McNeill sisters conjure a silver

Parksville pair come second in Seattle’s Pacific Coast Magicians convention

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It’s no illusion that magicians Heather and Sandra McNeill have a shiny new silver medal at their home in Parksville.

The girls, 17 and 19, won the award at the annual Pacific Coast Association of Magicians Convention in Seattle, WA in early August, after competing in two adult categories.

The whole experience was an exciting one for the sisters as it was their first medal in an adult category and it also marked another first.

“We had never been to the States before,” said Heather. “It was our first time out of the country so it was exciting, and to bring home a medal was exciting too.”

Heather and Sandra are known as The Magic of Zanthera,  and have been doing magic for about 11 years, since they saw their first Harry Potter movie.

Their dad showed them a neat trick following the movie and after practicing some tricks themselves they thought they might try a routine for their next Brownie badge. Their leader loved it.

“It was the best badge she’d seen in her 18 years of guiding,” said Heather. So the Brownie leader asked them to perform it for a number of groups. People started asking if they performed at birthday parties and “it just snowballed from there,” said Sandra.

Today the girls’ acts involve a routine where they banter back and forth, providing comedy while doing some baffling tricks.

Their funny and entertaining shows have snagged them a couple silvers and a gold medal in previous conventions. The competition in Seattle had over seven hours worth of competitive acts, which was the second longest in the convention’s 79-year history.

Besides winning a medal, the girls also got to attend a number of workshops and lectures by world class magicians and even spoke with one of the magic icons, Shawn Farquhar, who gave them feedback on their act.

“We sat down with him and talked for about an hour about what he thought,” Sandra beamed.

The sisters agreed that the best part of doing their magic shows is to see people’s reactions.

The girls will continue to perform at private parties and libraries and in the near future they hope to perform at elementary schools and encourage kids to stick with their dreams, as they did. And they will continue to follow their own dreams.

“I love doing magic and I love performing for people,” said Sandra.

“And if we can make a living doing what we love then it’s a worthwhile goal.”

To book the Magic of Zanthera, call 250-248-2507, 250-240-6507 or send an email to zanthera1@yahoo.ca.

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