For professional development, Kelvin attended the following:
October, 2010: International Magic festival (Happy Valley) and magic shops in Guangdong, & Shenzhen (China)
July, 2010: Lectured and performed on Asian Magic & Cartoon Balloons at the Annual International Convention of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians.
July, 2010: IBM - San Diego Convention 2010
June, 2010: Magic shops in Guangdong, Shenzhen, & Tokyo
March, 2010: Magic shops in Guangdong, Shenzhen, & Tokyo
December, 2009: Magic shops in Guangdong, & Shenzhen
October, 2009: International Magic festival (Happy Valley) and magic shops in Guangdong, Shenzhen (China), & Tokyo
September, 2009: Texas Association of Magicians - Houston dealer & contestant
July, 2009: FISM World Championships of Magic Beijing 2009
July, 2009: IBM - Nashville, Tennessee Convention 2009
2009 Texas Association of Magicians - Houston dealer, contestant
and the combined IBM and SAM 2008 international convention in Louisville, Kentucky.
December, 2008: 3rd place in the Favorite Routine Contest at the 29th New Zealand International Magicians Convention in Auckland, New Zealand.
July, 2008: Lectured and performed on Asian Magic & Cartoon Balloons at the Annual International Convention of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians.
Kelvin Chun of Salt Lake is a renaissance man of sorts.
The technology specialist at Nu'uanu Elementary School is an award-winning teacher, magician, "balloonologist" and kite enthusiast. His most recent honor was winning first place earlier this month in a stage magic competition at the Texas Association of Magicians 2003 Convention. Chun, 44, also placed second last month at the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians Convention's Balloon Olym-pics in Vancouver, British Columbia, and was selected as one of three national winners of the 2002 Ed Tech Leaders of the Year award by Technology & Learning magazine, a trade publication. Catch Chun's magic and balloon shows evenings at TGI Friday's on Ward Avenue or at Ronnie's Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant in 'Aiea. For times and days, call 533-2486.
Christian magicians gather to trade sleight-of-hand secrets and apply Gospel messages to their tricks.
By Lisa Hanson
July 28, 2001
MARION, Ind. -- Poof! Kelvin Chun made an umbrella appear out of nowhere. Poof! A red carnation appeared on his tuxedo.
La Vida Loca played in the background, while Chun turned one umbrella into five and one rope into several. Like Ricky Martin, Chun included black satin in his performance, only instead of wearing it, he waved it around.
Chun traveled from Hawaii to teach a workshop called "Magic from Asia" at the Fellowship of Christian Magicians annual convention in Marion. He is one of more than 500 magicians who gathered at Indiana Wesleyan University to share secrets on how to make things disappear and reappear, tell stories while twisting balloons, clown around and illustrate Gospel messages through magic.
A small group of Christians in California started the fellowship group in 1953. Since then, the FCM has spread to Europe and Asia. Establishing a chapter in Africa is the next project, said Steve Varro, FCM president.
The weeklong fellowship convention used Wesleyan's Performing Arts Center and the Wellness and Recreation Center to present workshops such as "Impressive Illusions God's Top Ten," "Gospel Magic My Favorites" and "Air-Tistry -- Telling a Story While Twisting Balloons."
Christian magic is just one aspect of a growing Christian outreach industry. A recent Newsweek article reported that "gospel-fueled fun is now a booming business and a cornerstone of American culture," and that born-again Christians are one of the fastest-growing segments of America's religious population.
Like the million-dollar Christian entertainment industries of outdoor concerts and movies, Christian magic captures audiences through its visual appeal. Colorful scarves, puppets with neon-colored hair and magic tricks make people remember.
"We are visualizing what pastors have been vocalizing for years," Varro said. "You remember 10 percent of what you hear and 50 percent of what you see. This is the reason advertisers spend billions of dollars a year to convince us to buy their products and services."
Need for visuals
"Nowadays, (kids') attention spans are so short, if you don't do something visual, you've done lost them," said FCM member Diana Payne.
