Chris Funk The Wonderist wowed a packed house Thursday night at the Altona and District Chamber of Commerce annual awards gala at the Rhineland Pioneer Centre, and again left people thinking, "How did he do that?" Originally from Winnipeg,  he has strong ties to Southern Manitoba, including spending a year at Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI) in Gretna during high school. 

He's been performing on stage for more than a decade, with a number of those early shows happening outside the Perimeter. His big breaks came by appearing on the shows Wizard Wars and Penn and Teller’s: Fool Us. Since then, his career has taken off, and has brought him to venues around the world.

"It was actually kind of interesting, driving back here today to get ready for the show, I was chatting with my wife and it's like, 'You know what? I learned how to drive a car on these roads," he reminisced. "Having gone to school for grade 11 in Gretna at MCI, that's where I got my license. I just remember with my Dean, he was our our driving instructor, driving all the back roads around here, learning how to drive. It was just kind of cool coming back here, because it's been a few years. We all took that little break there for several years, and then getting back into the swing of things with live shows, is taking me everywhere else, it seems, except for Manitoba. So, it's good to be back."

CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Host Chris Sumner spoke with Funk before his performance, and asked if he's surprised how his career has played out. Without hesitation, Funk said he has been.

"I'm very blessed," Funk noted. "I'm fortunate I get to do what I love, and I love what I do, and it has got to the point where I get to be performing all over the world. You know, my dream was always to see the world, and have magic pay for it, and with my wife now touring with me, it's exactly what we're doing and it's awesome."

Chris Funk (right) with his wife Charity (left) unfurling something unbelievable during the show Chris Funk (right) with his wife Charity (left) unfurling something unbelievable during the show 

Sometimes Funk gets to be in front of a different audience six nights a week in a different state, a different province or even different country

"We just get to remove them from what their day-to-day is bombarding them with, and I get to put them in my world for however long the show is, an hour, 90 minutes, and it's just actually one of the coolest things," he said. "I didn't imagine we'd be here, but it's awesome."

With all the traveling he's done, and the countries he's performed in, Funk was asked what about magic and illusion translates across borders and language.

"It really brings hope to people that anything is possible, because they're witnessing something take place that is impossible in my show," he shared. "Seeing the impossible take place, it sounds weird, but I think it brings a sense of hope in that moment."

Considering the success he's had, what's Funk's advice to those who are also pursing a performing or entertaining career?

"Follow your gut," he said. "Listen to your inside voice more than the outside voices, because it knows you better. When I started listening to my inside voice, my world changed. If you're passionate about it, put the time in, put the work in. You know, there's nothing easy about what we do. If I were to share with you what our schedules looked like since December 26th, most people would go into cardiac arrest. There's nothing easy about it, but we put the work in. We follow our gut. I would just encourage people to do that. Listen to what your heart is saying, and go with it, and don't let other people say you can't do it, because they have no idea."

Chris Funk with a vial that contained a pretty surprising thing at the conclusion of the showChris Funk with a vial that contained a pretty amazing thing at the conclusion of the show

You can listen to Chris Sumner's conversation with Chris Funk The Wonderist, below.