by Christian McCarville
As the end of the semester nears, many students tend to focus on their final projects and exams, failing to take the necessary time to unwind and relax.
The Rider Outreach team is dedicated to providing students with de-stressing activities and entertainment to allow for some distraction from this busy time of year.
“Going to the different events that Rider has offered this semester both virtually and in-person has definitely helped with my stress levels, especially during this unique semester,” said junior film, TV and radio major Kelly Phillips. “Not only does it give us something fun to do, but it allows us to socialize with our peers in a safe manner. As we all know, socialization is something we’ve all been missing this year.”
Outreach’s most recent event featured Westminster Choir College (WCC) alumnus Cassandra Nemzer. This event, held on April 13 at 8 p.m., revolved around Nemzer’s magic skills.
Frequently referred to as “The Songstress of Magic,” Nemzer has performed for many individuals in the New York City area, including celebrities and past presidents. She began performing early, at the age of 8 and was winning opera competitions by age 16.
Nemzer went on to study opera and musical theatre at WCC. She also studied at Mannes School of Music. Following her schooling, Nemzer performed in a variety of Off-Broadway productions along with several appearances in television and movies.
Currently, Nemzer has been conducting a unique magic show, using her performance skills to create an interesting experience for audiences. She incorporates elements of her singing, dancing and acting to bring excitement to the stage.
Nemzer’s success caught the attention of the Outreach team who booked a performance for the Rider community. This event is also a part of the Office of Recreation Program’s Stress Management Month.
Director of Recreation Programs, Dianna Clauss, spoke on the structure and goals of Stress Management Month.
“The well-being monthly campaigns are designed to focus on one specific area (or dimension) of well-being,” said Clauss. “For example, this past February we focused on Heart Health Month, March was our Nutrition Month, and April is our Stress Management month. The campaigns are targeted to focus on one dimension to really provide enough opportunities for students to engage in at least one or two events focused on their wellbeing in order to build their capacity in that area.”
Nemzer’s performance, held over Zoom, consisted of various sleight of hand magic tricks. These types of magic tricks typically involve a deck of cards and quick, subtle movements.
While sleight of hand magic is typically used in traditional magic shows, this show was anything but traditional. Each magic trick was done in its own unique style, showcasing each of her impressive talents.
“Cassandra performed quite the magical show, even despite being limited to performing virtually on Zoom,” said Outreach graduate assistance Hayley Francobandiero. “She impressed us all by still being able to display a captivating show, full of tricks and participation from the audience.”
During the event, Nemzer also spoke about her journey as a performer and her experiences as a WCC alumnus. Her story is inspiring to those also seeking a career in the performing arts.
“She used some of the music that she used to sing and perform, and shared some of her experiences while at Westminster Choir College throughout the performance,” said Francobandiero. “Her connection to Rider drew the audience in, and her passion for magic and genuine talents shone through in her performance.”
Nemzer’s performance was ultimately an unforgettable magic show, one truly unlike any other.
Published in the 4/21/21 edition of The Rider News