh grade teacher, writes in his first term progress report: "Christopher is an achiever, with his mind set on success. He has very good language arts and mathematical skills. His understanding of computers and enjoyment of mathematical challenges show a strong analytical preference. In group work he is learning to listen to others and to share his ideas. Now, we need to encourage his art skills and to improve his careless handwriting."
March: Chris receives the sacrament of confirmation on 5 March through Archbishop Adam Exner at Eglise Saint-Sacrement and takes the confirmation name Arthur. He has no idea why he settles on this name, but perhaps this will be revealed in time.
Madame Pugh makes the following comment in Chris's second term progress report: "Christopher continues to handle the Grade 7 curriculum without difficulty showing strong ability in all areas although I see no improvement in artwork. In group work he is learning to be patient with other students and to encourage them to develop their ideas. This has been a very good term for Christopher."
April: Chris attends his first live Canucks hockey game at the Pacific Coliseum with his dad. The match was the final game of the best-of-seven first round series against the Winnipeg Jets. Chris and Dad witness a 5 - 0 victory while standing in the nosebleed section. Chris's lifelong passion for Canuck hockey is cemented in this moment.
June: Madame Pugh writes the final comment of the final progress report of Chris's elementary school career: "Christopher has completed an excellent yearís work. Continue to develop those good math and computer skills, Christopher and let us know how youíre doing in Grade 8. We will miss you."
September: Is exposed for the first time to the story of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice at Vancouver College.
Generally notices divisions of classmates into various cliques based on both ethnic heritage and music preferences. Chris observes that 'the homies' in Eighth grade are primarily Asian, listen to R&B and Hip Hop, and try to act African-American, a culture that Chris presumes 'the homies' really know nothing about save for what they see on TV and hear on the radio. The other group, 'the skaters' are primarily Caucasian, listen to Alternative and Classic Rock, are constantly at odds with 'the homies'. Chris is Asian [and Filipino-Canadian, to be more precise] and likes to listen to Alternative and Classic Rock. Clearly, he doesn't fit into the stereotype but is quite comfortable with this. While he has his preferences, he maintains an open mind toward all forms, styles, and genres of music. This open minded nature carries over into other facets of his life as well.
October: Gets back into martial arts, joining Shito-Ryu Itosukai Karate, and, begins again, at white belt. Recited before every practice are the five maxims of Shito-Ryu:
(1) Be moderate and courteous;
(2) Be righteous and have a strong sense of justice;
(3) Be modest in your words and actions;
(4) Respect others;
(5) Karate-Do is a lifetime study.
December: Achieves yellow belt in Shito-Ryu Itosukai Karate.
January: Begins composing geeky eight-bit electronic experimental music using Scream Tracker software and forms the 604 demoscene group Sonic Equinox to release them under various pseudonyms including Dark Avenger, Eternal Soldier, Illusionary Enigma, and finally Indigo Dreamer.
October: Joins the high school band program and interest in music grows through various instruments including the bass guitar and guitar, drum set and percussion, and, once again, the piano.
Gets his first bass guitar, a blue sparkle Series 10 with a P/J pickup configuration.
November: Walks into his college counselor's office to ask about the top jounalism programs in Canada. Reading the Vancouver Sun's sports section and keeping up with the Vancouver Canucks inspires Chris to consider a career in sports journalism. His counselor recommends that he check out Carleton University. Chris writes to Carleton University and within weeks receives a reply along with an application packet. There's a problem, however ... Chris is only in the ninth grade.
December: Achieves orange belt in Shito-Ryu Itosukai Karate.
April: Achieves green belt in Shito-Ryu Itosukai Karate.
Travels to Kelowna Jazz Festival where Mr Larry Olson give Chris his first gig: playing Tigers of San Pedro with the Junior Big Band.
July: Buys the Pink Floyd album entitled The Division Bell after reading about them in a book at the local library. Pink Floyd fuels Chris's musical imagination immensely. Chris then sets out to acquire every single Pink Floyd album available. There is something to Pink Floyd's music that was sufficiently different than anything else on the radio at the time.
August: Achieves blue belt in Shito-Ryu Seikokai Karate.
January: Desire to become a musician is fuelled by copious but equal amounts of progressive rock, alternative pop, and jazz fusion listening.
June: Becomes a member of the Interact Club of Richmond, a youth subsidiary of the Rotary Club International. Chris begins to appreciate the meaning and the role of service.
March: Forms Dramatic Adrift with Jon Leeson and various other musicians. Chris emulates and idolizes Pink Floyd guitarist and singer David Gilmour.
October: Elects Journalism/Writing 12 and writes for the Vancouver College students newspaper The Voice. Though Chris knows that he will not pursue a career in sports journalism, the desire to write is never far from the need to play music.
July: Begins work at Steveston Marine and Hardware and how learns to sell various Marine Electronics. Eventually, he and a coworker decide to pitch an idea which would allow the store to enter into the cyber world of eCommerce.
November: Writes another article for The Voice. This time, he tackles the topic of adolescent love. Clearly, he knows nothing of the subject. Content and subject matter are a little easier to convey, but clearly Chris needs to work on honing his writing skills. Best stick to the music.
January: Encounters the influential Religious Studies teacher Terry Shea who introduces Chris to the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell. This encounter influences Chris to pursue Theological Studies later in his career.
