Magic in the mountains

Ty Gallenback, magician

You probably wouldn’t expect to find a professional magician on the Western Slope of Colorado.

Ty Gallenbeck, who grew up in the Montrose/Delta area, didn’t plan a life of magic. He went to college to be a youth minister. “That was kind of my direction after leaving high school,” he said. “I picked up on magic while I was at college. That, without me knowing, has turned out to be something bigger that I could ever have imagined.” But he wasn’t an overnight sensation.

Gallenbeck saw magician David Blaine’s first TV special and decided he was going to figure out how Blaine did what he did. He bought a book that taught a lot of magic tricks and card tricks and methods. “I read it and studied and went back and watched his special until I could figure out what he was doing while he was doing it.

“It’s a lot like learning notes and scales on a guitar; you can watch someone because you know what to look for,” he said. “A lot is similar in magic; you pick up on things that you know. I could see the magic pretty quickly within the first six months after reading this book. Being able to do it proficiently took about two more years.”

After three years in California, Gallenbeck moved back to Delta, got married, and started a “regular” life. “Two years ago I put on my first big ticketed show at one of the wineries up in Palisade. We sold that show out and did another one and sold out 95%. It was incredibly exciting. It was a great venue. It was the direction I wanted to be heading—a small, elegant, intimate kind of show.”

He had worked in Vail and Beaver Creek but it wasn’t the kind of work he wanted to do. “Any performer’s dream is to have their own show,” he said. “If you’re working table to table, you become a professional interrupter. And that’s not the dream.”

Many of Gallenbeck’s connections have been random. For example, one day he was talking to his daughter’s kindergarten teacher, who spends a lot of time in Telluride. He mentioned that he like to find work up there and she suggested the Hotel Madeline.

“So I did some research and went up after Christmas last year, and we did a trial run in one of the restaurants. They loved it and thought it had some unique possibilities. From there we did our first ticketed show in Jan. 2016 and did five more shows after that.”

Of course, Telluride has its own kind of magic, and Gallenbeck has fallen under its spell. “The Telluride show in a lot of ways is my dream come true. Having my own show, running it and figuring it out, trying to make it work. The plan is to me it work and build on that and see if we can me it a staple for when people come to Telluride. I want them to say, hey you have to see the magic show. That’s the five year plan, we’re in year two now.”

Gallenbeck’s show includes a lot of card tricks. “I have played with and done all different kinds of styles but really love card magic and all the opportunities it presents. The thing I like about magic is that every night is unique. A deck of cards starts in order but as soon as its shuffled, most statisticians believe that no deck of cards has ever existed in that order.”

Without giving to much away one of the most talked about tricks from the show is where a spectators signed card ends up inside a corked and sealed wine bottle.”

He can remember doing simple card tricks as a kid, and seeing superstar magician David Copperfield when I was 10 or 11. “Out of all the things he did in his show, the one thing I remember was a magic trick with a rose, out in the audience, probably two or three feet away from me. That probably influenced my love of close up magic.”

Like many performers, magicians travel a lot. Gallenbeck is no exception. “Magic has taken me all across the country. I’ve performed in L.A., New York and New Jersey. I was in Houston recently.”

When he’s not booked for shows, Gallenbeck works part-time with Young Life, a Christian outreach for high school and middle school kids in Delta.

You can see Ty Gallenbeck in Telluride, every Saturday through the first week in April at the Madeline Hotel in the Mountain Village. For more information, please go to

About the author

Mavis Bennett

Mavis Bennett

A western Colorado resident for most of her life, Mavis Bennett is the publisher of the Montrose Monitor. She has written for newspapers and magazines more than three decades and founded the popular Monitor Magazine in 2003. This web site is the logical progression for the Monitor.