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L'International des Feux Loto-Québec 2005
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report

Australia Fusion Groove Dynamique Saturday June 18th, 2005

Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics, designed by Stewart Bensle, FireOne firing, ScriptMaker choreography, 97 32-cue firing modules

"Considered the leading pyrotechnics firm in Australia, HOWARD & SONS PYROTECHNICS represents a family tradition and fireworks-making skills dating back 80 years over four generations. It is renowned for its uniquely creative pyromusical style, which has brought it over 10 distinctions in the most prestigious fireworks competitions everywhere on the planet. For this, their first appearance in Montréal, this fireworks master from The Land Down Under will be treating us to 'Fusion Groove Dynamique', a dazzling pyromusical exhibition blending colours, rhythms and effects with style and sophistication, to familiar tunes by Eddy Mitchell, Michael Bublé, Saint-Germain and Harry Connick Jr."

A few days of record-breaking heat unfortunately gave way to almost a week of very wet cool weather after the arrival of the Australian team. Working in swamp-like conditions setting up the display must have been frustrating but the weather gods did smile on the boys from the land down under with almost perfect, though cool, conditions for the night of the display. A surprisingly large crowd were present to witness this team's inaugural display in Montréal. An interview with the team can be seen here.

Note the music tracks are subject to correction as I was informed by Andrew Howard that the press release from which I obtained the list was not in the correct order. I'll correct it when I have more information.

Part 1 to the music Unknown by Peter Gabriel. The display began, somewhat anti-climatically, without fireworks to a narration talking about artists and pyrotechnicians. After almost two minutes some strobes lit up on ramp 4 as the music progressed to:

Part 2 to the music Sway by Michael Bublé More strobes lit up on ramp three and then bright orange fireballs erupted from the roof of ramp 4. After these, large yellow flames on ramp 3 lit up the site as small shells of orange smokey fireballs burst above. This firey theme continued to the end of the segment.

Part 3 to the music J'aime Paris au mois de Mai by Eddie Mitchell. Shells of glitter with blue pistils were augmented by bombette candles and then shells of glittering brocade turning to strobes. These were followed by the same in candles and then shells with bright white crackling stars with strobe shells above these. This theme was repeated and followed by shells and candles of crossettes. Then shells of gold popcorn crackles with strobe shells above. These were followed by shells of gold glittering brocade with bombettes of gold glitter and blue.

Part 4 to the music Trumpet Horns. Shells of gold glitter comets with blue go-getters opened this segment and then were followed by star candles in pastel colours. Then bombettes and more shells of gold glitter with blue go-getters. A front of mines of comets transitioned the segment to:

Part 5 to the music Bye Bye Love by Ray Charles. Candles of comets with bright white crackling microstars were augmented by shells of electric crossette comets above. Next, mines of crackling comets and more shells of the white crackling stars. Then a repeating segment of shells of purple and more shells with the bright white crackling stars followed by shells of orange crossettes. Mines of green stars with shells of green comets in fans below brought the segment to a close.

Part 6 to the music Wind Cried Mary by Jamie Cullen. Fan cakes of blue bombettes were augmented by candles of orange-headed comets. Then shells of blue stars above followed by a large fan of orange-headed comets in the centre below. These were followed by crossette stars and shells of blue and crackling comets above. Next, cakes of stars and crackle with shells of glitter and crackle above, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 7 to the music Jazzfest by Herbie Hancock. A fan of 5 orange-headed comets at the left and right crossed in the centre of the display area as shells of gold charcoal Niagara falls burst softly above. Then a fan of blue-headed charcoal comets lit up in the centre as more gold charcoal Niagara falls shells (or horse-tails as some people call them) trailed softly higher up. These were followed by cakes of blue stars turning to gold brocade with shells of blue-headed Niagara falls charcoal comets complemented these above. This theme continued and was augmented by large weeping willow shells, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 8 to the music The Best Goes On by Buddy Rich. Star shot at low angles from the seven extra floating platforms in a V-shape in the lake (ramp 5) as large gold fountains lit up on ramp 3. These were augmented by shells of tourbillons above and candles of tourbillons on ramp 5. A gold glittering wheel lit up on its own as shells of silver serpents fired above. These were followed by shells of tourbillons and hummers as fans of crackling comets lit up below. Large shells of pale gold palm comets and fans of crackling comets below brought the segment to a close.

Part 9 to the music Pow by the Beastie Boys. Shots of small stars fired from ramp 5 as fans of steel blue stars erupted from ramp 3. Above these, shells of crackling charcoal crossette comets with fans of pale gold crossette candles below. This theme continued with mines of comets and bombettes in gold as shells of blue with gold electric comets fired above with more cakes of crackling comets below. These were followed by shells of crackling comets which ended as small coloured peony shells - a shell-of-shells effect. This theme continued with shells of crackling pistils with shell-of-shells peonies. The segment came to a close with a barrage of shells of crossettes to cheers from the audience.