Still writing for The Voice, Chris tries his hand at music reviews. Chris's biases shine through. His journalism teacher, Mr Michael Lattimer reminds him that 'there has never been a monument built to a critic.' Chris begins to wonder of the value of judgment and criticism in the creation of art.
March: Embarks on an Encounter [Kairos] retreat. Another life changing and formative experience.
April: Joins the St Paul Youth Music Ministry where Chris is exposed to Contemporary Christian Music ... in a Catholic Church. This is the first time he's heard music other than the Seventies folk hum-and-strum.
May: After briefly entertaining the idea of becoming a computer programmer, Chris applies to the Capilano College Jazz Studies program. He clearly remembers the audition adjudicator saying that he had "about a sixty-five percent chance of getting into the program" based on his abilities. Chris feels quite heart broken about the stumble in his path toward becoming a professional musician but that all changes upon receipt of his letter of acceptance.
June: Chris looks at life on the road with the Vancouver College Jazz Band in his final submission to The Voice.
Graduates from Vancouver College HS and shares the graduating year music award with saxophonist Lawrence Chew.
July: Participates in Okanagan Summer School of the Arts where he meets many wonderful British Columbia based jazz musicians.
September: First year studies on bass guitar with Andre Lachance, voice with Steve Maddock, and ensemble with Brad Turner.
October: Forms Painted Blank with fellow closet prog rockers Matthew Rogers on guitar and Shawn Killaly on drum set during a break in Al Wold's lecture on the history of jazz.
November: While at a local garage getting his car's tires replaced, Chris decides to take a walk to the local Future Shop to pass the time. On a whim, he decides to purchase the Pat Metheny Group album entitled Imaginary Day. Another epiphany and similar to the experience with buying the Pink Floyd album a few years earlier, Chris sets out to explore the music of Pat Metheny.
August: Forms Iridium Records to release Painted Blank's debut self-titled disc which was recorded over the summer in Matt's basement.
September: Second year studies at Capilano College continues with Andre Lachance and Steve Maddock. Adds formal drum set lessons with Ken Moore.
Forms Beyond Inertia with shakuhachi player Alcvin Ramos, tabla player Neelamjit Singh Dhillon, and percussionist Nick Apivor.
February: Chris performs on the old Vancouver Television Morning Breakfast Show with Painted Blank.
April: Forms a songwriting collective known as Singles Songwriting with friends Gary DeGuzman and Bernadette Chik. The name comes from their relationship statuses and their desire to write "hit" singles. They work with fledgling artist Emily Quan in association with Apollo Angco and his management group Pogi Productions. They produce four demo-singles, none of which, sadly, have seen the light of day.
September: Third year studies at Capilano College continues on bass guitar with Chris Tarry and voice with Steve Maddock.
Summer: Holds a steady gig for the next five months at a little known dive on Homer Street in Downtown Vancouver called the Marine Club with the Aaron Hardie Quartet where Chris is able to put into practice what he has been learning at the college over the last few years.
November: Forms Iridium Publishing to organize Chris's growing catalog of pop songs, jazz compositions, and later, choral arrangements.
December: Aids in the formation of a band for Mark Berube and co produces his first disc titled Fire in the Blue.
Concludes the year with 25 gigs on record. Details are sketchy, but there were probably more!
January: Second release on Iridium Records is the Dramatic Adrift disc Nothing Personal featuring Chris and Jon Leeson playing all of the instruments with Matthew Rogers engineering.
Joins a fledgling dot com startup called Mega Site Software. The concept is sound and ahead of its time merging global reach with local relevance and content. The project dies before the end of the year due to lack of funding. Chris learns many important business concepts and marketing and branding ideas from this experience.
Studies drum set with Dylan van der Schyff. Dylan reveals several insights that help to solidify Chris's thinking about playing jazz. Dylan recommends that Chris focus on playing with people he gets along with rather than trying to "find the better players to play with" in order to improve as is often recommended by other jazz "professors" at Capilano College.
February: Helps form band for Amalia Townsend and co produces her debut self-titled disc.
March: Formally enters the Vancouver Afro-Caribbean music scene as a freelancing bass guitarist grabbing gigs with Ache Brasil. Reconnects with Nick Apivor.
July: Reforms Dramatic Adrift with Jon Leeson playing bass guitar, Ras Contractor playing lead guitar, and Chris playing drum set.
September: Skips school and records three bass tracks for Ache Brasil alongside Randall Stoll, Budge Schachte, and Nick Apivor at Riverside Studios with the fearsome bassist Rick Kilburn producing and closely watching his every move.
October: While continuing music studies, Chris also takes advantage of the opportunity to study basic web design and programming at Capilano College.
November: Starts his journey through Afro-Cuban and Salsa music with Marlin Ramzzini Orquesta thanks to Nick Apivor's recommendation. Most gigs are in Whistler and pay $100 per person. This being the peak skiing season, $100 does not cover a hotel room let alone a meal, and so he and fellow musician Davidian Chorley often brave the snowy and slippery two and a half hour drive back to Vancouver usually arriving at 5 AM.
December: At the end of the year, completes his first contract as a cruise ship musician onboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's [RCCL] Grandeur of the Seas with the Rosie Sosa Latin Quartet.
