It’s going to be magical, says Joe Ghazzal of the fireworks show that he and his team have designed for New Year’s eve countdown at Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur.
“This year’s fireworks will have a very (Walt) Disney feel to it. I mean, it’s New Year’s eve and everyone is in a celebratory mood, hoping for a better year in 2017.
“And everyone really looks forward to the fireworks show and the countdown that rings in the new year. So this year, we want it to be magical, to give people hope for the coming year,” he explains, while holding the actual details of the fireworks display closely guarded so as not to ruin the “surprise”.
The musical fireworks show will run for eight minutes, right up to the countdown into 2017. Although details of the show are kept under wraps, Ghazzal describes it as an “orchestra in the skies” as the blasts and starbursts will be accompanied by a musical score that was composed specifically for the event.
With Ghazzal and his event management company Global 2000 helming the show, you can expect the Dec 31 show to be nothing short of spectacular.
Ghazzal has been producing and choreographing fireworks shows for well over a decade – he organised the International Fireworks Competition in Putrajaya in 2007 and 2008 and brought the concept of musical fireworks here.
“Fireworks are so different now. We have the software and hardware to create so much. We compose the music and then design the show to synchronise with the music. On that day, all we do is press a button … everything is pre-programmed and computerised,” he explains.
For the past eight years, he has been producing the Da Nang International Fireworks Competition in Vietnam, a friendly competition which attracts some of the best fireworks experts from all over the world. Last year, the team from the United States walked away with the top prize.
Ghazzal makes it sound like such a cinch but that’s only because putting together fireworks spectacles has become second nature to him.
The amount of effort that goes into an eight-minute show, however, is huge and often unseen.
“It has taken us about two months to put together this new year’s eve show. It’s only eight minutes but it takes a lot of effort.
“First, we come up with the music we want to use. Then we choreograph the fireworks to go with the music and finally make sure that the fireworks are completely in synch with the music. Everything has to be precise when we programme it so that when we press the button, it goes off without a hitch,” says Ghazzal who works closely with Ray Rahman, who is the audio visual director at Global 2000.
Apart from the actual fireworks show, there will be a musical and variety show beginning at 9pm featuring some of the country’s up and coming talents.
The show NYC@KLCC will be hosted by Adibah Noor and will feature performances by Azharina Azhar, the winner of Gegar Vaganza 2016, Harris Baba as well as a cappella group Colour of Voices. There will also be a fashion show by young designers from Moda to lead up to the countdown.
Global 2000’s director Nadia Wong Abdullah explains the intricacies in putting up their new year’s eve extravaganza, particularly the fireworks display.
“It’s a big deal because, you know, we are dealing with explosives, safety is our utmost concern. A lot of planning goes into a show like this, there are a lot of logistics to be sorted out, rules and regulations to be adhered to and of course, coming up with a programme that reflects our diversity and the golden moments of 2016.
“Most critical of all is the safety and security of the public. Nothing can be compromised where this is concerned,” she says.
The theme for this year’s show is Our Story, Our Journey, It’s Magical to celebrate the many achievements of Malaysians throughout the year.
Work on the show started about two months ago and the set-up for the actual event began last week, involving some 60 crew who have to work quickly and quietly at night.
“We have to work at night so that we don’t disrupt the traffic around the area. And even at night, we have to be careful not to be too disruptive to those who live around the area,” says Nadia.
Though they’ve produced bigger shows on international platforms, the New Year’s eve show at the Twin Towers bears special significance for the trio.
“We are a bit sentimental when it comes to producing this show, it’s going to be special,” says Nadia, trailing off.
“A brilliantly coordinated fireworks display can hush the most boisterous crowds into a state of awe. It’s a personal experience, yet shared collectively with thousands,” muses Nadia.
She advises those who want to catch the show to head to the esplanade at KLCC early – as early as 6pm – to book their space for the spectacle.