Surrey resident Billy Hsueh has been performing magic tricks since age 11, and now he’s president of The International Brotherhood of Magicians. (Submitted photo)

Surrey resident Billy Hsueh has been performing magic tricks since age 11, and now he’s president of The International Brotherhood of Magicians. (Submitted photo)

MAGIC

Presto, he’s president: World’s largest magic organization now led by Surrey’s Billy Hsueh

‘It just feels really good to represent an organization that I’ve been part of since I was, like, 11’

For Billy Hsueh, there’s no magic involved in becoming president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, just a desire to volunteer his time in that role.

The lifelong Surrey resident, 28, was recently given the title during a mid-July convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Founded 100 years ago, in 1922, the Missouri-based IBM is billed as the world’s largest organization dedicated to the art of magic, with nearly 15,000 members in 88 countries.

The role of international president of the IBM is rare for a Canadian, as only eight residents of this country have held the office, four of whom are from Vancouver, and Hsueh is first of Asian descent.

“It wasn’t something that I sought out to do, but it just kind of happened, the process of me being on the board and the committees when I was 16, 17 years old,” Hsueh explained. “I kept volunteering my time and worked my way up the board, and eventually they nominated me as vice-president and then president-elect, now I’m president.

He added: “It just feels really good to represent an organization that I’ve been part of since I was, like, 11, and being able to give back, as much as can, for everything this organization has done for me.”

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Hsueh, who lives in the Fraser Heights area, has performed magic since he his preteen years, and has been part of the IBM ever since. Over the years he’s travelled the world with his craft, and has won several awards.

• FROM THE ARCHIVES, 2014: Young Surrey magician Billy Hsueh brings home the gold.

“I don’t do cruise ships, and I mostly do corporate events and private parties, including Canada Day events, things like that,” explained Hsueh (pronounced SHWAY). “I worked for the City of Surrey’s a bunch of times, at their youth events as well as Canada Day celebrations.”

Also close to home, Hsueh is busy doing Shawn Farquhar’s Hidden Wonders show, a “Speakeasy Magic Experience” three days a week in downtown New Westminster.

“It’s a magic theatre hidden behind a fake storefront, in a secret location,” said Hsueh. “It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of show where my mentor, Shawn Farquhar, performs. The audience gets to choose how the show runs – anything that they want to see, they choose. I am his host and I greet guests, do magic in front of a camera for them, and I open the show and do close-up magic at the bar after the show.”

He’ll be busy with IBM duties this summer, too, with trips planned to Quebec City and Chicago.

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Hsueh says that at a time when many fraternal organizations are aging and losing members through attrition, the IBM is looking to move into its next 100 years by electing the second youngest president in its history.

“My goal for this year is to reconnect the international magic community both online and offline and link the IBM to the rest of the muggle world,” Hsueh said. “It is an honour to be able to serve an organization that has contributed to my growth in the magical arts. I am proud to be its first International President of Asian heritage, but equally important is the pride I take in being at the helm of such an amazing organization, as a Canadian.”

For more about Hsueh visit his Sleightly Deceptive Productions website, sleightlydeceptive.com.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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