Fire in the Sky mates music, math

Premier Pyrotechnics will launch shells over Memorial Stadium.
Friday, July 2, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:58 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Stars and Stripes Forever will be echoing from Memorial Stadium as 1,000 firework shells are launched Sunday evening when the Fire in the Sky display will celebrate its first year in Memorial Stadium in more than two decades.

The fireworks will begin at 9:30 and will be synchronized with patriotic music played by the 40- member chamber orchestra of the Missouri Symphony – in its third year of performing live with the display. People watching the fireworks from outside the stadium can also enjoy the pyromusical presentation by tuning in to the live broadcast on KFRU 1400 AM.

Premier Pyrotechnics of Richmond will launch approximately $18,000 worth of fireworks, according to Randy Wright, vice president and general manager of KMIZ.

The shells are shot by an electronic firing system, which enables the music to be coordinated with the shell cues.

“The hardest part of coordinating a show is that each shell size has a different zenith or breaking time,” said Pat Seely, Premier regional representative. “It requires musical mathematics.”

Seely said a 3-inch shell has a maximum height of 300 feet and a 2.5-second breaking time. Ten-inch shells have a maximum height of 1,000 feet and an 8-second breaking time. Choreography for a 20-minute show takes three to five weeks.

The chamber orchestra sent the list of songs in its patriotic medley to Premier so its crew could begin timing the show, and Thursday sent a CD of its performance for double-checking. This is Premier’s first time doing Fire in the Sky.

“Our forte is multimedia shows,” said Seely. “The show will be quite a treat. It’s the best of both worlds.”

The launch will occur from a secured location southeast of the Hearnes Center. Crews started setting up the show on Thursday.

Last year, the event was downtown.

“In the future I see more things added to the event, but this year we’re just working out the logistics of being in the stadium,” said Karen Ramey, recreation supervisor with the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.

The following areas are open for event parking: Levels 3 to 5 in the Maryland Avenue garage, the north and west lots of Memorial Stadium and the east lot of the Hearnes Center. Due to the construction of Paige Sports Arena, the parking lots south and west of Hearnes as well as Mick Deaver Drive will be closed.

The event is sponsored by US Cellular, KMIZ, the city of Columbia, MU Athletic Department, UMB Bank and Missouri Cotton Exchange.

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