A cross made of balloons adorned the entryway, a symbol of the montage of Christianity and visual art that would characterize the week.
In one room, Varro demonstrated the Christian belief in Jesus' restorative powers. He held up a newspaper and said some good and bad things are in it, just like in our lives. Sometimes bad events tear us apart, he said as he ripped the paper into small pieces. He raised his hands above his hand and said: "But if you take these pieces and offer them to Jesus, all will be restored."
Ta-da! The newspaper was whole again.
In another room, Wanda Pelton held two glasses. One was filled with water; it represented Jesus. Another was packed with trinkets and a dollar; it represented the material items she says fill, and sometimes overwhelm, people's lives. She held up the glass with the trinkets and asked the audience: "Is there room for Jesus?"
She poured the water into the other glass, so the water ran between the gaps to demonstrate the Christian belief that Jesus can fill up the empty spaces in our lives.
Just down the hallway from Pelton, Christian magician Ricky Henson, or "Tricky Ricky" is revealing the tricks of the trade. He blew bubbles into the air. Tricky Ricky poised his index finger and attacked the bubbles as they started floating to the ground. "God's looking for real people to hang in there with them," he said.
Poof! One of the bubbles turned hard and Henson grabbed it. He held it in the air for all to see.
The "oohhs" and "ahhhs" filtered into the hallway where Dawn Nix was out of breath and fumbling with a life-sized balloon bicycle and dumbbell. She told her family she had watched a Christian magician blow up the dumbbell to the song Joy of the Lord. He wanted "to show that our joy is our strength," Nix said.
Twins Jaime and Paul Rogers, or Doodles and Bobo, were in the hallway waiting for their mother to register. As children entertainers and evangelists, the 17-year-olds try to get into heaven on pogo sticks. They wanted to enhance their routine by bringing back ideas from the workshops.
The convention drew people from all over the country and the world.
Sharon Jackson and Ervinette Young traveled from Bermuda to learn how to make balloon animals and perfect the art of juggling. Jackson, who has been coming to the convention for three years, said she was trying to make magic a family business and wanted to start integrating Christianity into her magic when she returns.
Some people have been attending for more than 15 years. Others, like Hindra Salim from Indonesia, were at the convention for the first time.
During a lunch break, Salim threw a die on the lunch table and performed a magic trick. One dot on the die stared up from the table. Salim picked it up and turned it over, so that a four appeared on the other side. Fellow FCM member Markly Anderson peered over his shoulder.
"That's very deceptive, and Satan's work is deceptive," Anderson said. "Will you explain that to me?"
Salim explained that his demonstration was a metaphorical Christian lesson.
"If you have the knowledge that two sides of a die equal seven, you cannot be deceived. Where does knowledge come from? The Bible. When you trust in the Bible, God loves you and you have the knowledge. So next time, you will not be fooled."
Anderson nodded his head and shared one of his own magic tricks with Salim. He pulled out a crisp dollar bill and folded it in half. He folded it in half again. When he opened it, the corners were inverted so the ones were next to one another. He folded the dollar up again.
When he opened it, the dollar was back to normal.
That magic is deceptive is a common criticism of Christian magicians. Some conservative Christians believe magic is the work of the devil and should not be used to interpret biblical messages.
Varro insists it's not deceptive, it's secretive. "I may not know what my mechanic is doing when he fixes my car. That doesn't make it deceptive. We make it very clear before the performance that everything we do is illusion."
Varro has played an active role in the fellowship for 24 years and says there is a lot of misunderstanding about what members do. "All the criticism I have received has been from people who have never seen my program."
At the convention, Varro says, he didn't have to spend time explaining the value of Christian magic. Everyone already cherished it.
Barb Ricksecker has been volunteering at conventions since 1981 and said people who attend are like a family of Christian magicians where everyone accepts one another.
"It's one week when all groups can come together, share ideas and glean information from one another," Rickseker said.
The FCM is like a family, Varro says. With children, teen-agers, adults and the elderly, the convention is like a multigenerational reunion where everyone can exchange ideas, thoughts and prayers.