Concludes the year with 31 gigs on record. Again, details are sketchy, but there were probably more!
March: For a short while, gets involved in show promotions at the Purple Onion and forms the production company Elemental MusicWorks to support his pursuits. Iridium Records and Iridium Publishing are reorganized under the Elemental MusicWorks banner as parent company.
April: Records Sarah Marshall's debut album at the infamous The Factory studios in Vancouver.
Summer: Completes second contract as cruise ship musician, this time onboard the RCCL ship Explorer of the Seas with the Eduardo's Latin Trio. The rather banal tunes he plays is a great opportunity for Chris to concentrate on making his bass guitar playing technique as efficient as possible. Chris meets someone special.
September: Chris takes a class with Mark Battersby in Critical Thinking. His teaching and the content have a profound effect on Chris's thinking.
October: Begins to think more seriously about the teaching field after a chat with a good friend in the foyer of the Capilano College music department.
Only 10 gigs recorded this year. Surely there were more, but one can't be too sure!
May: Graduates from Capilano College with a Bachelor of Music degree, a Diploma in Jazz Studies, and a Certificate in Online Publishing.
Summer: Completes third and final contract as a cruise ship musician, this time onboard the RCCL ship Voyager of the Seas with his own Grupo Candela featuring ex-Painted Blank bandmate Matthew Rogers on guitars and drum machine (!) and Ricardo Khayatte on lead vocals and keyboards.
August: Applies for and enrolls in the Teacher Education program at the University of British Columbia. With the magic of technology, he registers for his courses online after leaving the port city of Cozumel, Mexico cruising the cerulean sea at eighteen knots.
December: Begins recording the Dramatic Adrift disc Catharsis Theory for release on Iridium Records.
30 gigs recorded this year. The record-keeping gets better.
April: Before the conclusion of practicum, St Thomas More Collegiate hires Chris to establish a music department. Over the next five years, his duties would include coordinating music education, directing choral studies, and conducting the Collegiate Chorale, Twelfth Avenue Vocal Jazz, and the Voices Utopia Chamber Choir [VUCC].
May: Following a year of intensive coursework, and after a successful practicum working with Greg Quan [choral] and Dave Fromager [instrumental], Chris bids farewell to the many fine student-musicians at RC Palmer Secondary School in Richmond, BC.
July: Begins recording Brave Waves project with Joe McDonald and Neelamjit Singh Dhillon at Gordon Breckenridge's Dreamtheory studios.
September: A few days into his teaching career, several guys ask Chris to help them start a badminton team. He consents to aid them in their quest if they agreed to convince four other guys to join the choir. A deal is made: Chris learns how to coach [even gets certified!] and play the game [the last time he played was in elementary school!], and the choirs enjoy singing with a balanced group ever since.
November: Chris earns a Bachelor of Education degree, certification from the BC College of Teachers, and the Don Wright Scholarship in Instrumental Music Education for that year.
December: A slight dip as only 27 gigs were booked. It was a busy year given Chris's activities in teaching and education.
January: Chris continues to freelance in the Vancouver music scene while teaching full time. He forms the Common Themes projects dedicated to bringing together musical friends and associates to perform and record his original music.
Records the first disc in the Common Themes series with Nick Apivor, Budge Schachte, Davidian Chorley, and his old band teacher on drum set, Larry Olson.
He joins the Jubilate! Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr J Scott Goble.
June: Chris performs on Shaw Cable's Urban Rush with Sarah Marshall.
July: Records the second disc in the Common Themes series with Aaron Hardie, Paul Miyai, and Morgan Childs.
October: In just his second year of teaching, Chris is asked to mentor a student-teacher from the University of British Columbia. He is elated and humbled at such a task, and it turns out that the student-teacher assigned to him is none other than an old Capilano College classmate the very musically gifted Neelamjit Singh Dhillon.
December: Gigs are trending upward with 41 total booked for the year. Still rather low, but each engagement was worth it!
April: The VUCC record their first disc.
May: Desiring to grow further intellectually and searching for different ways to effect change in music education practice leads Chris to the wonderful world of scholarship and graduate work at the University of British Columbia with Dr J Scott Goble as his mentor. He begins work on a Master of Arts degree in Music Education.
July: Chris becomes a member of the MayDay Group, a unique international community of scholars and practitioners whose purpose is to apply critical theory and critical thinking to the purposes and practices of music education, and to affirm the central importance of musical participation in human life, and thus the value of music in the general education of all people. Attends the MayDay Group Colloquium XVI and joins as webmaster for the group site.
September: Chris takes a hiatus from Jubilate! and joins the Corpus Christi College Chamber Choir under the direction of Tony Araujo.
Continues work with the MayDay Group redesigning and revamping the group website and also becomes a member of the production team for its associated eJournal called Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education.
December: A slight dip compared to the previous year's freelance work. 36 gigs in total for 2005.
February: Chris mentors a student-teacher from Simon Fraser University.
Attends the Called and Gifted Retreat for faculty and staff who work for the Edmund Rice Christian Brother schools of North America. Meets Al Widziewicz and shares a walk, a good conversation, and ideas on youth spirituality.
May: Size of the St Thomas More Collegiate music department necessitates hiring an additional music specialist.
The VUCC and the Collegiate Chorale both earn a gold standing from the Anaheim Heritage Music Festival.
