Fireworks operators work like conductors when creating celestial symphonies

The world becomes a carousel of color for the next week or so, as fiery red, gold and blue glitter f

Orchestra conductors count on trumpets and cymbals to close great musical performances. They want splashes of strings, percussive explosions and smooth waves of sax and clarinet to impress their audiences.

Jeff Alonzo works the same way. Loud, colorful openings and spectacular endings are always part of celestial symphonies produced by Alonzo Fireworks.

Fiery glitter and sonic booms will fill the skies over the next week or so, as Capital Region residents celebrate the Fourth of July. The Alonzo gang will be firing off most of the shells in these evening engagements, including next Friday’s annual monster show at Albany’s Empire State Plaza.

Fireworks fans need not worry that all shows will be held on Friday, the Fourth of July. During years when the holiday landed in the middle of the week, Alonzo said, shows often were held on weekends before and after the big day.

Some clients, he said, are glad to let big shows like Albany and Lake George take center stage. They have decided not to compete, and will fire up their parties on other nights near the holiday. In fact, Scotia got its usual early start by hosting their show last night.

Building toward crescendo

The game plan is the same for both short and long programs.

“We always hit them with a good opening, we give them a little mini-finale, get them all excited, cranked up, worked up, whatever,” said Alonzo, president of the Mechanicville business.

“From there,” he added, “we’ll get into the main body. And halfway to three-quarters of the way through, we start hitting them with this mid-show finale. It goes on for a minute and it gets really exciting and we build it up. You take a pause and everybody thinks it’s over, then you get into the bigger shells of the show, and you’re back into the main body. Here, everybody thought it was over and then you hit them with the regular finale.”

Everyone likes neon streaks of blue, gold and red. But Alonzo knows how important good reviews are — he wants people talking about the entire show, and the last few, frantic minutes of flames in the sky.

“That’s the lasting impression people are going to walk away with,” Alonzo said. “There could be some nice different patterns and other things that occur during the main body of the show, but they’re going to remember the finale. That’s the last thing that occurs — so you want to hit them hard.”

Some communities have been hit hard by the economy this year. Alonzo said only a few of his customers have had to cut back, even though prices for Alonzo shows — the average is about $5,000 — have increased because of higher prices for goods manufactured in China and costs associated with their transport to the U.S.

Some clients had to find creative ways to raise money for the star-spangled shows. And Alonzo said his company has received bunches of last-minute requests for shows to go with the 50 programs already scheduled.

Part of it is tradition. Alonzo said communities want people to rally on the Fourth, even in light of worries on both the economic and national fronts.

“They want people to still feel confident that this is still a good country and we need to celebrate,” Alonzo said.

The world becomes a carousel of color for the next week or so, as fiery red, gold and blue glitter fills the sky at dusk. Fireworks shows will be held all over the Capital Region to celebrate the Fourth of July.


Here’s where bombs will be bursting, whistling and smoking to celebrate the Fourth:


— Fonda Speedway

— Cambridge

— Glens Falls, East Field

— Germantown, Palatine Park


— Ballston Spa, Saratoga County Fairgrounds


— Halfmoon, Halfmoon Town Hall

— Troy, Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, following Tri-City ValleyCats-Jamestown Jammers baseball game


— Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Gaming and Raceway

— Malta, Albany-Saratoga Speedway

— Fort Plain, Wiles Park

— Troy, Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, following Tri-City ValleyCats-Jamestown Jammers baseball game

— Glens Falls, East Field

— Granville

— Hague, Town Park, on Lake George


— Albany, Empire State Plaza

— Saratoga Springs, Congress Park

— Lake George

— Clifton Park, Clifton Common

— Troy, Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, following Tri-City ValleyCats-Jamestown Jammers baseball game

— Queensbury, The Great Escape

— Bolton Landing

— Ticonderoga

— Cobleskill, Schoharie County Fairgrounds

— Schroon Lake

— Mayfield, Lanzi’s on the Lake

— West Haven, Vt., Devil’s Bowl Speedway


— Waterford

— Northville, Northville Lake

— North Creek, Ski Bowl Park

— Greenwich, Elks Club

— Johnsburg

— West Sand Lake

— Saratoga Lake

— Corinth

— West Haven, Vt., Devil’s Bowl Speedway

— Indian Lake


— Amsterdam, Shuttleworth Park

— Northville, Sport Island Pub, Sacandaga Park


— Lake George (every Thursday night throughout the summer)

— Troy, Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, following Tri-City ValleyCats-Williamsport Crosscutters baseball game


— Scotia, Jumpin’ Jack’s in Freedom Park

— Mechanicville, Tallmadge Park

Categories: Life and Arts

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