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2000 l'International Benson & Hedges Montréal Pyromusical Competition Report

Opening Show Swing Saturday June 17th, 2000

Panzera SAS and Performance Pyrotechnic Associates, designed by Pierpaolo Serafino and Eric Tucker, Pyrodigital firing

The sky over Montréal will definitely swing on the opening night of the Benson & Hedges International 2000! This special pyrotechnical display, staged outside of the competition, is a happy marriage between the extraordinay finesse of maestro Panzera's Italian bombs [shells] and the precision shown tiem and again by the very popular American pyrotechnician Eric Tucker. The exuberant spirit of the swing era permeates every moment of this passionate demonstration of pyromusical art."

The weather gods smiled on Montréal after a cool and dismal spring for this none-competing opening display. A collaboration between Panzera's designer, Pierpaolo Serafino and multiple Gold Jupiter winner Erick Tucker of PPA, this promised to be an interesting display. With an amazing one thousand three hundred roman candles, the precision of Pyrodigital firing, this unique blend of pyromusical styles was a fitting opening to this Millenial competition.

Part 1 to the music Sing, Sing, Sing by Lousi Prima. This fast-paced segment opened to multi-break shell-of-shells in red, then blue and gold comets with green comet candles below. Next, silver comets and crossette candles, with glitter comet shells above. This theme continued with more multi-break shell-of-shells of crossed silver comets, with shells of blue and charcoal comets, glitter candles and more of the same theme brining the segment to a close.

Part 2 to the music Shout and Feel it by Count Basie. This opened with multi-break shell-of-shells of glitter comets, then shells of blue and glitter, blue bombette candles with more blue and charcoal comet shells above. Then gold glitter shells, with bright note-synchronized mines in red below followed by more blue bombette candles. Next, more multi-break shell-of-shells with fan candles of crossette comets below. Then crackling comet shells and bombette candles in glittering fans. The segment was brought to a close with more large multi-break shell-of-shells in blue.

Part 3 to the music Night and Day by Cole Porter, performed by Ella Fitzgerald. Gold charcoal candles opened this more seren segment, followed by candles in blue and gold, with gold kamuro weeping willow shells above, their glittering fronds descending towards the lake. More blue and gold candles in fans, with some blue bombettes and more gold kamuros above. Then brigher gold comet candles and the same in shells above. This continued and then moved to an arrangement of candles with balls angled left and right and a cluster of comets in the middle with silver kamuro weeping willow shells above. Red glitter shells were followed by large shells of white turning to red fireflies, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 4 to the music Zoot Suit Riot by Cherry Poppin Daddies. This began noisily with tourbillon and salute candles. Then shells of yellow comets followed by cracking bombette candles with shells of the same crackling stars above. Then shells of comets which then burst into small bunches of comets, with glitter candles below in fans. This was repeated and followed by multi-break shell-of-shells in blue. Then more crackling shells, with comet candles angled left and right below. More of the shells breaking to small bunches were followed by tourbillon and salute candles. Then shells of white, with mines below, more salutes coming to a close with some multi-break shell-of-shells.

Part 5 to the music Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by Steve Perry, performed by the Andrews Sisters. This segment opened with mines and tourbillons followed by shells of go-getters in red. After several of these, shells of go-getters in green, then shells of red turning to green. Next, tourbillon candles, with shells of glitter comets above, followed by mines turning from red to white with shells of green turning to red above with pistils of go-getters. More tourbillon candles and the segment was brought to a close with shells of the flower-like dense toubillons with double petals.

Part 6 to the music Jumpin' at the Woodside by Benny Goodman, performed by Harry James. Candles in gold glitter comets, with the same in shells above hissing quite distinctly were followed by shells of gold comets turning to balls. Next, candles of bright balls and comets, described as a new device combining a comet with an interior star followed by shells of fireflies in bunches. Then silver candles, glittering comet shells above in gold, the segment coming to a close with a barrage of star shells.

Part 7 to the music Over the Rainbow by Harold Harburg & E. Y. Harburg, performed by Judy Garland. This began with nautic fountains (which appeared to burn out too quickly) with firefly shells above. Then fans of white comet candles with bright silver comet shells above. This was repeated and followed by a line of V shaped silver fountains next to the lake with more firefly shells above. The segment was brought to a close with beautiful silver kamuro shells, the stars trailing all the way down to the lake.

