1996 l'International Benson & Hedges Montréal Pyromusical Competition Report
La Ronde Colours of Life Thursday July 18th, 1996
A perfect summer's evening was the setting for the closing ceremony in the 1996 competition. Rather than report in detail on the display, I decided to take a number of photos which I will scan-in - assuming they turn out. So I'll just present a description which will give a flavour of the display, rather than a detailed account.
The most memorable aspect of the display was the quality of the Roman candles used. They were simply incredible with simple colour stars, glitter comets, bombette and crossette comets and amazing crackling comets. The height the stars achieved was simply breathtaking - it must have been over 200 feet in many cases.
Another memorable item which was used extensively was a type of multi-break shell. These shells, which incidentally were enormous, would break at medium altitude into many smaller shells which, after a few seconds, would burst simultaneously, filling the sky with a criss-cross tracery of comets and then, a few seconds later, one, or more, flower shells would explode. According to the press release, the largest of these shells weighed in at around 30 kg (approximately 70 pounds).
The theme of the display was "Colours of Life" and there were some beautiful candles used which emitted rainbow coloured stars to illustrate the theme. Typically throughout the display, there would be large candles at the bottom, medium altitude colour shells and larger shells or multi-breaks at the highest level.
There was one very interesting segment in which multiple objects were fired from either candles or angled mines directly into the lake; after a few seconds, these objects burst into life as brilliant white fountains!
There were a couple of segments with golden glitter frond shells but these were a little different to normal. In one case, the fronds contained very small firefly type stars which gave an incredibly beautiful effect of golden threads containing sparkling diamonds. Another type had the fronds turn into white comets at the end of their burn.
Another memorable use of candles was a segment which had a mixture of white comets and almost deafening screaming tourbillons. Actually, there were many segments of different types of tourbillon from slow spinning types which hissed loudly to faster spinning ones terminating in salutes.
The finale was just incredible. Once again, candles were put to great use, the most memorable in this instance being incredibly bright white silver comets. Above these were many many shells of the same type of comets. Then the pace quickened with huge crackling comet candles and a vast assortment of colour, glitter and comet shells above also containing vast numbers of salutes and titanium salutes. The noise and pace were just incredible and built into crescendo. Then there was a moments silence and finally the launch of dozens of shells which burst into a tumultuous barrage of deafening salutes, the final part of which must have consisted of hundreds of explosions in less than a second. The noise was so incredible and the light so fantastic that my ears were ringing for quite a few minutes afterwards and it was difficult to see in the darkness to dismantle my camera. The audience, which was the largest of the season, reacted with screams and shouts of appreciation to the climax and end of the 1996 competition.
This was a tremendous display and a fitting end to a memorable competition. The
overall quality of the displays this year was amazing. Somehow, year after year,
this competition just gets better. According to Eric Tucker, of Performance
Pyrotechnic Associates, Gold Jupiter winner this year, a display which would
have won a Gold Jupiter six or seven years ago would rank pretty close to
last this year. An announcement was made that the 13th edition of the competition
will run next year.
1996 Competition Results
- Gold Jupiter: USA Performance Pyrotechnic Associates
- Silver Jupiter Spain Pyrotecnia Igual
- Bronze Jupiter Germany Weco Pyrotechnische Fabrik
- Special Jupiter Pierre Walder - Musical director of the closing show and many other shows in the competition
Official 1996 results press release
U.S. "Nouveau Classique" receives Gold Jupiter at La Ronde
Montréal, July 18th, 1996 - For this 12th edition of the Benson & Hedges International, it was the explosive U.S. "Nouveau Classique", presented on July 11th, that won the popular jury's favour, along with the coveted Gold Jupiter. This prestigious pyrotechnic honour was bestowed on the team of Performance Pyrotechnic Associates by Benson & Hedges representative Yvon Rancourt. The Spanish firm Pyroténia Igual received the Silver Jupiter and first-time participant Weco Pyrotechnische Fabrik, of Germany, captured the Bronze with its "Time Travel".
Eric Tucker's penchant for risk-taking once again allowed him to walk away with his 6th Jupiter at the Benson & Hedges International. In "Nouveau Classique", he and his Performance Pyrotechnic Associates team dared to present an action-packed fireworks show adapted entirely to a single 33-minute 32-second musical score by Greek composer Yanni Chrysomallis. We won't soon forget that wave of white rockets at the edge of Lac des Dauphins that took us by surprise during the last few seconds of the show!
The Spanish firm, Pyroténia Igual, which launched the 100th firework [display] of the Benson & Hedges International, achieved a dazzling feat with its show Siempre España. Each of the seven magnificent segments presented featured a story, numerous crescendos, as well as magnificent water bombs that gave that very special evening a real fiesta atmosphere.
Lastly, the Bronze Jupiter was awarded to the German firm Weco Pyrotechnische Fabrik. On June 30th, this new competitor at the Benson & Hedges International put on a very impressive performance, with a wide variety of musical pieces and numerous special effects. Founded in 1948, this firm specializes in the production of special effects for theatre.
For its part, the Société du Parc Des Îles presented, for the fourth consecutive year, its Special Jupiter to underline the contribution of an indivual or firm to the development of pyrotechnic art. The recipient was Pierre Walder, who, as musical director of the closing shows and many other shows in the competition, "has, through the most famous pyromusical event in the world", said Société President Nycol Pageau-Goyette.
The Jupiter awards ceremony was followed by La Ronde's closing fireworks show, presented by the competition's artistic director, Giovanni Panzera. True to form, the master protechnist dazzled his many fans with a rainbow of "Couleurs de la vie", setting the tone for the 13th Edition, which is already in the works.
It should be noted that the 12th Edition has expanded the horizons of this competition with the contributions of newcomers Weco Pyrotechnische Fabrik of Germany and Foti's International Fireworks of Australia, and that a total of 9 firms participated in what continues to be the world's most prestigious pyrotechnic art competition.
Source, Christine Mitton, Public Relations Director, Société du Parc Des Îles.