June: Chris audits a conducting class with Dr Wayne Jeffrey at UBC. Chris adjusts his concepts of gesture following this period of study.
July: Chris performs in the Vancouver International Jazz Festival with the Benavides Brothers.
Records the third disc in the Common Themes series with Jared Burrows, Len Aruliah, and the inimitable Stan Taylor.
August: Chris receives the 2006 Dean of Education Scholarship from the University of British Columbia for his scholarly work and service to the field of music education.
Chris attends the BC Choral Federation Choral Directorship Course and studies conducting privately with John Trotter.
September: Chris guides two student-teachers this school year, one from Simon Fraser University and one from the University of British Columbia.
Begins building his guitar under renowned luthier Mike Kinal's watchful eyes and alongside other high school students taking his Guitar Building class.
October: Chris takes on the coeditorship of the British Columbia Music Educators's Journal where he is given free reign in writing wisecrack editorials and joins the executive of the British Columbia Music Educators's Association as a member-at-large.
A life changing event occurs on the celebration of his birthday.
December: Chris nearly doubles the previous year's number of live engagements and ends the year with 68 engagements.
January: Chris begins a one and a half year stint with Johnny Montuno: The John Korsrud Latin Jazz Extravagant Experience Ensemble playing every Sunday night at the Libra Room. It is with this group that Chris would develop a personal concept of latin jazz bass guitar playing, exploring several demented chords, and playing excessively in the saddest of all keys, D minor. ;)
April: The VUCC and the Collegiate Chorale participate in the Seattle Heritage Music Festival where both groups earn gold standing.
The VUCC earns the David Ouchterlony Award and the Charles and Helen Young Scholarship from the Vancouver Kiwanis Festival.
May: Performing Arts British Columbia awards VUCC first place ranking as top choir in the province in their division. This award includes a nomination to the Federation of Canadian Music Festivals National Music Festival where they earned a second place national result.
The group also competes in the Fraser Valley Kiwanis Festival where they earn a gold standing and an invitation to MusicFest Canada for the following year.
The VUCC record their second disc titled An Expedition of Faith.
June: Travel: Flys to Washington, DC to take part in MusicaSacra Colloquium XVII sponsored by the Church Music Association of America held at the Catholic University of America. At this gathering, he learns about the rich history and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church's sacred liturgical music: Gregorian Chant and Renaissance Polyphony. Chris also takes the opportunity to study with chironomy with chant scholar Scott Turkington. Upon his return to Vancouver, Chris continues his investigation of chant and chironomy with Fr Lawrence Donnelly and the St Jude Schola Cantorum.
Reconnects with a special someone he met while working on the Explorer of the Seas in 2001 and travels to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet, again!
September: Following a strong desire to learn about his roots and to share these explorations with other young people, Chris forms the Kaisahan Voice Ensemble, a community chamber choir dedicated to exploring choral music written or arranged by Filipino composers, and compositions inspired by Philippine history, culture, and society.
October: Chris is selected to join the Edmund Rice Active Contemplative Committee to form community with a number of like-minded laity working in schools all over North America inspired by the charism and philosophies of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers. He begins to conduct informal research in order to develop a personal philosophy of education based on Edmundian principles.
December: An even 100 gigs performed this year.
January: A moment of joy for Chris as a former student-musician from RC Palmer becomes his fifth student-teacher. This same person is selected to succeed Chris as director of choral studies at St Thomas More Collegiate during Chris's sabbatical year.
Chris visits the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley to explore the possibility of studying theology during a sabbatical year. During the same visit, Chris walks into Black Oak books and notices a special journal which he subsequently purchases.
February: On a subsequent visit to California, Chris visits the Mission Basilica of San Carlos Borromeo of Carmel where Junipero Serra is buried. Upon entering the mission, a docent hands Chris a holy card of Junipero Serra with a quotation that Chris finds encouraging.
April: The VUCC earn the Jean Beaty Memorial Scholarship from the Vancouver Kiwanis Festival.
May: The VUCC and the Collegiate Chorale travel to Ottawa to compete at MusicFest Canada where they earn a gold standing. Chris has fond memories of this particular trip and considers it the pinnacle of his teaching career thus far. He recalls that some eleven years back, he participated in this very festival as a high school student-musician.
With all of the successes and blessings he and his choirs have received in the competitive arena, he is always reminded of the origins of the word competition: to strive and to seek, together.
The Kaisahan Voice Ensemble are featured on CBC Radio One/Early Edition Asian Heritage Month special titled Under the Radar: From Manila to Metro Vancouver.
July: Chris is on faculty as small ensemble coach with the South Delta Jazz Workshop led by Jared Burrows. He is honoured to work with young musicians in a capacity other than being their immediate school teacher.
August: Chris completes his tenure as coeditor of the British Columbia Music Educator's Journal.
Chris completes building his guitar.
Chris performs in Festival Vancouver with the Benavides Brothers.
Chris releases the Common Themes series on Iridium Records.
As a recipient of a Tuition Scholarship, Chris relocates to the Bay Area in Northern California to pursue a Master of Theological Studies in Liturgical Studies degree at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley [JSTB]. While studying, he is also serving the community as Liturgical Music Coordinator.
Chris also receives a Professional Development Grant from the British Columbia Arts Council to study classical North Indian/Hindustani music at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California.
