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

Canada Au Pied du Courant Saturday July 23rd, 2005

BEM Feux d'Artifice, designed by Marc Masson; FireOne firing, ScriptMaker choreography, ~3000 cues

"BEM FIREWORKS has been in the fireworks business for close to 40 years and staged major pyrotechnical displays in most major cities in Eastern Canada. Competing in Montréal for the second time, this Canadian team is set to take spectators on an epic pyromusical journey into the history of a spot that played a pivotal role in the foundation of Montréal and Canada as we know them today. Through the music of Debussy, Mozart, Gilles Vigneault and Félix Leclerc, the presentation 'Au Pied du Courant' will pay tribute to the historical building of the same name located at the foot of the Jacques Cartier Bridge just across the river from the La Ronde fireworks launch site."

Perfect weather conditions with comfortable temperatures, low humidity and a sufficient wind of the correct direction were the backdrop for this second participation by the Canadian team. With a promise of the most original concept of the entire season by the designer, expectations were set high for the capacity audience.

Part 1 to the music La Mer by Claude Debussy. After a long narration a line of nine fountains finally lit up on ramp 3. Above these, shells of blue stars and then shells of gold comets turning to blue stars. These were followed by gold glitter bombettes and blue star candles with shells of serpents above. Next, cakes of flying fish and then more shells of seperents above. A sequence of Z cakes in blue star crossettes were augmented by shells of charcoal comets turning to blue above and then massive mine fronts of deep blue stars. These were followed by mines of white strobes followed by more shells of blue above and then a front of dazzling white mines. The segment came to a close with shells of blue as a cake at the right hand end of ramp 3 came to life as the music ended, presumably in error.

Part 2 to the music Mon Pays by Gilles Vigneault. Another narrative section and then crossed white comet candles with shells of strobes above. These increased in size and were followed by bombettes and cakes of salutes. Next, crossed meteor candles with gold glitter bombettes above. Then shells of gold comets to red stars and shells of glitter and gold strobes followed by shells of red turning to blue. The segment came to a close with huge shell-of-shells of popping flowers to cheers from the audience,

Part 3 to the music L'Hymne au Printemps by Félix Leclerc. This began with a line of strobes on ramp 3 and then shells of red crossettes above. These continued and were followed by shells of brocade turning to red stars with candles of salute-terminated comets below. The red crossette shell theme continued and then shells of red turning to silver and shells of silver ending in crackle. Next shells of red stars and silver starfish comets and more of the shells of brocade turning red, the segment coming to a close with large shells of red turning to silver.

Part 4 to the music Babel by Armand Amar. Crossed bombette candles were augmented by shells of comets turning to red stars and then candles of tourbillons. The comet to red star shells continued and were followed by large shells of stars and starfish comets. Barrages of colour-changing (red to blue) shells were followed by a return to the brocade to red star shells. Then burning fountains flew in the air and landed in the lake as nautic fountains with nautic strobes as well. Above these, shells of rings of stars and then shells of crackle as the music progressed to

Part 5 to the music Le ballet des vaillants combattants by Antoine Boesset. Another flight of burning fountains landed in the lake as fan cakes fired on ramp 3. These were followed by crossette shells and big mine fronts, with a very loud explosion at the right hand end of ramp three which appeared to knock some racks over. The crossette shells continued above, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 6 to the music Piano concerto No. 21 by W. A. Mozart. Note synchronized single shot comets in silver were followed by the same in gold as kamuro shells fired above, fitting well with the music. This theme continued with dim kamuros turning to twinkling fireflies. These were followed by weeping willow shells and then a return to the firefly-terminated kamuros trailing to the lake. A return to the dim kamuro theme which continued for the rest of the segment until a mixture of large weeping willows and some gorgeous pale gold Niagara Falls shells brought the segment to a close as they trailed to the lake to cheers from the audience.

Part 7 to the music Montagues & Capulet by Sergei Prokofiev. A dramatic segment with red angled mines at the left and deep blue angled mines at the right with barrages of bombettes and salutes above. The red and blue mines represented the British and French forces fighting and the red mines advanced from left to right as the blue mines receded. The theme was continued above with red and blue shells with lots of noise and salutes and a wow in my notes. The red and blue mines continued with less and less blue mines as salutes continued above and the segment coming to a close with huge shells of red stars and silver comets and fronts of big mines below. A recalcitrant cake at the right decided to keep firing after the music stopped.

