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Trina Christensen has been the Director of Sistema Utah for nine years which services over 360 students annually in West Valley City, Utah. Sistema Utah has won five Utah Best of State Awards: 2020: Community Music Program; Arts in Education; Performing Arts – Musical Instruments; 2021: Community Music Program; Performing Arts-Musical Instruments. This past year has brought many virtual collaborations featuring student-led music arrangements, seminarios with other programs from the United States and Ecuador. This past Spring, the Sistema Utah orchestra played with the gentleman’s trio GENTRI for our spring concert. This year, Sistema Utah is learning music from the countries that their students hail from.

She has been actively involved in ESUSA since 2015. She has served on two ESUSA National Symposium committees in 2019 and 2020. She was the Chair of the 2021 Virtual National Symposium and Seminario facilitating the successful launch of ESUSA’s FIRST virtual symposium that allowed attendees and students to connect from around the world thus increasing the accessibility of the symposium like never before. She was also the project manager for the ESUSA 2021 Celebrates! virtual fundraising event to honor Mark Churchill and is the Coordinator of the 2022 ESUSA National Symposium.

Trina enjoys music administration and project management which she excels at. She is a Past-President of the Suzuki Association of Utah,  and has been the Director of Operations and Finance of the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute for 15 years where they serve an average of 600 participants annually. She has been serving on the board of the Utah Philharmonic Orchestra as Board Member At-Large since 2019 in an advisory capacity. In each capacity, she has been instrumental in writing policy, board governance, successful grant writing and logistics.

Trina won four Utah Best of State Awards in the following categories: 2020: Early Childhood Music Education; Education – Employee Management and Training; 2021: Education – Employee Management and Training; Education – Seminar Training and Education. She is a member of El Sistema USA, Suzuki Association of the Americas, Suzuki Association of Utah, American String Teachers Association, and National Association for Music Education. It is her hope that together, we can connect with each other to make music education accessible and equitable for all.


​I am delighted to write on behalf of Trina Christensen. I have known Ms. Christensen since 2015, when I invited the Sistema Utah students to play alongside the Young Musicians from St. Thomas Aquinas and the Utah State University Symphony Orchestra in a concert in Logan, Utah. I was immediately impressed by her ability to train her students and instill in them a sense of ownership and self-discipline. Since then, I have collaborated with her in concerts at the American Preparatory Academy in West Valley and the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish. In every encounter, I have seen her students steadily grow to impressive levels of performance.

I was honored to teach and conduct for a decade at El Sistema in Venezuela. From this experience, I witnessed first-hand the extent to which El Sistema has helped shape the personal and artistic life of countless individuals. As someone who has worked for many years as an educator both at university and community programs, I am excited to witness Ms. Christensen’s leadership at Sistema Utah. I can tell that its children and youth are receiving excellent preparation to become not only strong musicians, but also very capable students in any field they may choose to pursue in higher education. Ms. Christensen’s work in music goes far beyond music itself to encompass the integral development of her students.


Dr. Sergio Bernal
Director of Orchestral Studies, Utah State University 
Former Conductor and Educator, El Sistema, Venezuela


I am thrilled to write this letter of recommendation for Trina Christensen, and recommend her without reservation for your consideration of appointment to the El Sistema USA Board of Directors.

Trina has many strengths as a leader. She works tirelessly to ensure that her large Sistema program is well-organized, effective, and fulfills the mission of serving children through music education.

For many years, Trina has demonstrated great dedication to the mission of El Sistema USA and our Sistema Utah program. She has helped to grow our program exponentially and we now serve hundreds of children in our program. She is committed to ensuring children receive the highest possible quality music education, especially those children of greatest need. In addition to music education, Trina is very focused on the social and emotional development of the students, and the positive impact music education and music experience can have on our students and families.

Trina represents our Sistema Utah program enthusiastically to the broader community, making friendships and developing advantageous associations with other music groups in Utah. Trina works hard to find and win grant funding, and has been successful in doing so.

