Simply amazing

Raul Pozniak, the club’s youngest member

The audience is laser-focused on Raul Pozniak, the club’s youngest member and a fifth-grader in the gifted program at Lawnwood Elementary in Fort Pierce. His grandfather, Bill Vazquez, accompanies him to meetings. The club invites enthusiasts of all ages to its monthly meetings. JOHN BIONDO PHOTO

Local magic masters show but never tell how they enchant their audiences


What conjuring appears in your mind when you think of magic? A top-hatted performer dressed to the nines about to saw his beautiful assistant in half? The birthday party magician who says abracadabra and pulls a rabbit out of his hat or a coin from thin air?

Magic is an entertainment form with a valid pedigree going back to Harry Houdini. Local aficionados attest to the ethical standards of their craft and work to fulfill the mission to advance magic as a performance art.

The local chapter of the Society of American Magicians meets at 7 p.m. every fourth Tuesday in the conference room at St. Lucie Lanes on U.S. 1 in Port St. Lucie and the public is welcome to attend. Chartered since 1980, the group includes professionals, hobbyists and amateurs alike.

Matt Musgrave, a UPS retiree, joined a few years ago. Needing something to do with his time, his children, who are avid bowlers, saw a notice and said, “Dad, why don’t you try magic?”

“I always liked magic,” he says. “By joining the club, I was able to learn from others with many years of combined experience. That was priceless. There is real showmanship with these guys. It’s fun and we rib each other a lot.”

Al “The Amazing” Chiaverini is a seasoned magician and a retired New York City police detective. His forte is mental magic that leaves audiences baffled. Mentoring Musgrave, Chiaverini emphasizes one thing: practice.

“Rehearsing is paramount — so is critiquing each other,” he says. “There is a drive for perfection as well as developing a persona and stage presence. You always want to bring the audience into the experience.”

In honor of the club’s community involvement, the city will proclaim a Magic Week in October to coincide with Houdini’s death on Oct. 31, 1926. The proclamation states that “magic defies logic, tricks the senses and delights its audience,” and acknowledges the time and talent members spend at hospitals, schools, nursing homes and other charitable events.

Lectures, workshops and conventions during the year keep these wizards on the mark. It’s not unusual for members to carpool to Melbourne for meetings with the Space Coast magic club, all in the name of brotherhood. Whether it’s teaching a beginner, mentoring a rising star or fostering a sense of pride among their peers, the fun is for everyone.

When not practicing or performing, they’re doing outreach. They have appeared in the St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas parades and pull out the stops when Halloween rolls around. Their three-hour neighborhood show enthralls both young and the young-at-heart. Held at a member’s home, they hope to grow bigger crowds annually. Nearly 1,000 visitors came to the outdoor stage last year.

“Future shows promise to be bigger,” club secretary Dean Devitt says. “We have some highly accomplished gentlemen among the luminaries of our assembly. Jay René, our sage and mentor, earned his wand in the Pocono ski resorts and clubs. He is a walking encyclopedia of magic.”

For more information, call Devitt at 772.332.8412 or Nick Bradley at 772.475.3392.