Part 8 to the music Minnie The Moocher by Cab Calloway. This opened with crossed candles with star shells above, then a line of vertical candles with comet and star shells above. Then shells of bright orange, mines of fine bright gold comets with bombette candles above and orange shells above these. Then shells of purple and orange with some gold comets in as well. Then a repeating sequence of barrages of salutes from mines, orange shells above and more mines and silver bombettes below. Candles of screaming whistles and bombettes were followed by really great large shells of the dense double-petalled flower tourbillons, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 9 to the music Jump Jive and Wail by The Brian Setzer Orchestra. This began with fans of bombette candles with multi-break shell-o-shells in red above. Then silver comet and glitter shells, mines in silver glitter, salutes, multi-break shell-of-shells and bombettes of silver comets. More multi-break shell-of-shells in crossed silver comets, bombette candles below with the segment coming to a close with this multi-break shell-of-shells theme with dramatic crossed comets below (which lead to a unique problem!).

Part 10 to the music What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. Thick gold comet candles with gold kamuro weeping willow shells above opened this more serene segment. This theme continued and the gold kamuros were augmented below with bombette candles and followed by shaped-burst shells producing hearts of red. This theme repeated with more gold kamuros followed by really bright gold ones, reaching all the way down to the ground with shells of red hearts at a lower level, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 11 to the music In the Mood by Glen Miller, performed by Joseph Garland. After the serene close of the last segment, this one opened dramatically with barrages of multi-break shell-of-shells in blue, with gold glitter crossette candles below. Then shells of crackling stars, with more crossette candles below. Shells of stars with a few spider-like comets with crackle were followed by candles of fat comets, the segment coming to a close with two really huge shells of stars and comets.

Part 12 to the music Swing, Swing, Swing by John Williams. This began with barrages of salutes and comets, shells in blue and silver, mines and candles of silver crossette comets. Then multi-break shell-of-shells in blue, then the same in silver comets with bombette candles bloew followed by shells of red rings. This theme was repeated, followed by mines, fat comet candles and screaming whistle fans. Then shells of silver comets, shells of tourbillons and silver comets followed by shells of blue and gold. Next, glittery silver comet candles, the segment coming to a close with salutes, silver comets and really large blue shells.

Part 13 to the music Jumpin' Jack by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. This segment opened with multi-break shell-of-shells in gold glitter and blue and gold comets. Then more of the same followed by bombette candles, with white strobe pots on the ground, comet candles in fans followed by shells of purple above. Then really large fans of comets and candles of screaming silver whistles, with silver shells above. This theme was repeated and followed by large silver and blue mines, lots of silver shells above the segment coming to a close with multi-break shell-of-shells in silver.

Part 14 to the music Stuff Like That There by Jay Livingstone, Ray Evans & Michael Goldsen, performed by Bette Midler. Slow falling fireflies were followed by gold butterfly shells with blue rings around. Then shells of yellow fireflies with tourbillon candles below. This was repeated and followed by blue mines with shells of the dense flower-like tourbillons above. Then shells of rings with tourbillon candles below. The segment was brought to a close with large shells of blue and double petalled flower tourbillon shells.

Part 15 to the music Sing, Sing, Sing by Louis Prima. This final segment began dramatically and soon exceed my ability to take notes! Barrages of salutes, huge shells of silver with blue pistils then barrages of silver comet shells. The pace increased and the noise started to become fearsome with enormous volleys of salutes from shells, multi-break shell-of-shells and candles, plus vast numbers of silver comet shells. The noise became incredible, the size and number of salutes increased. Then there was a momentary pause, followed by a line of incredibly dazzling silver candles and a final tremendous barrage of enormous salutes. The crowd screamed their delight at this fantastic beginning to the season.

This was a very interesting display with a style quite different to that usually employed by Eric Tucker. The major triumph being that it wasn't possible to tell that it was the work of two designers, but combining the talents of both. Of course, there were lots and lots of candles, but that is typical Panzera. There were some great shells and most of the music worked really well, the rhythm and tempo being the perfect compliment to the pyrotechnics. Then there was a fabulous pure-Panzera finale to delight the crowd. After the show was over, the result of some over enthusiastic comets in section 9 could be seen - the roof of the log-flume ride at the extreme left of the firing site was ablaze! I believe this is a first. Fortunately the many firemen standing by on-site soon brought it under control. All in all, it was a very enjoyable beginning to the year 2000 season.


Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official press release material, shown in white.