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Christian Chyle may have died, but friends celebrate his life with music

SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Aaron Nigel Smith is a Lake Oswego musician launching 'The Big Up Show,' which is for kids and by kids, and spread a message of harmony.Christian Chyle was a fiery-haired musician with glasses, who attended Lake Oswego Junior High School.

Christian was bullied while he was at LOJ, so he transferred to a Milwaukie school in ninth grade, but he got bullied even more severely, says Eden Smith, a 13-year-old Lake Oswego resident. In April, Christian took his own life. He was 15.

Smith says he knew Christian through “The Big Up Show,” a TV show that debuted this month, and that’s where the young man shone. He played in a band called Viva as a lead guitarist, and the group later joined the crew on the show.

“He was really caring about the people around him, and he was sensitive, perceptive,” says Eden, a bass guitarist and an incoming freshman at Riverdale High School. “He seemed to be really passionate about music.”

The TV show is akin to “Sesame Street,” but instead of focusing on ABC’s and 123’s, it offers children a different kind of lesson, says Maya Anglin, a 15-year-old Lake Oswego resident and a writer for the show.

“We’re teaching (kids) about love and harmony and peace, and getting along with everyone around you,” says Maya, an incoming Lake Oswego High School senior.

Lake Oswego musician Aaron Nigel Smith is one of the main characters on the show, and its catalyst. As the founder and artistic director of One World Chorus, Smith leads students ages 8-12 in a variety of genres, such as jazz, pop, classical and folk. The ensemble has traveled throughout the nation, in three countries and two continents, and it performs on the show.

“One World Chorus is a nonprofit, and our thing is connecting kids around the world through music,” he says.

To produce “The Big Up Show,” Smith decided to partner with Portland Community Media, KBOO Community Radio and LiveLabs. Smith says the show is not only like “Sesame Street” but also has elements of “Prairie Home Companion,” and the creation has been a year in the making.

Losing Christian was a tragedy, and he hopes the show will help “teach peace and teach the impact of bullying,” Smith says.

Students such as Maya and Eden from local schools participate in a free after-school program to write, cast, produce and edit the variety show.

“It is such a positive event and collaborative experience for the kids as well as the families who are watching and the families of the kids who participate,” says Diedre Smith, One World Chorus executive director and Aaron Nigel Smith’s wife.

One of the skits on the show features Kid Opera, a puppet with glorious pipes, who tries out for One World Chorus and is mocked for his Pavarotti style, Maya says. He’s an amazing talent, just not in the way to which the other singers are accustomed.

“They were upset that he was better than everyone else, that he was different,” says Maya, a vocalist who performed with Christian in Viva.

Maya says that’s how it was for Christian, who probably threatened the people who bullied him with his talent, so they lashed out at his unique qualities.

“He was bullied for having red hair and really big glasses,” she says. “He was basically bullied for being different. We’re trying to send a message that it’s all right for kids to be different.”

One of the other skits involves a game show in which students are quizzed on what to do in different situations in which they are bullied. Answers include saying “stop,” but in a polite way, and telling an adult.

Maya says she wishes she had been able to get Christian to open up to her more. She says any child who is suffering should not feel alone, but should feel empowered to reach out for help.

“You need to speak up about what’s going on because things can change,” she says.

Christian’s father Richard Chyle launched a memorial fund for Christian using a gofundme page this spring.

“Heaven has received an amazing guitarist,” the page says. “We will miss our beloved angel Christian more than words can ever express.”

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
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To view or support “The Big Up Show,” visit or, or call 503-305-6710 or 323-459-3007.

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