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Cali Owings, Published March 22 2014

Blowing the crowd away: Schuster busts out sax for Fargo Star win

FARGO - Chris Schuster says his first instrument wasn’t his singing voice – it was a saxophone.

The Park Christian School music teacher put both talents on display during a performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” alongside accompanying live band Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome in the final round of the annual Fargo Star competition Saturday night.

In his first year of the competition, Schuster earned enough votes from the audience and judges to beat out nine other area vocalists, including three returning Fargo Star finalists, for the 2014 title.

Country singer Zach Johnson, Wendell, Minn. took second place for his rendition of “Tomorrow” by Chris Young. Taylor Hought, a Minnesota State University Moorhead musical theater student who previously competed in the Fargo Star finals, took third place after rocking out to Def Leppard’s “Photograph.”

While several finalists played instruments this year, Schuster surprised the audience and judges by breaking into a saxophone solo during his performance.

“In all the years that we’ve done this, we’ve never had someone pull out their own instrument and do a solo,” said John Lamb, one of the judges and an entertainment writer for The Forum.

Schuster said he was inspired to play saxophone by the movie Blues Brothers when he was nine. He’s played the sax since then, but didn’t start singing in public until junior year of high school when he got involved in worship leading with his youth group.

Before Saturday’s competition, Schuster said he thought about playing piano or drums as well because he really wanted to show different sides of himself as a musician.

He also wanted to pick a song that would highlight the accompanying live band.

“I wanted to find something that … would really utilize and harness the power of the band to my advantage,” he said.

And it did. In addition to the band, Schuster had a legion of supporters from his family, church and school that came out to the show and helped him secure the win.

After winning Fargo Star, Schuster said he’s definitely excited to record some music during a session at Graffiti Studios, one of his prizes. He said he could release an album by next fall, but isn’t sure yet what style of music he would record. He said he enjoys soul, gospel and many other genres.

Schuster’s other big prize is a pair of tickets to anywhere in the world from Travel Leaders. While he said Italy comes to mind as a dream destination, he doesn’t have a travel companion yet.

“Now I need to figure out who’s going with me. Maybe save the tickets for when I have a ring on my finger and I have a ring on somebody else’s,” he said.

Speaking of rings, Chris Ashmore, a vocalist for Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome, stole the show when he proposed to his girlfriend during his band’s performance of Journey’s “Faithfully.”