Calvin students react to upcoming Banachek performance

Calvin students have mixed opinions on Banachek, the illusionist and magician, who will perform at the Covenant Fine Arts Center auditorium on Friday, Jan. 17.

Junior Lauren DeGroot, a member of the Weekend Programming staff who helps to host the event, explains why Banachek was invited and what his audience can expect.

“Weekend Programming as a whole has always tried to push the boundaries a little bit just like Calvin does with certain issues,” said DeGroot.

“We want events that make people think, events that might be more informative amidst other events that involve a lot of fun activities and activities that people might not get to engage in.”

“We try to provide events where people really question maybe their beliefs about something or be challenged to think outside their box,” she said.

DeGroot went to explain what Banachek does. “According to his own website, he is one of the world’s leading mentalists, but basically he manipulates the mind in some sense,” she said, “and does a lot of mental and visual illusions that will make you say ‘I don’t believe what I’ve seen!’”

DeGroot also shed light on Banachek’s performance at Calvin last year.

“I heard it was a huge success in terms of interest in the event,” she said. “The people who went to the event last year really, really enjoyed it and were blown away by what he did, and found it really interesting.”

“You could say he is controversial, but a lot of issues are controversial, so I think it is good to engage in an interesting one and talk about what a mentalist or an illusionist does. It doesn’t mean we believe in it, but we can surely explore what he does and be open to his performance.”

Sophomore Allyssa Mazur-Batistoni saw Banachek perform last year and is looking forward to seeing his performance again.

“One specific thing I remember was that he had a book, and he passed it to the back of the room, and they [the audience] flipped the book and opened to a page and somehow he was able to tell what a certain word was on that page,” Mazur-Batistoni said. “I was amazed at his abilities.”

While some Calvin students are excited to see Banachek perform, others do not share the same enthusiasm.

Sophomore Ana Van Lonkhuyzen explains why she will not be going to the show.

“I personally think that though it is a fun opportunity for students, and something that is enjoyable and intriguing, I am not in favor,” Van Lonkhuyzen said, “I think the whole idea of magic is not God-honoring, glorifying God or recognizing God’s power.”

Van Lonkhuyzen, however, is interested in the post-show question and answer session. “I would go to the discussion because I would like to hear what he has to say, what students have to say and hear what others have to say from a Christian perspective,” she said.

DeGroot would like to pass on a message to the students.

“I think it would be worth your time and energy to come and see something you may have never seen before and worth the discussion afterward,” she said.

“I would invite people to keep their minds open about this type of performance and these types of performers because it’s his work, something that he’s passionate about and he’s excited to share it with us.”