Saturday, February 14, 2009


Dad's talent magically rubs off on son

Friday, February 13, 2009 11:00 AM CST
There is a certain fascination in seeing the impossible unfold before our very eyes. Perhaps this is what draws us to magic performances, with their improbable feats and astounding tricks.

For some, this interest becomes a passion.

Magician Vincent Villamonte caught the magic bug when he was quite young. His parents, Luis and Rogene Villamonte, had been practicing professionally for nine years before they started their family and have encouraged their children to participate in their performances.

“When Vincent was little we would always have him come up on stage with us,” Vincent’s dad said.

Vincent has grown up with direct access to Nebraska’s only magic shop, which his parents started. He spends part of his summer helping run the family business, having even developed his own magic kit to sell.

“Every summer I live at the shop,” he jokes. According to his parents, that’s where he’s honed his skills.

His parents’ talent rubbed off on young Vincent, and by the time he was 11 he had begun to perform professionally as well. Two years later, he put on his first solo performance at his school. His father, who usually helped with some of the tricks, only manned the camera that day. “I was ready for it,” the protégé says, recalling that magical day.

The phenom is now 15, and has been putting on performances for conventions, birthday parties, and other functions for four years. Behind every act there are many hours of hard work.

“I practice every day for 45 minutes, except on weekends,” says Villamonte. Every trick must be repeated for perfection, and his routines change about every year. It’s a lot of work, but he feels that it has definitely been worth it.

“The best part is the reaction after a trick, the looks on their faces,” he says.

The Lincoln Pius X High School freshman performed last month at his school’s faculty and staff Christmas Party. His comfortable stage presence, humor, and contagious smile earned him plenty of laughter.

“Our staff members enjoyed the act very much, but I believe they enjoyed it even more knowing that Vincent is one of our students,” said Father James Meysenburg, the school’s superintendent. “We all felt a certain pride in the giftedness of this young man.”

Villamonte draws on a diverse range of props for his shows, including birds, cards, candy, and even his little sister Jenny, who gets a lift from her brother by being levitated on occasion.  He understands, though, that having all of these tricks up his sleeve is only part of the performance. “I always start a show by feeling out the audience,” Villamonte says.

Two years ago, his successful techniques earned him second place in the International Brotherhood of Magicians’ close-up youth category.

Later this month, Villamonte will be competing at the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas, where he will perform a 10-minute silent routine, instead of his full 30-to-45-minute routine. His participation in these international competitions has given him exposure to young magicians from around the world, and has helped him to improve his skills.

He plans to continue his career as a professional magician. With his dedication, ambition, and natural talent there is very little which could hold him back. His parents are both incredibly proud of him. “We’re happy to see that he has learned how to practice and understands that he can do anything he can dream of if he puts his mind to it,” his dad said.

More information on Vincent Villamonte is on his page on the “Magic Mafia” Web site, at There you can see video footage, book a performance, or make a donation to help cover the costs of his competition in Las Vegas.