Le Mondial SAQ 2003
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report
Atlas PyroVision Producions. Designed by Stephen Pelkey and Matt Shea, Pyrodigital firing; Show Director choreography; Pyromate wireless firing
Northeastern United States pyrotechnics leader and one of the most
well-regarded in the American pyrotechnics industry, Atlas PyroVision Producions
is a successful company hailing from New Hampshire that has reaped the rewards
of more than 50 years of artistic and scientific innovations. For their second
appearance at this competition, Atlas PyroVision Producions will present
A Pyrotechnic Symphony, a majestic pyromusical display that pays tribute
to the Montréal International Fireworks Competition. Energy and
excitement are on the menu with a dazzling array of compelling music, including
Alicia Key's Falling, Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, Pink's
Get The Party Started, Lord of the Dance's Warrior
and John Travolta's Greased Lightning.
Click here for the official press release from the public relations team at La Ronde.
After an earlier threat of rain, a clear evening was the backdrop to a capacity crowd for this highly anticipated display from Atlas. Creating an extra launch site composed of seven small floating barges, equipped with wireless digital firing systems, these were positioned seemingly close to the audience and offered an extra dimension to what is already a fantastic firing site. Stephen Pelkey told me that he had worked very hard on the colour aspects of this display, even consulting with a professor of art to set the appropriate mood for each tableau. Stephen also told me that he always looked forward to coming to Montreal and that it was fun to be given such a canvas to work with.
Pre-Introduction to the music American Symphony the theme from the film Mr. Holland's Opus. Fans of pastel headed comets with shells of silver crossettes above were followed by silver kamuros which trailed to the lake. Fans of glitter comets on ramp 5 with shells of comets above and then mine fan blasts on ramp 5 were followed by shells of firefly charcoal comets and the same on ramp 4. Then sequences of colour mines and comets with shells above followed by colour mines to the left and right with shells of crackle above, this introductory segment coming to a close with colour mines and shells of bright colour comets above.
Narrative Introduction to the music Marrakesh Marketplace from the film Gladiator. As the narrative introduction basically repeated the press release, paying tribute to the Montréal International Fireworks Competition for raising the bar in the quality of pyromusicals with such great designers as Eric Tucker, Alberto Navarro, Georg Alef and Pierre Walder, flares lit up at the back of the display area.
Part 1 to the music Warrior from Lord of The Dance The flares at the back from the previous section turned into strobes as red nautical flares lit up in the lake and turned into white strobes. Fans of glitter comets started up on ramp 5 and pastel meteor comets on ramps 4 and 3 with perfect synchronization. As the comet fans continued, shells of charcoal comets to strobes fired above and then fans of pastel stars below and gold glitter comets on ramp 5. Next, star shots angled to the left and right on ramp 3 with glitter comets on ramp 5 and willow bombettes behind which were a bit too dim to see. Above these, colour star shells as fans of mines lit up on ramp five and fronts of mines on ramp 3 with alternating colours between adjacent mines. Above these, colour star shells followed by shells of go-getters in stars and silver comets. The alternating colour mines continued below with shells of crossing-stars above, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 2 to the music At Last by Etta James A serene beginning to this segment with double ascension girandolas in gold glitter and meteor-headed gold glitter comets. Above these, shells of very vivid red and blue stars as the girandolas came to an end. Then crossed pastel meteor-headed gold comets with shells of purple stars and gold glitter comet pistils above. These continued and were followed by shells of charcoal comets with fireflies and then shells of willow stars turning to silver and then shells of beautiful mixed strobing pastels. Sequences of comet fans on ramp five were augmented by shells of pastel meteor-headed gold comets, the segment coming to a close with brilliantly sequenced colour star shots below and glitter comet and firefly kamuros above to cheers from the audience.
Part 3 to the music Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera, Pink, MYA. Sequences bright colour star shots were followed by shells of colour-headed crossette comets and more fan sequences of colour star shots below. Above these, shells of bright go-getters and then gold glitter crossette shells followed by huge shells of comets (which wiggled at the end) and colour pistils. Sequences of colour star shots on ramp 5 were augmented by shells of comets to colour stars above and fans of meteor comets on ramp 4 and then more gold glitter crossettes above. The fans of pastel meteor comets continued in the centre and then angled mine sequences, bright mine fans in the centre and rhythmic glitter mine sequences bringing the segment to a close.
Part 4 to the music Get this Party Started by Pink. Big fans of colour headed comets filled the sky and were followed by large shells of comets with pistils above and then bright crossed comet shots below. Next, shells of bright silver crossette comets and shells of rings of tourbillons (farfalle). These continued and were augmented by shells of stars and tourbillons and added emphasis to the lyric which was saying "dancing". More barrages of shells of silver crossette comets were followed by shells of comets and pistils and then shells of electric comets with star pistils, shells of go-getters and fast mine sequences below, bringing the segment to a close.
