Magic was in the air at the David G. Wonders Magic Show in Activity Room A at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library on Wednesday.
Professional magician and author David Gish performed magic tricks, told jokes and used a little ventriloquism to entertain more than 60 children and adults at two magic shows at the library.
Gish, a 35-year veteran of Magical Entertainment, performs for office parties, birthdays, fairs and festivals. He performed magic shows to entertain service members during an 18-month assignment as a contractor in Afghanistan and received two appreciation awards for his efforts.
Gish said he started doing magic in 1979 as part of a children’s ministry and moved into secular entertainment in 1982.
“I delivered balloons in different costumes and did birthday parties and stuff like that, and it just grew from there,” Gish said.
Gish said what piqued his interest in magic was teaching lessons while performing the tricks, but that has its limits. For example, he doesn’t emphasize messaging now like he did in his past performances.
“When you use magic for a message, sometimes the magic distracts from the very message you’re trying to promote,” Gish said. “You’re trying to teach them something, and they’re wondering how you did that trick.”
Gish said he had performed less than a dozen shows in the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but business picked up as restrictions eased.
“The days off right now are rare because I do library and daycare, and the daycares have field trips scheduled, so they bring me in and count that as a field trip without having to take the kids. kids anywhere,” Gish said. . “It’s a win, a win.”
Gish called his type of presentation parlor magic. Parlor magic is usually performed for a larger audience and does not require expensive large-scale props or equipment.
“I call it parlor magic; I only have a few illusions,” Gish said. “Most everything I need will fit in a little cart, and most of them I could train in the middle of the street if I wanted to.”
Gish said he enjoyed performing at Renaissance festivals, but most of his performances are now aimed at children.
“Most of our audiences tend to be younger,” Gish said. “It’s just something I like to do… One of my favorite things about working for Tiny Tots is that the little kids often come and hug you after the show, and that is one of the most rewarding things for me.”
Gish said his next performance will be at Fort Hood on Friday.
Heights Children’s Librarian Erica Rossmiller said the magic show provided an escape from just like the pandemic which has prevented the library from holding in-person events.
“(Magic show) is one of our first programs that we were able to do in person,” Rossmiller said. “And it’s a way to bring kids to the library.”
Rossmiller said Lisa Youngblood, the library manager, was responsible for inviting Gish to perform.
“She’s worked with him in the past and thought the kids would absolutely love him for a summer program,” Rossmiller said.
In addition to hosting the magic show, Rossmiller and her team of library volunteers greeted community members as they arrived and invited them to join the library’s summer reading program.
“It’s a great way to reach families who may not be using the library in the traditional sense, but we may be able to convince them otherwise once they’re here,” Rossmiller said.
Rossmiller said events like these are a great opportunity to promote a love of reading among children.
“Once you’re able to put a book in the hands of a child and they can explore that adventure, that fantasy, that comes with reading, it’s life changing,” Rossmiller said. “We want to encourage that because we know there are hesitant readers out there, and we want to reach out to them and encourage them.”
Rossmiller said magic is like books in that it makes people wonder.
“It’s similar in that aspect to the books,” Rossmiller said. “It’s something to settle into and see the illusion and just let go and enjoy and have fun.”
Rossmiller said the next major event will be Pirates Day on July 7 and will feature pirate-themed crafts and games throughout the library.
Harker Heights resident Heather Hollis, 14, accompanied her 8-year-old cousin, Zavier Strader, to the magic show.
“My little cousin is really into science and magic, so we went with him,” Hollis said.
Hollis said she only saw one magic show in elementary school, which her classmates performed.
“I haven’t seen a lot of magic, but I think it’s really cool; all the illusions,” Hollis said. “I don’t really have any expectations, but I think it’s going to be really cool.”
“I’ve been to the circus but never to a magic show,” Strader said.
Strader said he wasn’t sure if he liked magic since he had never seen any, but decided to give this show a chance.
Lariza Lozano, a 12-year-old resident of Harker Heights, said she was with friends and had never been to a magic show before. She also didn’t know what to expect at the show.
“I don’t hate magic; I’ve never been to a magic show before,” Lozano said.