From choir to Carpenters

Diverse taste and good timing keep singer busy

Chris Worth. Photography by Ellie Bogue

Chris Worth. Photography by Ellie Bogue

For all the plans people make, sometimes it’s the happy accidents that make the difference. Chris Worth, who has been a fixture on the Fort Wayne music scene for many years, can attest to that. In high school, Worth decided to take choir, a class he thought would help him meet girls – and one that wouldn’t be all that challenging.

“I thought it would be a nice break,” he said. “I was wrong. The director was a taskmaster, and that semester was rough. It was back in the day when you could yell at kids, and he would definitely motivate you to do right. I didn’t like him at first, but he made me think before I opened my mouth. I know now that he did a lot for me. I was undisciplined, and he steered me on the right course.”

A career in music didn’t seem likely for a long time. Worth went to the West Coast and eventually Cleveland, hooking up with a record label that didn’t pan out.

“I finally decided to resign myself to a job. I started teaching and was happy with that.”

Worth moved to Fort Wayne when his parents began having health problems. He still had no plans to return to music until one fateful night when he connected with Paul New Stewart at a karaoke night, and a new musical partnership was born. Together they began doing covers of a diverse list of artists, from Elvis to Sinatra, country to hip hop.

He also started a group, Chris Worth & Company. He limited himself to vocals until an unreliable band member forced Worth to start playing some keyboards, too. Once local venues realized he could accompany himself, Worth began getting offers for solo gigs.

Since that time, Worth’s reputation has grown well beyond Fort Wayne and Indiana. A popular performer in Florida, California and numerous other states, Worth has played for everything from a Donald Trump party (though The Donald was not in attendance) to various universities. He’s also been told that a possible performance for a certain leader of the Free World in Washington, D.C., may be in the offing.

Through it all, he maintains his busy schedule locally and is working on a CD as well.

“I’ve been better about working on it lately,” he said about his recording schedule. “I’ve been saying for a long time that I was going to do it, and people would ask me about it. I’ve finally been doing better and putting together some songs. It’s going to be a good one!”

He’s also making plans for a show later this year, a Carpenters tribute he’s calling Basic Carpentry 101, which has yet to land a venue. An appreciation for the Carpenters isn’t surprising, given his eclectic musical tastes. He loves to surprise audiences with anything from old school country to an Alice in Chains cover. Motown, Rat Pack and R&B are all part of his repertoire. Worth is somewhat chagrined by the number of bookings he gets, given how many others struggle to be heard. But in the end, Worth says his approach is to keep it simple.

“Singing isn’t rocket science. It’s not that hard,” he said. “I just love to get up there and have a good time.”

First appeared in the January 2016 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.

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