September: Chris joins the Philippine Saringhimig Singers as bass singer under the direction of George Hernandez.
October: Chris studies conducting with Jonathan Velasco of the Ateneo Chamber Singers.
November: Saint Albert the Great Catholic Church in Alameda, CA hires Chris as Music Minister and Choir Director.
Chris proposes to his sweetheart Pialeen Morales Vela on United States Thanksgiving Day, 27 November 2008. She says "Yes!"
December: Chris completes 103 gigs this year.
March: Collaborates with classmates from JSTB on a parish mission for the Catholic community of Most Holy Trinity parish in San Jose, California. Using the performing arts, in general, and music, in particular, as a backdrop and soundtrack to our lives a creative endeavor, two months in the planning and making, is conceived and brought to life. Chris presents his first parish mission talk entitled Beyond the Heart of Worship.
Officially resigns as Music Department Chair and Director of Choral Studies at St Thomas More Collegiate completing five years of service.
April: Saint Mary's College High School in Berkeley hires Chris to serve as Director of Campus Ministry starting in August of 2009.
While elated, Chris notices eerie similarities and interesting parallels between this school and his previous place of employ:
Both schools are independent non-diocesan Catholic schools;
St Thomas More Collegiate's acronym is STMC, Saint Mary's College High School is StMC(HS);
St Thomas More Collegiate is operated by the Christian Brothers [CFC, Edmund Rice Christian Brothers], Saint Mary's College High School is operated by the Christian Brothers [FSC, Brothers of the Christian Schools];
St Thomas More Collegiate is staffed by three Christian Brothers [CFC], Saint Mary's College High School is also staffed by three Christian Brothers [FSC];
St Thomas More Collegiate operates under the President and Principal model of governance, Saint Mary's College High School also operates under the President and Principal model of governance;
St Thomas More Collegiate has two patrons: Saint Thomas More and Blessed Edmund Rice, Saint Mary's College High School has two patrons: Saint Mary and Saint John Baptist de La Salle;
St Thomas More Collegiate is located right on the border of Burnaby and New Westminster, BC, Saint Mary's College High School is located right on the border of Albany and Berkeley, CA;
St Thomas More Collegiate opened its doors in the Sixties [September 1960], Saint Mary's College High School opened its doors in the Sixties [August 1863];
St Thomas More Collegiate went co-educational in the Nineties [September 1998], Saint Mary's College High School went co-educational in the Nineties [August 1995];
and, both schools's colours are ... red and white!
June: Completes a Level One/Beginner's Guitar Craft Course led by Robert Fripp, Luciano Pietrafesa (tai chi and guitar buddy), Martin Schwutke (guitar buddy), Leonardo Requejo (guitar buddy), Sandra Bain Cushman (alexander technique), Brad Stoller (alexander technique), and Frank Sheldon (himself). Another life changing event: new insights and knowledge need time to be properly comprehended. He will start with learning how to walk again, to stand again, to sit again, to pay more attention, to be more aware, to recognize and appreciate silence, to practice alternate and cross picking, and to give, give, and ... give.
Completes his Curricular Practical Training as Music Minister and Choir Director at St Albert the Great Catholic Church.
Travel: Heads back to the Philippines after nearly 15 years away. Reconnecting with his ancestry and Filipino heritage, he realizes that Philippine culture has so much to offer the world. In particular, he begins examining the work of national hero and polymath Jose Rizal and philosopher and theologian Michael Moga.
August: Begins work as Director for Campus Ministry at Saint Mary's College High School. Becomes initiated into the charism of Saint John Baptist de La Salle.
September: Completes his tenure contributing four years of service as webmaster for the MayDay Group website and continues as a member of the production team for the group's eJournal Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education.
November: Chris earns his Master of Education in Music Education degree. He asks UBC to mail it to him. Upon reflection, he realizes that the credentials really don't matter to him as much as the journey, the friends encountered, and the knowledge gained. Chris sees the role that formal education plays in his life: ultimately the knowledge gained is not merely to be held in the recesses of what remains of the storage space that is his brain, but is meant to be shared with as many people in a humble and charitable way.
December: Chris's busiest year on record! A whopping 129 gigs including part time high school teaching and full time school. Somehow, he survives with sanity intact!
January: After a debilitating week and a half recovering from H1N1, Chris immediately gets to work on writing and arranging the choral music for his wedding mass.
March: Chris is involved in Vocal Direction for the musical Godspell at Saint Mary's College High School. He also plays in the pit band.
April: During Easter break from Saint Mary's College High School, Chris sets to work on completing his Master of Theological Studies synthesis project entitled: "Toward Theological Foundations and Frameworks for Liturgical Music and Music Ministry in the Catholic Church." Over the course of 7 days at an average of 16 hours a day, going to sleep at 4 AM and rising at 10 AM, he completes his project culminating in 74 pages of written work. His advisors, Alejandro Garcia-Rivera of the Jesuit School of Theology and George Anton Emblom at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific approve his project.