Part 8 to the music Adagio by Tomaso Albinoni. A very serene start as several set pieces in lancework forming the shape of Christian crosses lit up in red along ramp 3. These transitioned from red to white as charcoal comet shells fired above. Then white lances lit up on the Irdieden as it started to rotate counter-clockwise. The charcoal comet shells continued above as the Irdieden started its rotation in the other dimension forming the usual kaleidoscopic pattern. Weeping willow shells continued above and then nautic shells of charcoal comets burst in the lake. Then more barrages of huge nautic shells bursting very close to the audience in dramatic fashion and eliciting another wow in my notes. Cake fans of bombettes started to fire and were augmented by shells of go-getters above and then shells of willow comets turning to silver waggling comets. These were followed by shells of deep red stars in an odd shape and then shells of fairly dim stars. Barrages of the charcoal comet to white wagglers followed and were augmented by shells of crossettes with cake fans below and mines of gold and blue. Then fans of gold and blue bombettes followed by massive shell-of-shells of popping flowers, the segment coming to a close with pale gold kamuro comet shells bursting into a 6-pointed kaleidoscope shape and then trailing to the lake.

Part 9 to the music Requiem Kyrie by W. A. Mozart. A serene start with flights of girandolas as farfalle shells burst above. A line of flares at the back of ramp 2 lit up and more farfalle shells burst above. Then fans of serpents with shells of tourbillons and more farfalle shells. Another flight of girandolas, double ascension ones this time with more farfalle shells above. Fans of yellow-headed meteor comets were augmented by shells of orange stars turning to crackle. Then very loud crackling mines and bombettes with shells of the charcoal to silver waggling comets above. This theme continued with more very loud crackling bombettes, drowing out the fairly serene music. Next, shells of willow comets turning to strobes and more of the charcoal comet to silver waggling comets as strobe mines fired left and right below, the segment coming to a close with shells of willow comets turning to strobes.

Part 10 to the music Nocturne by Frédéric Chopin. This began with shells of rings of tourbillons with Z cakes below on flying fish. Then large shells and fronts of bright mines followed by crossette candles. More large mines and then shells of comets to red stars followed by more cakes of flying fish. This theme continued and then shells of red to silver followed by barrages of shells of brocade turning to stars and more large mines below, the segment coming to a close with larges shells above.

Part 11 to the music Espana by Emmanuel Chabrier. Shells of charcoal comets turning to stars opened this segment as more cakes of flying fish fired below. This them of alternating shells of charcoal/brocade turning to stars and flying fish cakes continued and was followed by barrages of shells of different colours and then yet more flying fish cakes. These were followed by large silver spider shells turning to blue and then mines of crackling stars. More of the brocade shells with shells of brighter stars and yet more flying fish cakes as shells of bright meteor headed comets burst above. The pace increased with barrages shells and salutes, fronts of bright mines, bringing the display to a close with barrages of huge shells to cheers from the audience.

This was an enjoyable display with some really well done sequences. I particularly enjoyed the "fight" between the red and blue mines and the huge nautical shells were dramatic and exciting. Synchronization was good in parts, particularly the note-sequenced comet shots in Mozart section but it was not so evident in other parts. Also, there appeared to be some technical problems in that there were a couple of places where cakes were firing at the right hand side of ramp 3 where they shouldn't have been. The explosion which knocked over some racks in that area fortunately didn't detract from the display. In other parts, there were times when bright shells stepped on top of charcoal/brocade effects and there were times when there were very loud bombette cakes that drowned out the music were just too intense. Sadly, the Irdieden was just too small to be effective - it would have been much better appreciated if it had been on a floating platform closer to the audience. Hop Kee had the same problem in 2003 with their Irdieden. Whilst the theme was original, the narration was at times too long and the display itself didn't have enough original elements to permit BEM to appear on the winner's podium this year in my opinion.


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