Daniel Funeral Home & Cremation Service

Rev. Christopher M. Trussell

February 15, 1937 – November 11, 2010

Priest, composer, teacher, actor, conductor, playwright, director, musician, and friend; we will miss Christopher Trussell and all the joy and elation he instilled in our community.
Father Chris was born on February 15, 1937 in Birmingham, England. During the first eighteen years of life, he became proficient as an organist and pianist, and was a member of the choirs of the St. Germain Church.
In 1954, he moved with his parents to South Africa. Shortly thereafter, Chris soon found himself appointed as the Director of Music and St. Cuthbert’s Church. While in South Africa, Chris became an accomplished French horn player as a member of the Port Elizabeth Orchestra. He also conducted a performance of Handel’s Messiah composed of member living in the ghettos of Port Elizabeth. This was typical Chris.
After working seven years in South Africa, Chris returned home to England and attended Trinity College of Music in London, studying composition, orchestration and theatre. Completing his studies, he was offered and accepted a position at St. John’s School in Houston, and thus he came to the United States.
At this time Chris began to write television commercials. This led to a request that he write of film score. Eventually Chris moved to Hollywood to work on musical scores for the film industry.
In 1967 he accepted a position of Director of Fine Arts at the Webb School of California. While there, he founded the Claremont Boys Choir, the Claremont Girls Choir, and many other groups still in existence today. His hard work and talent let to opportunities, including writing a film score for Warner Brothers, a score for a NASA documentary, and many others. Although Chris would not like it mentioned, his compositions also garnered him an Academy Award nomination for his score for the movie Hot Potato.
In 1985, after much soul searching and contemplation, Chris decided to pursue what had been on his mind for so many years. He returned to a life of study in the State of Washington, where he completed two masters’ degrees in religious studies and spirituality simultaneously. In his spare time he founded the Spokane Boys Choir and the Schola Cantorum, and also began work as a film and theatre critic.
In 1987 Chris came to Central Minnesota to acquire yet another degree at St. John’s University, this time in liturgy. Wasting no time, he started a program through which many diocesan events would take place, formed a Diocesan Schola, which would be responsible for various official liturgies for the Diocese of St. Cloud, directed Jesus Christ Superstar, and much more.
After his ordination to the priesthood for the Diocese of St. Cloud in 1992, he was appointed to teach religion at Cathedral High School. He also revitalized the theatre department with the presentation of The Music Man. His dedication, vision, leadership and drive ignited the fire that burns brightly today in the CHS Theatre Department, and provides the foundation to assure that his legacy will continue into the future.
During his tenure at Cathedral High School, he had directed over 150 productions, developed specialized areas of theatre, including The CHS Repertory Players, Coffee House productions, Mondays at 7 and more. Father Chris has been a tremendously positive influence on the lives of a generation of future leaders.
Father Chris also established classes in all areas of the craft that are now a regular part of the curriculum at Cathedral High School. Students have the opportunity to lean the technical aspects of theatre, including lighting, sound, stage management and costuming. A few years ago another component was added – the One-Act Play Festival, showcasing students own creations.
The first CHS Theatre Department cultural trip to England took place in 1996, and has become an annual event.
Always looking to the next thing, Chris founded The Cathedral Festival of the Arts, which for five years brought tremendous national performers to St. Cloud. This week-long celebration of the arts took place in early September, surrounding the feast of St. Cloud, and included performances by the James Sewell Ballet, the Tokyo String Quartet, as well as dramatic performances of T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, a Man For All Seasons, and Galileo, and more. He also created and composed an original musical, entitled, Scrooge, based on the Dickens novel.
Parkinson’s, time, a stroke, age and hard work may have slowed him down, but enthusiasm, positive energy, spirituality and a sense of the next thing to do kept him motivated. His presence in our community has made it possible for thousands of students and residents to participate in theatre, music and art.
Christopher Trussell died on November 11, 2010. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mary (Cadman) Trussell and George Trussell. He is survived by a son, Gavin Trussell and two grandchildren Alexander and Abigail, who reside in Lewis Center, Ohio.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at St. Mary’s Cathedral Upper Church. Most Reverend John F. Kinney will officiate. Burial will take place at Assumption Cemetery in St. Cloud. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday and after 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday at St. Mary’s Cathedral Upper Church with a Vigil Service at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Memorials are preferred to Cathedral High School or St. Mary’s Cathedral Music Fund.


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I was in Chris’s musical Scrooge in 1972 and the Claremont Boys Choir. He was a great mentor to me. Does anyone have any information on his time in Claremont? I remember we made a cast recording of Scrooge and would love to know if it exists. I played Tiny Tim and was 7 or so. Wish I had stayed in touch. LOVE! Todd Hughes

Mr. Trussell brought out the best in his students and took them to levels they never would have achieved without his guidance. We remember him as a wonderful teacher and guide for our son.

Fr. Chris Trussell was an amazing man. I had the good fortune to play a challenging role in a community production directed by Fr. Chris (“A Man For All Seasons”). It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done; but Fr. Chris got me through it relatively unscathed. It was like him to get his players to reach higher than they thought they could. Knowing Fr. Chris, he’s probably scouting around in Heaven for actors to play in his next production.
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How fortunate I have been in my life to have cross paths with Father Chris….I am sure heaven has greeted him well.

Father Chris was an amazing guy and he really made a huge impact on my life. I have a lot of great memories of working on shows with him that I’ll always recall with joy. Like the time he had me dress up as John the Baptist and storm through Holy Angels during mass or when he gave me the confidence to perform “The Zoo Story” when I was 16, Father Chris loved theater and he loved sharing the experience of the theater with his community. He was always striving to put his spark into the world and I consider myself very lucky to have been part of his ensemble for a while. He showed me the power of art, encouraged me to take risks, and, most importantly, taught me to build a strong community with my fellow players. He will be missed but the inspiration he lit inside of me and others lives on.

I met Chris on one occassion but he was one of the funniest people I have ever met. What a sense of humor he had.

Father Chris inspired me greatly in highschool and we remained in touch for quite a while after. I know that he touched the lives of so many students and I’m sure many more with his great sense of humor and determination. I will always remember the stories he shared with me and he will truly impact my life for the rest of my days. Rest in peace my friend and mentor.

May he rest in peace. Christopher was a good firend and a good priest/teacher/arts person generally. Will miss his visits. Sympathies to his family.


Schedule Details

Father Trussell died on November 11, 2010, at Country Manor Apartments, Sartell, MN.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 16, and after 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the Cathedral of Saint Mary, Saint Cloud, MN.

A Vigil Service will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Mary, Saint Cloud, MN, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 17, with The Most Reverend John F. Kinney presiding. Burial will be in Assumption Cemetery, Saint Cloud, MN.