Tue 12/16 @ 4:30 – 5:30pm
In a world without Hogwarts, where does the youth go to learn the ancient art of magic?
Once a month, they are invited to attend the Brook Park Magic Club to sharpen their wits and their wands among professionals.
Bob Durante (AKA Zap the Wonder Chap) of The International Brotherhood of Magicians hosts the program teaching ages eight and up magic tricks as well as helping them to hone their skills as true entertainers. Librarian Rhonda Keifer heads the Brook Park Library class that even includes several local retirees.
“Typically, about 20 people show up each month to learn and practice,” Bob said. “We started with about five to six kids coming during the year. The second year we were getting about seven to eight. Now, through word of mouth and with kids performing for friends and at school, it has really caught on. We started in September with a magic show and a small teach-in. That had about 80 people, and October’s meeting had around 40 attending the first real class of the school year.”
In its third year, the class coincides with the scholastic year, allowing students to practice their abracadabras along with arithmetic. The May meeting sees sophomore sorcerers pulling rabbits out of their own proverbial hats at a performance.
The International Brotherhood of Magicians also hosts a program called Youths International, encouraging pre-teens and teens to learn magic. Teenage tricksters can officially join the national IBM group or Cleveland’s local Blackstone Ring- Ring 23 at age 16. Ring 23 meets the first Wednesday of each month at Metro Hospital.
“As an artist, I want to see new people learning magic and variety arts,” Bob explained. “Many people go to YouTube to learn magic, but having a live lecture style setting makes it much easier to understand. Also, it allows members of Ring 23 to mentor the ones who really show a knack for magic.”
They are trying to launch similar programs at other libraries and after school programs in the area. Bob may also host week-long summer camps as a trial project at some local libraries this summer.
Meeting the last Tuesday of each month from September through May (one week early in December due to the holiday), Brook Park Magic Club meets again December 16 at the Cuyahoga County Public Library Brook Park branch from 4:30 until 5:30.
Hollie Gibbs has a BS in journalism from Kent State University and studied photography at School of the Visual Arts in Manhattan. Her articles and photographs have appeared in numerous local and national publications. She can also be found playing guitar with various bands and building life-size monster props.