A passion for magic!

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Page: 24 Section: Community
Byline: Ryan Unger Source: The Times

It was a magical night for Mike Norden in more ways than one. On May 28, Norden won the Wilf Rutherford Trophy for Children's Magician of the Year for 2006, after performing in front of 100 children and 120 adults in a competition at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby.

When he first discovered magic, Norden would never have guessed how far he would come. "I don't have a story about pulling a quarter out of my uncle's ear as a boy," Norden says about his late discovery of magic.

Instead, Norden first found his passion when he was at Disneyland eight years ago. "We'd been there for four days. By the fourth day, it was getting to be a bit much." Norden went for a walk and found the magic store on Main Street. "It was the curiosity killed the cat syndrome," he says. When Norden browsed through the store, he was fascinated and bought a few items.

When he arrived home, he started to learn some simple card and coin tricks. He even started to perform in front of his first audience -- his young nieces.

When asked what he likes about performing magic in front of people, Norden has to think for a moment, before saying, "It's a high. It feels good to get applause, which a lot of people don't get in their lives."

Over the years, Norden has performed for all types of audiences, both children and adults. Now, he performs magic professionally. "It's not a hobby anymore," he says. "It started out as a hobby but it turned into a career." Also, according to his website, found at www.magicshows.ca, Norden is also a comedian, balloon twister and the trainer of Rufus the Chicken.

Norden says comedy is an important part of being a magician. For children's parties, often magic is a secondary concern -- it's more about the show.

Norden also doesn't have many problems with disruptive kids. If he does, he sometimes reminds them, "I used to be a bouncer at Toys R Us."

His adult acts can range from corporate events to bachelor parties. Often, parents who have hired him for their children's birthday parties don't think of him for a party for adults, believing his act will be too innocent. But even worse for Norden, sometimes people who have seen his more mature-themed acts skeptically ask him, "You do kids shows?" He tries to make clear that his performances are tailored to fit the audience being entertained.

Norden has taken his acts throughout the province, performing for audiences of up to 550. But he says that he rarely gets nervous in front of large audiences. The only exception is with an audience of his peers. "I get nervous in front of other magicians," he says.

It is because of this respect for other magicians that he is so proud of winning Children's Magician of the Year. "It's an honour to win it, competing with people that I respect."