May: Chris earns his Master of Theological Studies in Liturgical Studies degree. The whirlwind graduation weekend begins with a Baccalaureate Mass in the Gesu Chapel where, for the first time, Chris sits with the assembly to participate and pray as a "person in the pew," so to speak. Janet Sullivan Whitaker leads the music ministry and sings a song based on the Ignatian prayer Suscipe during the post-communion meditation that Chris wrote for the Jesuit School of Theology community. At precisely the moment she began to sing, an intense beam of sunlight shone through the window and bathed Chris in warmth and light. He closes his eyes, savors the moment, and realizes that God put him where God needed him to be. Amen.
June: Christopher Joseph Rivera Trinidad marries Pialeen Morales Vela at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, CA in the presence of God, family, and friends. The Saringhimig Singers accompany the mass with Chris's choral music. The reception is held at Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery in Pleasanton, CA.
Travel: Shortly thereafter, Chris and Pia whisk away to Barcelona to board the Brilliance of the Seas for a Twelve Night Mediterranean Cruise (Barcelona, Spain; Cannes, France; Naples, Italy; Rome, Italy; Venice, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Greece) bringing full circle their initial meeting in the Caribbean on the Explorer of the Seas some nine years ago. He thinks to himself that he should have written to Royal Caribbean and to Facebook asking them to be the primary corporate sponsors for the reception.
August: Chris begins his second year at Saint Mary's College High School. As part of his morning ritual, he begins regular consumption of one-cup-a-day of coffee in order to keep up with his fast-paced colleagues.
Chris leads his colleagues in a faculty retreat at Saint Joseph's Camp by the Russian River. The title: "Change is Evitable; is Growth Optional? Looking at Prayer and Community."
Forms the co-curricular group Magnificat Chamber Singers at Saint Mary's College High School.
September: Much collaboration ensues between Chris and a colleague. Their workspace is dubbed 'the lab' which is short for colLABoration-LABoratory. Many ideas are furnished, debated, considered, and brought into the world. The Lab becomes a place of laughter, of heightened thinking, and a dispensary of wisdom from frequent visitors.
October: Chris is involved in Vocal Direction for the play-musical Mrs Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge at Saint Mary's College High School.
December: The liturgical season of Advent and the original "O Antiphons" sung during Vespers at this time inspires Chris to work on new music. Fresh from rediscovering Scream Tracker music he wrote in his teens and after setting up his new home studio, Chris commits to improvising/composing a single "audio sketch" a day over the course of seven days beginning on Friday, December 17 and ending on Thursday, December 23 using nothing but analog synthesizers and acoustic percussion. To help guide and to bring form to the formless, he explores the soundscapes of Robert Fripp, the world percussion playing of Airto Moreira, Trilok Gurtu, Arto Tuncboyacian, and Nana Vasconcelos, and the music of the world fusion group Codona.
A dip in the number of live gigs, but still a busy year nonetheless with 63 gigs recorded.
January: The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University asks Chris to act as mentor to two German-exchange theology students from the University of Munster. Their insight, freshness, and promise bring much life to The Lab.
February: Apologetics was never Chris's strong suit, yet he musters up some courage to defend his principles.
March: Chris attends the LA Religious Education Congress for the third time and chooses sessions focusing on Social Justice and Social Action. He begins forming and planning a performing arts-immersion experience for the Magnificat Chamber Singers for March 2012 to the Philippines. His hope is that his choristers will connect the value of music making for social change.
April: Chris conducts the Saint Mary's College High School production of Urinetown in what is possibly the most difficult conducting gig he has ever had to this point in his career. After several months preparing the ensemble cast vocally, his conducting skills and managing the pit band are put to the test over the course of three nights.
June: Travel: Chris and Pia fly up to Spokane, Washington to participate in the ordination and first mass of thanksgiving of their friend Radmar Jao, SJ at Gonzaga University. Chris experiences and then realizes, for the first time, the meaning of the communion of saints in Catholic tradition while Radmar lay prostrate on the ground in front of Bishop Blase Cupich. John Becker's rendition of the Litany of Saints was sung by the whole community present at Saint Aloysius Catholic Church, and I would bet that some of the saints in heaven were singing too.
Chris begins a new formation program in Lasallian Studies at Saint Mary's College of California. God willing, he will earn his third Master's degree in a couple more years. Why he decides to pursue yet another graduate degree, he has absolutely no idea. He thinks it has something to do with loving to learn!
August: For the second time, Chris leads his colleagues in a faculty retreat at Saint Joseph's Camp by the Russian River. The title: "Generosity in Sharing Our Stories; Generosity in Building Community."
September: Chris enrolls in the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment [BTSA] induction program and works with mentor Joy Lancaster. Even after several years of school teaching the process of refining one's craft is a lifetime process. On a practical level, the induction program is necessary for any out-of-country trained educator wishing to work in the California public school system. Chris looks at this opportunity to learn more about California state teaching standards and tries to ensure that he is faithfully meeting the requirements of his adopted home state.
October: As Chris goes through the BTSA program and as he attends to his varies duties at Saint Mary's College High School, he finds the work continuously challenging. The demands of high performance upon Chris are sometimes exhausting but he feels a true sense of growth in his pedagogical practice, and in particular, in his interactions with the various members of the school community. He continues to try his best with each endeavor trusting that he is planting seeds for the future.
December: Trending steady at 61 gigs total for the year.
January: Travel: Chris visits Las Vegas for the first time. The highlights for him include meeting up with his parents, going to Hoover Dam, and attending mass at Guardian Angel Cathedral. The rest was a yawner ... not much interest in overindulgence, in drinking, or gambling. He reaffirms his commitment to teetotalling.
