Dr. Trimis began studying music at 6 years old when he won a competition out of hundreds of students searching for young people who showed exceptional musical potential to study on scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Raised by a single parent in the Mission District, Dr. Trimis needed to take three buses each week to get to his lesson at the conservatory. When his family traveled around the country in a converted school bus, they bolted their upright piano to the wall of the bus. Dr. Trimis’ first piano recital was given on the bus for friends and family before they left on their journey.
After the family settled in Half Moon Bay, Dr. Trimis became very involved in the school music program throughout middle school and high school, collecting many awards, performing in musicals, performing and writing music for in most of the school ensembles. Dr. Trimis played bagpipes in the school marching band, saxophone in the concert band, piano in the jazz band, and bass in the orchestra. His compositions and arrangements were performed in concerts and for competitive music festivals throughout the state. His senior year, he was selected to perform with the All State Concert Band and Wind Ensemble (saxophone). In his junior year and senior years, he taught chorus and general music at the Academic Primary School, a private elementary school. In his senior year, he played in many bands at wedding receptions, restaurants, and clubs. At Dr. Trimis’ graduation, the high school band performed his arrangement of “We’ve Only Just Begun”. Just after high school, Dr. Trimis worked as a counselor at Mendocino Music Camp where his compositions and arrangements were performed and recorded by camp and staff ensembles.
Dr. Trimis attended San Francisco State University as a music major where he performed in the jazz ensembles and band. At San Francisco State he also wrote music for various groups and played piano for Bernstein’s Mass and bagpipes on stage for Brigadoon. At the cast party for Brigadoon he met a cellist in the pit orchestra who eventually became his wife of 25 years. In his second year of college, Dr. Trimis performed at Marriott’s Great America as the conductor/pianist for a musical review, Broadway, which featured a 23 piece orchestra and 16 singer/dancer/actors on stage. He continued to write music at this time, at times having the orchestra read through his arrangements during their breaks. After two years at San Francisco State, Dr. Trimis transferred to California State University, Los Angeles, continuing as a music major.
At Cal State LA, he continued to perform with the jazz ensembles and write music. Dr. Trimis arranged a musical for full orchestra and chorus (Magic To Do) and performed piano in Pippin. The jazz ensemble kept a busy schedule performing at such venues as the Berkeley Jazz Festival, the Playboy Jazz Festival and the Merv Griffin Show. His second year at Cal State, Dr. Trimis began working at Huntington Drive Elementary School as a teacher’s assistant teaching small group lessons, assisting with the orchestra and chorus, teaching the beginning band, assisting in general music classes, and writing music for the groups as needed. It was at this time Dr. Trimis performed with the Los Angeles Raiders Band directed by Horace Heidt, Jr. and featuring some of the top studio musicians in Los Angeles including Grant Geisman and many of the musicians in the Tonight Show band. Dr. Trimis had the pleasure of warming up the singers who were scheduled to sing the national anthem including Stephanie Mills (The Wiz) amongst others. At Cal State LA, Dr. Trimis also became very interested in recording, writing many original songs and arrangements and recruiting student to perform them to be recorded by the school recording class. It was also during this period of time that he began working at Los Angeles City College as a piano accompanist and vocal coach for commercial voice classes and beginning voice classes, a post he held over 15 years. At City College, Dr. Trimis would often have students perform his original songs for class and in concerts. He also became very involved in liturgical music, singing, playing piano and keyboards for groups at St. James Church. One group grew out of the music program there, The Promise, went on to perform at other venues and recorded a CD with arrangements by Dr. Trimis.
After graduating for Cal State LA, Dr. Trimis began substitute teaching and a year later teaching math, and soon music, at Berendo Middle School. While at Berendo, he went back to Cal State LA to complete courses for his Single Subject Music Credential, a masters degree in Music Education, a masters degree and both Preliminary and Professional Clear Administrative Credentials, and eventually a Doctor of Education from USC. At Berendo, Dr. Trimis started an orchestra program that had been shut down for 25 years, started a new chorus, taught beginning strings classes, started an academy for off-track students to learn music theory, instruments, chorus, and orchestra, and arranged, produced, and directed original musicals every Fall. The Fall Musical was always a collaboration with the dance, drama, art, and music departments. The community got to know the Berendo musicians from the frequent performances at local elementary schools every Fall and Spring. It was also at Berendo when Dr. Trimis became very involved in the National Association for Music Education (then called the Music Educators National Conference) and the California Association for Music Education (then called the California Music Educators Association).
Dr. Trimis wrote articles that were published in the national journal, presented workshops at conferences all over the country, and served on many advisory and editorial committees and task forces.
After 6 years, Dr. Trimis began teaching at Huntington Park High School. At HP, he built the music program from very little. There were 15 in chorus and 10 in band when he arrived. There were very few resources, including instruments, and the music room was in disrepair. At the end of the first year, he was able to build the band to 30 students and the choir to 40 students and began to turn the program around. After three years, there were over 400 students involved in the music program which included 3 ½ full time teachers, three teacher assistants, choir, orchestra, jazz ensemble, jazz choir, Music Technology, AP Music Theory, a Music Major Program, and an Academy of Music Professions. One year, Dr. Trimis taught drama and wrote an original musical with his students that was performed in three different runs over 4 years (Real Life). The band performed for the Chevy Chase Show and the choir for a benefit for the Magic Johnson Foundation.
The music groups went on a concert tour to Northern California and performed in a join concert with Dr. Trimis’ old high school band in Half Moon Bay. Many of his students went on to be teachers, themselves, including a teacher at El Sereno Middle School, Santee High School, Walnut Park Elementary School, and one of his TAs who became the band director at Huntington Park a year after Dr. Trimis left.
After teaching AP Music Theory for three years, the College Board and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) recruited Dr. Trimis to read AP Exams and teach AP workshops on Saturdays. He has been doing this for many years in addition to teaching week-long AP Institutes for the College Board. As an adjunct professor, Dr. Trimis has taught Swing Band and Pasadena City College, Jazz Appreciation, Chorus, and Music Theory at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, and Masters in Teaching, Humanities, and introductory courses for the University of Phoenix.
Dr. Trimis has also stayed active in the music education community writing music for school groups in Glendale for several years, serving Glendale Unified as the guest conductor for the Middle School Honors Orchestra, adjudicating the Middle School band Festival in Clark County Schools (Las Vegas), and continuing to work with the College Board and ETS as an AP Reader and consultant. Most recently, Dr. Trimis also continued to be a strong arts advocate, building the music and arts programs at Polytechnic High School, Manual Arts High School, Verdugo Hills High School, Legacy Visual and Performing Arts High School, and City of Angels School, providing unprecedented support and guidance for both the music and other arts teachers at all three schools. At all three schools he assisted with their arts academies or magnets (FAME at Poly, SPAA at Manual, Bellevue Arts at City of Angels Visual and Performing Arts Academy, and Verdugo Hills VAPA Magnet).