Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for February 24, 2014

Tireless dedication sparked vivid fireworks show

Little did Whitehorse residents know that the fireworks show they took in on New Year’s Eve was a dress rehearsal for the Rendezvous spectacle that had Facebook feeds plugged with videos featuring the sounds of the All City Band performing Led Zeppelin’s music on Saturday night.

By Stephanie Waddell on February 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Little did Whitehorse residents know that the fireworks show they took in on New Year’s Eve was a dress rehearsal for the Rendezvous spectacle that had Facebook feeds plugged with videos featuring the sounds of the All City Band performing Led Zeppelin’s music on Saturday night.

The Rendezvous fireworks show was months in the making, with Warren Zackus leading the charge for the festival’s 50th anniversary event.

As with all of the Rendezvous festival events this year, the fireworks display has been years in the making.

Over the last few years, Zackus said in an interview today, work has been done to gradually build the annual fireworks show at the festival to make the festival’s 50th anniversary a “blow-out.”

“It was a really big job,” Zackus told the Star, noting he and others began by putting in about 200 hours to design the spectacle.

Wanting to involve the community as much as possible in what may be deemed the biggest fireworks display seen in the territory, the help of the All City Band was enlisted, as was CKRW to bring music into the performance.

It was the music of the All City Band performing a Led Zeppelin melody that streamed through CKRW’s radio feed on Saturday night for residents to hear the music.

The All City Band recorded the music a few months ago.

CKRW came on board to provide the feed for residents to watch the display timed to the music.

“It just gave it more of a community feel,” Zackus said,.

While those who took in the New Year’s fireworks display didn’t hear any music to accompany that show, he and his crew tried out the technology at their site to ensure it would work.

Tests were done with CKRW so everything could stream.

Zackus noted RP Singh did a lot of the work involved with streaming the music, helping to ensure the fireworks were timed precisely to the music.

That show was the first time Zackus also tried out a computer-based trigger for the explosives, also ensuring that would work, though he had travelled to Vancouver to train in using the technology.

He noted a lot of work went into the design of the show and then into building a set to ensure the fireworks went off at the proper angles.

While all that took place over a series of months, as Saturday drew closer, Zackus and his team of about 12 headed to their site across the river from downtown on a bluff off Long Lake Road.

Getting to the site where the fireworks would go off meant trekking in their supplies by snowmobile and then setting up camp for three days prior to the show.

With explosives on-site, it meant always having at least a few people there and staying overnight.

In the end, all the work was worth it.

CKRW’s Tim Kucharuk was on-hand providing the live countdown. After the numbers went down to one, the sky lit up to the All City Band’s soundtrack.

Zackus said he’s never been involved with a fireworks show where there hasn’t been at least some sort of minor issue, so he was surprised when it all went off without a hitch.

“Everything went perfect,” he said. “It was absolutely amazing.”

He noted that normally such a show could cost upwards of $60,000.

While he admitted he and his crew “blew through the budget” of $10,000 to put on the spectacle, he noted they found some creative ways – such as constructing the set – to keep costs down.

He also said there were a few people on the crew with some extra money to ensure the display was the blow-out it could be for Rendezvous’ 50th anniversary.

Back Country Construction and Capital Towing Services Ltd. provided the fireworks for the event, he said.

CommentsAdd a comment

Andy Paulson

Feb 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Great job by everyone involved, Thank you.

Brian F

Feb 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Thank you to all the Volunteer Firefighters involved, too bad they weren’t mentioned in this story! Hours and hours of setup WOW! Good job guys!

Monica Craig

Feb 26, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I was visiting from Calgary and I was amazed by the Fireworks display. I have never seen anything quite like it. Job well done everyone!!!

Loves Yujkon

Feb 26, 2014 at 6:13 pm

They were incredible! Thank you to everyone involved!

Francis Pillman

Feb 26, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Actually the music was dreadful. Glad I was sitting in my car.

Miriam Smith

Feb 27, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Francis - wow all the hours, engaging one of local musical groups and that’s your comment - you may not have cared for the music, but the talent that went into it - you could just enjoyed the show.  I really hope people who have the need to be so critical will step up to the plate in other ways and put in the volunteer time that was given to this event and others in the community.  A simple thank you and common courtesy or just stay silent. Think what you want, but it doesn’t always have to come out of the mouth or in this case written word.


Feb 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm

While I appreciate the work that goes into a show like this and the dedication of the volunteers, fireworks are, and have always been, an absolute waste of money and resources that is akin to just setting your money on fire.

Lots of great things to celebrate in the Yukon without resorting to pyrotechnics and explosions.  I’d vote for more Yukon and less Las Vegas.


Feb 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

Who cleans up the mess left behind at the site?

I think its disrespectful to the spirits who live in the woods.

Francis Pillman

Feb 28, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Simmer down. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. I said the music was dreadful.  Not the fireworks. So your strawman argument is irrelevant. Better call the WAHHHBULANCE. Lmao

Add a comment

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your full name and email address are required before your comment will be posted.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Comment preview