March: Travel: Chris leads Saint Mary's College High School's first Philippine Immersion trip called Halika at Tingnan Mo (Come and See) with twelve students from the Magnificat Chamber Singers and an additional teacher. Connecting with the various Lasallian institutions in the Philippines was transformative. The schools are on the vanguard of progressive education and espouse critical, creative, and caring thinking. The group is treated with such generosity, hospitality, and kindness. One cannot help but be proud to be called Lasallian. Chris has interesting thoughts about potentially raising his future children in the Philippines because of the values, traditions, and experiences one can gain learning in such a vibrant setting.
April: Chris performs in the pit orchestra for the Saint Mary's College High School production of Seussical the Musical. After several months preparing the ensemble cast vocally, he smiles with satisfaction occasionally glancing at the stage to see his students sing their hearts out while seated on a stool and with bass guitar in hand.
May: Chris completes the requirements for the BTSA program.
July: Chris completes the second year of the Buttimer Institute for Lasallian Studies at Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga. He gains a deeper appreciation and knowledge of the enterprise known as the Lasallian Educational Mission and the many dedicated Lasallian educators who continue to champion the cause of providing a human and Christian education to those entrusted to their care. Amen. He begins work on his thesis project which is tentatively titled: "The Relationship of the Mission of the Institute of Brothers of the Christian Schools to Catholicity: Practical Implications for Religious Education and Campus Ministry."
August: Travel: Chris celebrates two years of married life with Pia (as his parents celebrate 35 years of marriage, and his sister and brother-in-law 4 years of marriage) on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Saint Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; Copenhagen, Denmark.
Chris is hired by Holy Names University Campus Ministry to lead their Music Ministry. He looks forward to learning more about Blessed Marie Rose Durocher and the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. He also sees the opportunity to learn more about Emerging Adult Spirituality from college aged students.
December: A slight tick upward with 71 gigs completed for 2012.
March: Travel: Chris coleads Saint Mary's College High School's annual Immersion Experince trip to El Salvador called Peregrinos De La Paz (Pilgrims for Peace) with eight students. Seeing the aftereffects of war upon the people in Guarjila, Chalatenango, El Salvador confirms for him the value of educational experiences outside of the classroom.
April: Chris appears on OurTeamOurWay.com, a tribute site for Canuck fans who showcase their love for their hockey team in various ways. Chris brings his Canucks jersey to El Salvador knowing full well that he is walking into Bruins territory. The leader of the Tamarindo Foundation, John Guiliano, was our host in Guarjila. Before becoming a community leader, he was a Jesuit seminarian. Before he was a Jesuit seminarian, he played professional hockey in the Boston Bruins system. He introduced the game to the Salvadorans, and they consequently won a Central American championship in in-line hockey. Today, he uses the sport to give young people of Guarjila hope and courage.
Chris performs in the pit orchestra as bass guitarist and is involved in Vocal Direction for the Saint Mary's College High School production of Hairspray.
July: Chris completes the third and final year of the Buttimer Institute for Lasallian Studies. The time he spent in formation and in community with like-minded educators has made an indelible mark on his heart. He continues work on his thesis project which has since been retitled: "Religious Diversity, Catholic Identity, and the Lasallian Educational Mission."
Travel: Chris celebrates three years of married life with Pia as he embarks on a trip to the Big Island of Hawai'i. Notable highlights include visits to the official southern mostpoint of the United States, the top of Mauna Kea, and coffee and macadamia nut planatations.
August: Travel: After a week back for laundry and recharging, Chris and Pia head back out this time to Singapore and Malaysia. To prepare for this trip, Chris soaks in the memoirs of Lee Kwan Yew, considered by many to be the father of Modern Singapore.
November: Chris completes the final requirements for the California Clear Teaching Credential for Music.
December: The liturgical season of Advent inspires Chris to write new music for what will become the Certain Times Suite. Exploring sketches that he accumulated over the course of the last ten years, he sets to work every night and over the course of seven days writes seven tunes.
Chris completes a total of 80 gigs this year, and sees him playing piano more than bass guitar. He figures he should get back to practicing his scales and chords if he is going to continue playing this much piano!
January: ... Canmerican? Amerinadian? Yannuck? Canukee?
March: Chris leads Saint Mary's College High School's annual Immersion Experience trip to visit De La Salle Blackfeet School in Browning, Montana. Oki Ni Soo Ka Wa (Come and See) gives Chris, a teaching partner, and twelve students a glimpse of life on the 'rez'.
April: Chris performs in the pit orchestra as drum set player and is involved in Vocal Direction for the Saint Mary's College High School production of The Wiz.
May: Chris is offered a position at De La Salle High School and decides to hit the reset button on his teaching career. Officially resigns as Director for Campus Ministry and Director of Choral Music at Saint Mary's College High School completing five years of service.
June: Records Chris Trinidad's Certain Times Suite at Megasonic Studios with Jeremy Goody engineering, Alex Conde on piano, Charlie Gurke on baritone sax, and Aaron Kierbel on drum set.
