By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For those who like to see the New Year in with a bang, Penn’s Landing is the place to be on Saturday. Two fireworks shows are scheduled for New Year’s Eve and preparations are already underway.
Pyrotechnics have become as much about the technics as the pyro, with the explosives now controlled by computers and ignited by a satellite clock.
The music comes first. “Once we receive the music, it takes about two hours per minute to choreograph the show on a computer and every shell is choreographed to be in the air for a certain kind of music.”
Then, Ken Furstoss of Pyrotecnico says, firework choreographers pick out the shells that will light up the night. “We do many different types of shapes in the sky. It’s hard to put up any writing in the sky, but we do have heart shells, circle shells, Saturn shells — shells that break and look like a Saturn ring.
So, loading the shells onto the barge that will serve as the staging area New Year’s Eve is an important part of the process, according to Furstoss. “The show is scripted and it’s choreographed to music, so every shell has an address and it will be laid out and loaded down into the gun and plugged to the appropriate pin, so it launches exactly at the time it should.”
Furstoss estimates it will take three days to complete the process. Then, it’s a short trip up the Delaware River to the Penn’s Landing area for two shows on Saturday: one at 6 p.m. and one at midnight.”
“There’s probably 400 or 500 different designs of shells, so when we do two shows like this, we don’t want to be redundant. We want you to see something different all through the show.”
KYW Newsradio will carry the music, so you can watch from anywhere with a view of the Delaware River.
Furstoss wasn’t at liberty to reveal what delights await this year, but he did say it will be tailored to the music, “Please listen to the radio and enjoy the whole show because if you’re not listening to the music, half of the show is not being absorbed. We won’t touch your hearts nearly as much.”