Trischa Buhler: Music a family affair
Trischa Buhler’s parents wanted the best for their two daughters. They went out of their way to ensure that their horizons were expanded and there was also the expectation that they would learn to play a musical instrument. Trischa started out on the piano but after awhile she began to lose interest and it was at this point that she made the switch to the clarinet. This woodwind instrument revived her interest and she soon began to explore other instruments. “I also learned to play the trumpet, trombone, French horn, bassoon, the bass guitar and the drums”, she listed.
While she was quite proficient on a great number of instruments by the time she hit high school, she quickly added the tenor sax to her list so that she could join the Chilliwack Senior jazz band. “At that time, high schools didn’t have music for clarinets so Janine Webster, who was Ms. McNichol at the time, suggested that I take it up,” she said. Trischa has never looked back and for the last seven years has been playing in orchestra pits and enjoying every minute of it. “For the last two years, I have been playing in shows in Vancouver. The last one that I did was the Chutzpah! Festival which is held annually at the Norman Rothstein Theatre and celebrates Jewish arts and culture,” she explained.
After high school, she attended the University of Victoria, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music, majoring in education. “After UVic, I taught in Burns Lake for eight years. I taught band and jazz band in a high school for grades 7 through 12, but I also taught English, math and communications.”
Burns Lake is a small community located west of Prince George and while it is a lovely community, surrounded by nature and with numerous options for recreational enthusiasts, it is still a small community, nonetheless. And for a person who lived in the Lower Mainland their entire life, that can be rather isolating. “They have great cross-country skiing trails and I did some of that but teaching and prepping for class was definitely the biggest part of my life,” she admitted.
Trischa met her husband in Burns Lake and after a few years of married life, they made the decision to leave the northern community for the Lower Mainland. “We started off living in New West and for two years I worked at a Sylvan Learning Centre in White Rock but then I decided to do something altogether different,” she said. She enrolled at Stenberg College and took their veterinarian assistant course. “We moved to Chilliwack, which is where I had grown up, and for three years, I worked at Sardis Animal Hospital.”
After her son Noah was born, she left her position at the animal hospital and decided to devote her time to her family. Eventually, she began teaching clarinet and sax out of her home, something that she continues to do to this day. “I will teach anyone; from beginners to the more advanced. I love doing it and it’s something that I’m good at,” she enthused.
For three years, she also co-conducted the Chilliwack Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, along with David Voth. “We shared the conducting responsibilities and I worked with the wind instruments while David handled the string instruments. He’s amazing at what he does and we were a good team. I loved every minute of it but after three years I just needed to pull back and I had to start doing things with my family,” she explained.
Trischa is currently working with Chilliwack School of Performing Arts and her five year old son, Noah, seems to be following in his mother’s footsteps. “He was involved with CSOPA’s ‘Playmates’ program designed for three- to five-year-olds and he absolutely loved it. Stefanie Swinnard teaches the program and she is so good,” she smiled.
Soon after that experience, Trischa was asked if she would allow Noah to be part of this past summer’s Theatre under the Stars production of Titanic. She consented and Noah was excited to play the part of young Jack Thayer. “My son is a mature five-year-old but still, he learned so much about patience, about working together and sharing the spotlight. It was a great performance with a huge cast. There were 45 cast members and 21 orchestra members; I was among them. Noah had a wonderful experience and a colleague of mine stood in for me in the orchestra pit for one of the nights so that I could actually sit in the audience to watch it. It was just amazing,” she said, proudly. The laid back, FG Leary, kindergarten student has now decided that he’d like to take up tap lessons and hopes to become a music director when he grows up. If he’s anything like his mother, there’s no doubt that he’ll excel.