Part 10 to the music Krupa by Apollo 440. Large bright pale green flames lit up on ramp 3 and were followed by a front of mines with shells of pale gold comets above. Then soft breaking shells of stars which formed falling clusters followed by runs of mines below. Above these, shells of purple headed Niagara falls comets with mines of comets and fish (or bees) below. These were followed by large bright pale green fireballs on ramp 3. Next, fans of bright crackling comets with shells of electric comets above. These were followed by bombettes of crackling comets. Next, shells of white stars ending in crackle. Four gold-glittering wheels started to turn as strobes lit up on ramp 5. Then crackling comets fired from ramp 5 as shells of gold glittering brocade brought the segment to a close.

Part 11 to the music So Flute by St-Germain. This began with star shells with bombette canldes below. These were followed by silver Niagara falls shells and then shells of bright white stars. This theme continued and then fans of star shells filling the space well in the sky. These were followed by several criss-crossing gold glitter comet candles with purple-headed gold charcoal Niagara falls shells above as the crossed candles below changed to silver-headed meteor comets, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 12 to the music Lift Me Up by Moby. A fan of comet and star shells was followed by shells of bright falling glitter with candles of bombettes below. Then more glitter comet shells above followed by shells of pale gold brocade. Fans of stars lit up below as shells of glitter comets turning to gold strobes fired above and then mines of yellow strobes below. These were followed by more of the shells of glittering brocade turning to strobes with the same in mines on ramp 5, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 13 to the music So Quiet by Björk. This segment began quietly in harmony with the music as shells of falling leaf strobes burst gently. As the music tempo picked up, barrages of star-headed silver comets and then a return to falling leaves in perfect accordance with the music. This alternating theme continued as dictated by the music with mines of tourbillons turning to salutes where appropriate and then fountains on ramp 5 as the music quietened. A final burst of screaming serpent mines on ramp 3 brought the segment to a close in exact agreement with the music.

Part 14 to the music It Had to Be You by Harry Connick Junior. Triplets of gold fountains lit up on ramps three and five and were augmented by strobes. Then mines of comets with shells of gold glitter and blue stars above. This theme continued and was followed by shells of silver crossettes and then Niagara falls shells. Below these, bombettes of blue with gold brocade as more shells of blue and gold fired above. The segment came to a close with a barrage of charcoal comets ending in crackle.

Part 15 to the music Cantaloop by US3. Jets of stars shot from ramp 5 onto the lake as kaleidoscope shells with hexagonal bursts of comets and colour stars fired above. These continued as candles of crossette comets fired below. Then fans of stars on ramp 3. A rainbow effect in coloured bombettes started to form as Niagara falls shells of colour-headed comets formed a large rainbow in the sky above. This continued and built into a two-level rainbow to great effect, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 16 to the music Manifesto by Cat Empire. Large shells of glitter comets turning to strobes with star pistils opened up this penultimate segment. Then mines of comets with shells of starfish comets and stars above. This theme continued with runs of mines and more shells of comets with pistils above. The segment came to a close with fronts of mines.

Part 17 to the music Would You by Lowe. Fans of crackling comets opened up on ramp 5 with shells of glitter comets turning to strobes above with pistils. Large fans on ramp 4 were followed by more shells of glitter turning to strobes above with fans of comets on ramp 4. Triplet fans of gold glitter comets were augmented by barrages of large Niagara falls shells in gold brocade above and then three very wide mine fans on ramp 3, forming almost peacock tails but in gold brocade. These wide mine fans continued as barrages of gold brocade shells burst above, increasing in intensity and trailing to the lake as a final burst of fans of glitter burst from ramp 5 bringing the display to a close. Unfortunately, there was a narrative segment after the final shells had dimmed which created something of an anti-climatic feeling.

This was an interesting inaugural display for the Australian team. They specialize in close-proximity pyrotechnics and these were used effectively on ramp 5. It was quite noticeable how low-smoke these were. The music choice was interesting, being inspired by the Montreal Jazz Festival and it recalled the displays in the year 2000 which used some Jazz and Swing music. There were some nice effects produced, particularly the rainbow segment and the fireballs were interesting, though didn't produce as much heat as was advertised! Overall, the display was well synchronized but there was somewhat a feeling of repetitiveness in the products used. The gold brocade finale was enjoyable but was rather short and, in my opinion, spoiled by the final closing narration. There were a couple of mis-wired pieces (the wheels being the obvious ones) but these didn't distract from the display. The opening was a bit anti-climatic but, with all the rain during the week, one got the impression that water had affected some of the low-level devices. Overall, though, a well designed and synchronized display, particularly for a first visit to Montréal.


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