Fireworks choreographer shares tricks of trade

File photo Flight of Red Comets – To Red, White, Blue Peony

Liliana Castillo

Gary Caimano with Western Fireworks has choreographed the Smoke on the Water show in Clovis for more than a decade.

Caimano said because Smoke on the Water show is choreographed to music, he feels he works with a cast of characters rather than pyrotechnics.

“You want to have the different types of fireworks hit the sky on cue with the music,” he said. “That’s the art part of the show.”

There are thousands of types of fireworks, Caimano said, including firework plumes that are named after the blossoms they mimic such as chrysanthemums and willows.

Caimano said after choreographing thousands of shows around the country, he knows the tricks of the trade. Some he’s learned and some he’s created.

• Time red comets to play on the Star-spangled Banner lyrics “rockets red glare” and make sure “bombs bursting” in any color quickly follows.

• Caimano always uses gold and silver fireworks when “God” is used in lyrics. “It’s that powerful of a look and it should be,” he said. The effect of transitioning from gold to silver or visa versa is Caimano’s favorite.

• The lyrics “stars and stripes” must be accompanied by red, white and blue pyrotechnics.

• Caimano enjoys the colors his company manufactures that are less common such as lime green, coconut, hot pink, purple and pistachio.

• Caimano said he has probably timed 5 or 6 million shells in his lifetime, between 130,00 and 140,000 just for Fourth of July shows.