Part 5 to the music Fallin' by Alicia Keys. A serene start with kamuro shells, fitting perfectly with the lyric "fallin'", and pastel meteor headed gold glitter comet fans. These were followed by bombettes of strobes with large shells of bright colour pistils turning to strobes above. The comet sequences and strobe bombettes continued with more of the large shells of bright colour pistils turning to strobes above. Very well synchronized sequences of fans of comets exactly on the notes were followed by shells of purple with gold glitter comet pistils and then shells of comets with red pistils as gold glitter comet fans continued below. Next, shells of white waterfall comets, trailing down gently followed by shells of falling leaves, again emphasising the music. These falling leave shells continued, serenely filling the sky as pastel meteor gold glitter comet fans fired below with shells of weeping willows ending in colour stars above brought the segment to a close.
Part 6 to the music Greased Lightning by John Travolta. After the serenity of the previous segment, blasts of angled mines on ramp five and fronts of mines on ramp 3 raised the tempo. Then shells of colour stars and comets followed by shells of bright star crossettes which fast sequences of colour stars fired below. Then shells of crackling comet pistils and multiple crackling petals fired above with bursts of mines below. These were followed by shells of stars and whistling wiggling comets and then a fabulous sequence of very fast photoflash bursts exactly on the very fast percussion sequence in the music, to gasps from the audience. Shells of serpents and colour stars above with big comet fans below were followed by mines angled to the left and right on the notes and then very thick rising glitter comets one by one exactly in sync, the segment coming to a close with a fantastic moving sequence of bright colour star shots.
Part 7 to the music Compliant De La Butte by Rufus Wainwright. Short duration low bright star shots in sync with the piano notes of music on ramp 5 somewhat hid the fans on trailing glitter comets on ramps 3 and 4 and were then augmented by shells of comets above. These were followed by very large brocade shells ending in colour stars, fitting well with the music. These were followed by shells of beautiful mixed pastel strobes, filling the sky. Next very large shells of comets and pistils, exploding one by one exactly on the notes. Then barrages of white strobe shells followed by shells of go-getters and more strobes. The segment came to a close with a line of short duration fountains in Vs on ramp 5.
Part 8 to the music Firebird Suite Finale by Stravinski. Rotating wheels lit up one by one on ramp five and after they burned out, a fast sequence of pastel comets and then fans of fountains on ramp 5. Shots of charcoal firefly comets were fired on ramps 3 and 4 with shells of charcoal comets turning to strobes above. These then lead into very high firing silver kamuros which continued for a time. Next, shells of rings with comet pistils and shells of rings of crossettes with strobe pistils at a medium height and more silver kamuros high above these. The silver kamuros continued exactly firing on the notes and were followed by popping brocades clusters ending in colour stars and shells of falling leaves with comet shots below, the segment coming to a close with a barrage of titanium salutes and very bright colour comet shells, to cheers from the crowd.
Part 9 to the music Victory from Lord of the dance. This began with mines of firefly comets with shells of silver kamuros above, trailing to the lake. Then colour star shells and shells of silver go-getter comets and shells of blue stars which turned into go-getters. These were followed by sequences of shells of crossing stars (shuttle shells) and then shells of colour stars with starfish comets. Next, colour shots left and right followed by gold brocade shells above with pistils and then back to the sequences of crossing star shells. Sequences of angled comet and star shots below on ramps 3, 4 and 5 were followed by more sequences of crossing star shells. The segment came to a close with sequences of mines and a barrage of bright coloured comet shells above.
Part 10 to the music Sandstorm by Darude. The lyric asked if people were "feeling good", to cheers of approval from the crowd as fans of glitter comets and mines of stars and bees fired at an enticingly slow rate. The techno rhythm of the music became apparent but still the mine and comet sequences were intriguingly slow, teasing at what was to come. Then the fun began as very fast sequences of comets met the tempo of the music and barrages of shells began to fire above in warm colours. The shells barrages continued with mine sequences below in bright orange and yellow and then a sudden and very dramatic colour change to blues and purples, to gasps of astonishment from the crowd. The intense barrages continued but the smoke made it a bit hard to see the details of the shells, but mine and comet sequences continued below with huge shells with pistils above. Finally, an enormous number of simultaneous launches were heard and a massive barrage of titanium salutes which, after they'd finished, revealed a barrage of kamuros had been fired and could now be seen filling the sky and trailing to the lake. The crowd roared their approval for this display and rose to their feet to give a standing ovation.
Stephen Pelkey's consultation with the art professor paid off. The colour changes, particularly in the finale, were an extra source of drama and spectacle. The display was a very interesting mix of intense music and more serene pieces with a very well handled variation in rhythm and pace. The new firing position - ramp 5 - floating close to the audience added a dramatic new dimension and was employed very successfully, save for early on when bright glitter comets close up hid willow bombettes further back. The comet and star chase sequences were very well done and actually fit well with the music, which is sometimes not the case when these type of effects are used. The shells used were of a very high quality throughout and the lack of use of cakes was refreshing. I also appreciated that there wasn't temptation to deploy too huge an arsenal which can sometimes lead to a lack of dynamic range in a display. This display had a very good range from serene moments to well proportioned intense sequences and the finale fit well with the scale of the rest of the display. The colour changes in the finale were very dramatic and lead to gasps of amazement from the audience. It would have been nice to see more nautical shells, though the use of the new ramp 5 did make up for this to an extent. Overall, a very impressive performance from the US team which means that it is very very close at the top. I have a feeling that it will be the choice of music which is the final determinant of the order of the Jupiters. The competition, amongst the contenders, is at a very high level this year.
Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official
press release material, shown in white.