Music and magic: Canadian illusionist combines his two passions in Redefining Wonder

Canadian illusionist and musician Chris Funk will be in Prince Albert on Friday, March 15. -- Photo from the Chris Funk Facebook page.

Chris Funk grew up watching magicians perform on television, but he never expected to follow in their footsteps.

Funk fell in love with magic shows as a child watching Canadian illusionist Doug Henning perform on television. But despite his love for the shows, he didn’t pursue the craft for years. In fact, he didn’t even know illusions could be taught.

“I was, let’s say, sheltered, in that regard,” Funk said with a chuckle. “I was deep into music so I would come home from school and I would be practicing instruments. I didn’t know you could learn it (illusions) until the age of 16 when someone taught me my very first trick, and it was game over at that point. I was hooked.”

Funk was fascinated with illusions and began learning everything he could about them. He watched countless TV shows, and his parents took him to watch big-name performers like David Copperfield whenever they were in town.

He spent every dime on books so he could learn new tricks, then started performing paid gigs at age 19. He took to performing illusions just as enthusiastically as he took to learning about them.

“It blew my mind,” Funk said. “I was just like, ‘wait, you can make money doing this? Okay, this is what I’m going to do.’”

Funk started performing at small local events, and made the occasional television appearance to promote a live performance. Although he loved magic tricks and illusions, he never forgot his first passion: music. He soon began incorporating his musical skills into his show.

His act started getting attention, and soon he received requests to appear on bigger and bigger stages, including popular television programs. Since then, he’s performed on America’s Got Talent, Penn and Teller: Fool Us, and Master Illusion, among others.

Funk said it was a surreal experience to go from watching musicians on TV, to being a musician on TV. In fact, he assumed the first request was a joke or mistake.

“I didn’t think it was real,” he remembered. “I was like, ‘why would they be calling me?’ I actually had to go out for dinner with my wife and a couple buddies and they talked me through it and encouraged me to do it. (They) kind of smacked me a couple times saying, ‘don’t be silly. You should do this.’

“Being on set there, it was like, ‘wow, this is just surreal. It’s crazy,’ and then realizing that some of the bigger names, after seeing me perform, and chatting with them, and me telling them how I looked up to them, (they’re) saying that now we’re peers. I’m like, ‘wait a minute, this is just crazy. Someone pinch me.’ I didn’t ever think that this would be happening.”

Funk continues to perform away from television too. He’s headlined shows at the World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, and Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood. His next show is scheduled for Friday, March 15 when he takes to the E.A. Rawlinson Centre stage in Prince Albert.

Funk has never performed in Prince Albert before, and said he’s looking forward to wowing a new audience.

“It comes down to the people,” he said. “I love performing for brand new audiences. It’s just the style of show that I have. It’s a very unscripted approach to a show. I know what my routines are from my show, but I leave a lot of what I say open so that the audience can interact with me and that’s where the content comes from.”

Chris Funk’s Redefining Wonder begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 15 at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre. Tickets are available at or the Rawlinson Box Office.