July: Travel: Chris and Pia head to Japan and South Korea for continuing adventures. After spending time visiting and sightseeing in various cities, Nagasaki proves to affect Chris profoundly. Hearing and reading about the stories of the hidden and persecuted Catholics, and the stories of the aftermath and effects of the atomic bomb teaches Chris the value of the freedom that is found in peace.
August: Begins a new chapter in his life as a teacher and lay ecclesial campus minister with the faculty at De La Salle High School. He joins this school community at a notable moment in its history as the school celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, as the school is constructing a series of new innovative buildings, and as a Hollywood movie is newly released celebrating the achievements of its legendary football program. The school also opens a new division called De La Salle Academy which provides a non-tuition driven middle school Lasallian education to the economically marginalized.
September: Begins chronicling some of the funnier occurrences of daily school life at De La Salle High School through Chris's blog entitled A Spartan Sense of Humour.
October: With the group Subla Neokulintang, Chris produces and releases its debut disc. This work continues his quest to better understand his roots as a Filipino while bringing to bear all of his current experiences as a musician.
December: Chris releases the Certain Times disc bringing to completion the work that started the year before.
Chris completes a total of 102 gigs. This is his busiest gigging year since 2009!
January: Begins the year by participating, as an adult leader on De La Salle High School's Kairos 94, the senior retreat experience. Chris earns a series of new nicknames through the course of the retreat. Among his favourites include: T-Dizz, T-Diddy, T-Daddy, and other variations. A blessed time, Chris appreciates the opportunity to accompany these young Spartans on this leg of their life journey.
April: While filling in as an interim accompanist at Saint John Vianney Catholic Church in Walnut Creek, CA, Chris experiences a particularly poignant and prayerful Easter Triduum celebration punctuated by the death of his Great Uncle Bob Peters.
June: Travel: Chris and Pia celebrate five years of wedded bliss reliving our initial encounter by sailing on the Explorer of the Seas on a 12 night jaunt beginning in London, through Galicia, Spain, portions of Portugal including the island of Madeira, Agadir and Taroudant in Morocco, and three Canary Islands. Our experience was punctuated by a particularly poignant and prayerful experience at mass in London's Westminster Cathedral where we were treated to the sung prayer of the famous Westminster Cathedral Choir.
September: After a year of working with De La Salle High School, Chris successfully completes the Knowledge and Skills Based Pay process by presenting his portfolio to a group of his peers. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve this particular community at this time in his career.
November: Chris participates in the debut performance of composer Nilo Alcala's work entitled Mangá Pakalagián featuring Subla Neokulitang and the Los Angeles Master Chorale under the direction of conductor and artistic director Grant Gershon. An incredible and exhilarating experience to sing in a space designed by architect Frank Gehry. The audience response to the work, which was inspired by traditional Maguindanaoan music, was breath taking.
December: Chris completes a total of 101 gigs for the year, mostly on piano.
January: '... ground control to major tom, commencing countdown engines on, check ignition, and may God's love be with you. thank you, #DavidBowie'
February: '... through devotion blessed are the children, praise the teachers, that brings true love to many. thank you, #MauriceWhite #ShiningStar'
April: Chris directs Kairos 101 [but, really, '100a'], his first for De La Salle High School.
'... dearly beloved we are gathered here to get through this thing called life. thank you, #Prince #PurpleReign #PurpleRain'
July: Travel: Chris and Pia travel to Venice, Italy and make their way through the Greek Isles and Ephesus, Turkey aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas in an incredible whirlwind tour marked by natural beauty, food, and various kinds of the colour blue.
Travel: After a week of rest, Chris accompanies his an old colleague and current students from Saint Mary's College High School on their twice annual immersion experience trip to Haiti. An eye opening and mind expanding trip where the juxtaposition of friendly people filled with hope is set against a backdrop of concrete dust and crumbling infrastructure.
August: '... I feel best in that little space between a smile and a tear. thank you, #TootsThielemans'
September: 'I feel that transmitting the knowledge I possess is important for Filipino-Americans everywhere, not only to preserve what may be the only authentic Filipino musical form, but also to encourage Filipino-Americans to maintain their cultural heritage.' thank you, #DannyKalanduyan.
November: RIP United States of America: July 4, 1776 - November 8, 2016.
'... ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in. thank you, #LeonardCohen'
December: '... You see, it's all clear, you were meant to be here ... from the beginning.' thank you, #GregLake
... 'I want to become more of who we already are but often hide to others.' thank you, #WestonNoble for showing us how to be vulnerable.
... 'i've had enough of danger and people on the streets, i'm looking out for angels, just trying to find some peace.' thank you, #GeorgeMichael
A slightly less busy year for Chris with 92 gigs counted.
January: Chris is asked to cofacilitate the Lasallian Volunteer program mid year retreat in Brant Lake, New York. He feels a sense of kindred connections with the young adults involved in the program and is reminded of the inherent power of storytelling. The theme of the retreat is based around the global Lasallian theme for the year 'One Call, Many Voices'.
May: Chris is accepted into the fourth cohort of the Discerning Leadership program for potential first line administrators in Lasallian schools in the District of San Francisco New Orleans. He sees this program as continuing to deepen his understanding of Lasallian pedagogy, history, and spirituality in the context of educational administration.
June: Chris earns his Master of Science in Educational Leadership degree. After an intense 18 month period of study completed alongside other professional duties, he is exhausted but thankful for the opportunity to continue his learning.