Boris Tsang/Sun Photo Editor

Brandon Axelrod '21, co-founder of Cornell Magic Society, fashions an alien astronaut out of balloons during a performance at the Ithaca Commons in Feb. 2019.

March 5, 2021

Magic in the Making: New Cornell Magic Society Attracts Experts and Novices

Print More

From card tricks to optical illusions and everything in between, founders of the new Cornell Magic Society are sharing their love for performing with the rest of the Cornell community. 

Founded shortly after ClubFest this semester, the Magic Society at Cornell has seen promising numbers of potential new members, including experienced student magicians and those who’ve yet to perform their first trick.

According to David Frank ’24, the founder and president of the club, the Magic Society is currently in the last step of the club registration process and will soon be on its way to teaching magic to Cornellians.

Frank said he has been doing magic professionally since he was 12 years old. Outside of Cornell, Frank runs his own business, performing at restaurants, bars, corporate events and every venue in between.

The Magic Society offers magic instruction to those who have never done magic, and an open environment to practice magic skills and tricks for students with prior experience in practicing magic. Frank planned to join a magic organization when he came to Cornell — but when he arrived, he didn’t find one. After noticing that other Ivy League schools like Yale and Harvard have magic societies, Frank decided to start his own Magic Society and foster a community of Cornell magicians.

Like Frank, Brandon Axelrod ’21, treasurer of the Magic Society, also always thought of founding a magic club, but did not think that such a club would garner enough interest. 

The two magicians connected when Axelrod saw Frank’s Reddit post in February that   called for magicians on campus and decided to reach out. Despite being at different points in their academic careers, the students found they had a lot in common — including having years of magic experience and similar training. 

Axelrod started his magic career early. He began doing magic when he was 5 years old, and launched his own performance company when he was 12.

So far, the recruiting process has drawn a number of new members sign-ups and even more interested students who have reached out through social media.

“I got answers for no experience, which is totally OK. I’m excited to teach them magic,” Frank said. “The [magic society] officers and I are making ourselves available whenever we can.”  

The club officers are planning to hold monthly meetings over Zoom, where they will bring in a professional magician to run a workshop, interview or Q&A session.

Although teaching magic over Zoom may seem like a challenge, Frank said he’s hopeful that the meetings will be a success.

“I’ve been a part of magic clubs in the past that were totally online even before the pandemic, and it’s worked. They bring people in, they have their setups and you learn some cool stuff,” Frank said. “And then, following that professional magic lecture or workshop, every meeting we’re going to break off and do these things called jam sessions where we’re just going to kind of learn practice and share magic among each other.”

Though the club remains in its early stages, Frank has secured Michael Carbonaro, the magician behind truTV’s hit series The Carbonaro Effect for the Magic Society’s second meeting.

Axelrod expressed his excitement to finally have a magic community present on campus after three years on the Hill without one.

“We’ve gotten people to the info sessions and in other ways, by posting on Reddit and Instagram,” Axelrod said. “It’s exciting to see that other people are interested in it besides me.”