Byemoor gets boost from illusionist

The Byemoor School Educational Society raised about $1,700 at its first fundraiser last week, an AbracaDazzle! Magic show starring

The Byemoor School Educational Society raised about $1,700 at its first fundraiser last week, an AbracaDazzle! Magic show starring stage illusionist John Kaplan.

The fundraiser filled the Byemoor Community Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 15 to support the society, which exists to raise money for school projects, supplies and expenses —anything from books to field trips.

The educational society has been around for decades but was revived about a year ago after a period of dormancy, said Rhonda Maginn.

Donated items were offered in a silent auction, a concession stand was available and a 50/50 draw was held, with the winning ticket for $160 belonging to Heather Tucker. Another draw was held for a miniature coffin filled with $400 in prizes.

Another fundraiser involved one of Kaplan’s stunts — sawing a member of the audience in half. Attendees could pay a dollar to vote on which Byemoor School staff member would be subjected to the treatment.

Principal Corey van Zandbergen was declared ineligible as he was too tall for the stunt. Despite her best efforts, Gwen Keith received the most votes and was sawn in half on stage to the tune of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

“You have no idea how much money I spent not to be here,” Keith told Kaplan after making her way to the stage.

The illusionist performed for more than an hour, making Riley Mappin appear to hover in mid-air, and introducing Wrigley the Mind-Reading Orange, who was purportedly able to read the mind of Krissy Jack.

Kaplan said Thursday was his first visit to Byemoor, a rarity after several decades touring Canada as a performer. A native of Calgary, he has been based in Vancouver since 1986.

He tours each spring and fall for three to six weeks, playing between 50 and 75 shows annually. While in the area he also performed in Castor and Sylvan Lake.

On behalf of the education society, Maginn expressed appreciation to all who attended, the volunteers who helped the event run smoothly, and those who donated prizes.