by Barbara Bleiler, for the Grand Forks Gazette
Fascinated by his grandpa’s sleight of hand tricks at the young age of eight, Nathan Vogel wanted to learn more about this intriguing art form. He discovered he was, in his own words, “hooked” on magic tricks after receiving a magic kit for a gift.
A trip to a Vancouver magic store when he was about 10 confirmed his passion for the craft and he began to practice on his parents while living in Slocan. After gaining some confidence, he started small by doing little shows at his school. Making things disappear and doing card tricks are the staple of any good magic show, and as Vogel continued to improve his skill, his passion grew.
Living in Grand Forks since 2008, Vogel has performed at many backyard birthday parties and outdoor shows locally over the past decade and has honed his show to have a comfortable flow that includes bright and lively gags and jokes, as well as sleight of hand and card tricks for kids parties. The adult show he has created includes all the above but has a more intellectual bend to it to keep the older audience engaged and entertained.
When asked what he likes about magic, Vogel is quick to respond. He enjoys the reactions such as the “marvelous smiles” from his audience, the ability to encourage younger kids to learn and appreciate magic and the fact that he is keeping an age-old art form from becoming lost. The applause is nice too.
Vogel draws inspiration from icons like David Copperfield and dreams of going to Las Vegas when he turns 21 to see the different magic acts and aspires to eventually have his own show there.
Although Vogel is not part of any organized magic society or group, he does socialize with a few friends who also happen to be magicians. Being a small group of individuals who are passionate about the craft brings its challenges, but Vogel says they share techniques and camaraderie.
A multi-talented young man, Vogel is also a musician who can play several instruments. In this genre, he began plunking away at his mother’s piano at the age of two following her lead in classical music. By age three to four, he was enrolled in lessons and performed a few recitals after which he began to play more by ear with traditional lessons falling by the wayside and a bit of parental tutoring taking its place. Coming from a musically inclined family has its benefits. Vogel learned to play the guitar from his father and went on to teach himself trumpet and drums as well as participate in his school band.
Vogel also has a fascination and love for vinyl records. After discovering a box of old records and asking about them, he began to collect them. He feels the sound is softer, more enjoyable coming from a record. With a collection of about 4,000 albums so far, Vogel is happy some of the current artists are considering releasing their music in LP format.
Inspired by greats such as Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Beatles along with newer bands such as Aurora, a Norwegian pop band, Paramour and many Canadian songwriters and singers, Vogel also enjoys writing songs to share his thoughts. When asked what else he likes about music, he says that music is welcoming. It’s an art form and he likes the correlation between magic and music.
Vogel can often be found at the various Open Mic events around town and has played in local groups such as Blue Pearl blues band. For other events, he has played solo with one other musician to accompany him giving listeners a real treat.
So while you’re out and about this summer, keep your eyes and ears peeled! You may find yourself entranced by a magic show at the farmers’ market, or be drawn into a lovely melody by a young man Grand Forks is proud to call our own.