I recommend Trina Christensen without hesitation for a position on the El Sistema USA Board of Directors.


Carolyn Sharette
Executive Director, American Preparatory Schools


Trina Christensen is the perfect candidate for the El Sistema board. She helped develop and start Sistema Utah eight years ago. It has grown in quality and size because of her vision and tenacity. This effort has led to Sistema Utah receiving 2020 and 2021 Utah’s Best of State in three categories. She is so deserving of these honors.  Skills that set us apart from others is that we have a strong social emotional system that removes victimization and instead empowers and builds each child and staff member individually.

Trina has served on the Intermountain Suzuki Strings Institute for the past 15 years. She has managed registration, staffing, scheduling, transportation, keeping them on budget, and has helped them grow as an international Suzuki Music Institute. She has served on many music boards including Utah Philharmonic and served as President for the Suzuki Association of Utah (SAU). Trina has managed and hosted many conventions and conferences. She also helped organize SAU’s Celebration concerts where they had over 2000 children from all over Utah come together to perform for a professional level concert. Trina has taught at many Suzuki Association of America’s Conferences where she promoted the El Sistema movement by sharing the knowledge she has gained over the many years and how the two systems of learning marry each other well. Her positivity has drawn so many people to support El Sistema.

Trina Christensen was the chairman for the 2021 El Sistema USA Virtual Symposium. She did amazing things!! She has volunteered at the last two symposiums and is quick to jump in and help where there is a need. Trina is a magnet to drawing others together. Her positivity and “can do” attitude is exactly what the El Sistema USA board needs. If she can’t do something, she knows someone who can and who would be willing to do it. By having her on the board you are not just getting Trina, but all of us who are connected with her. She is loved by everyone.  She has the support she needs to commit to the hours needed for this position.

Sistema Utah is fully funded by grants which is how we are able to offer this daily after school music program free to our families. Trina’s ability to obtain and maintain grants has been part of the reason why we have been able to keep this program free since it started. She has developed many community partners over her long career which has benefited us and others tremendously. Trina is a builder who has not only built our program to see many successes, but she has done the same to other programs through collaboration with other music programs, including other El Sistema programs, and offering advice, assistance, and willingness to teach professional development. She has written articles for publications and magazines such as the Utah Afterschool Network Newsletter where she shared how to plan a Lights On event. She also wrote many music teaching articles and shared leadership tips in the American Suzuki Journal.

This past school year she had 200+ students in her program and managed 16 staff members. She provides the training, incentives and moral boosts to the program.  She is dedicated to the purposes and philosophy of El Sistema. She is quick, organized, efficient, cheerful, and very wise with making good decisions even when there is very little time and information. She is a great presenter and promoter. She organizes events down to the finest of details. She is so great at getting everyone to work as a team and providing wonderful moral building gifts, activities, and/or incentives. Trina gives 110% in all she does and is quick to get things accomplished.

I have shared many great qualities of Trina as an administrator, but she is also an amazing musician and teacher. Trina performs with the Utah Philharmonic. Sistema Strings and Triple S are our performance groups. Triple S is “Secondary Sistema Strings” which is not only a quality high school performance group, but also ambassadors.  Trina is the director for Triple S and has helped these amazing young musicians develop musically and helped provide a lot of volunteer and mentoring opportunities. This has helped the students as they prepare their college enrollment and scholarship applications. She has high academic standards for them. One of our past Sistema students recently got two scholarships to attend the University of Utah for engineering and for music. Trina is always forward thinking and seems to keep a vision of her students’ future success into college.  She provides ways for students to develop leadership skills.

I have been working with Trina for over two decades in the music field and as a partner in Sistema Utah for five years. She is the person I will always want on my team and I know you will want her as well when you get to know her.


Connie McCullough
Sistema Utah Director, West Valley One Campus

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