Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Magic, music at Chilkat Center Sunday


Sleight-of-hand tricks and classical melodies will combine for Soirée Enchantée, a performance by a magical and musical family trio at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Chilkat Center lobby.

The performance is presented by the Haines Arts Council.

Richard Hatch, wife Rosemary Hatch and son Jonathan Hatch comprise the trio, with Rosemary on violin and Jonathan on piano.

Richard is the magician (he prefers the title “deceptionist”), whose tricks and illusions often times accompany his wife and son’s musical numbers to form an ensemble piece. The performance will also feature magic and music solos.

Hatch specializes in “parlor magic,” as opposed to “grand illusion,” he said. During the performance, people can expect to see things vanish, levitate, appear, multiply, transform, transpose, be destroyed and be restored.

“I won’t be sawing anyone in half or making any elephants disappear. I enjoy seeing those kinds of performances when well done, but the kind of magic I most enjoy is really a more intimate, 19th century tradition, with lots of audience interaction at relatively close quarters,” Hatch said.

The deceptions are based on a combination of hidden dexterity and applied psychology, he said. “The magic doesn’t really happen on stage, but in the minds of the audience as they interpret what they see and hear to conclude that what they have seen is impossible,” Hatch said.

One performance, called “Taro-san the Fisherman and the Weeping Willow Tree,” involves Hatch manipulating a handheld apparatus while his wife plays violin in the background. Hatch uses the gadget, composed of yellow sticks, to form various structures – a net, a boat – as he mentions them during his storytelling.

“Taro-san the Fisherman and the Weeping Willow Tree” is also the title of Hatch’s first children’s book, which he published in December.

One of Hatch’s current favorite solo performances is called “The Cardboard Courtship,” which he refers to as “the world’s most romantic card trick.” He was evasive in describing the trick itself, however.

 “It’s kind of like telling an audience the punch line to a joke before they hear the joke. The element of surprise is an important component of most successful deceptions,” he said.

Hatch and his wife run the Utah-based Hatch Academy of Magic & Music, which Hatch describes as a combination between Hogwarts and Julliard. The academy offers private and group lessons in magic, violin and viola.

Haines Arts Council President Tom Heywood said he encountered Hatch in October while Hatch was emceeing a booking conference in Boise, Idaho. Since then, Hatch’s daughter was hired to work in Juneau, so the family decided to visit Alaska and bring their performance with them.

“He was coming here and it was convenient, and we haven’t done anything like this in a long time. It’s a very interesting combination of things,” Heywood said.

Heywood said while he hasn’t seen the Hatch family perform before, he was impressed with the group’s credentials: Hatch has two physics degrees from Yale, and his wife holds a master’s from Yale’s music program.

Hatch said the show is designed to be kid-friendly, so musical solos err toward the shorter side to avoid making small children restless.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $5 for students and $40 for families.


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