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Fireworks America

Joel Baechle | Seminar Presenter

Joel Baechle

Joel Baechle has been involved in pyrotechnics since 1970 when he did his first fireworks display. He started out working at a fireworks stand on the state line and gradually found his way into the proximate pyrotechnics and special effects field, where he continues to innovate today. He tries as best as possible to inspire the creative elements of pyrotechnic progress, the cornerstone of this effort being his 1989 monograph, Pyrocolor Harmony: A Designer’s Guide. The purpose of this is to encourage a vision of pyrotechnics that is more artistic and less mechanical in order to bolster its reputation in the face of increasing regulatory issues. He remains committed to a multi-dimensional, American vision of fireworks presentation, rather than a “DJ” approach of launching imports to music. He has a B.A. degree in Sociology, and maintains a keen interest in the evolution of the arts in society through this season of rapid change, especially through the progress of multimedia entertainment. In other words, pyrotechnics should keep pace with changes in lighting design and entertainment presentation, and not become an artifact of the analog era. His wife Barbara has supported him in this difficult field for over 30 years, and their three sons are all involved in music and art as well. He resides in Northern California

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Monica Blam

has been working firework shows since 2014, has been licensed since 2017, and attending winter blast since 2015. Her interest in art, rock ‘n’ roll, punk, and metal music has given her a sense for appreciating the subtle elegance and refinement in fireworks.

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The Cherry Bombs

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Marion Borst

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Tom Calderwood

Tom got hooked on pyro when he was given a (stolen) pack of Black Cats at age 8. He soon discovered Estes and Centuri rockets, and these took priority over ‘crackers, sparklers, and smoke bombs. In the WPA, he found his niche with BP rockets. While his love is still with BP rockets, his health prevents him from building – hence he has copious free time to photograph. Tom is retired and recently found a way to escape from California to Tennessee. Married for over 40 years to the same woman, he has 5 children that can call him ‘dad’ – but it’s not their fault.

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Clara Carstensen

Sam Christensen | Seminar Presenter

Sam Christensen

Content manager and marketing specialist at Spirit of ’76 since 2017. Sam graduated with a degree in Journalism, specializing in Strategic Communication, and has quickly became an instrumental component of the 1.4g Industry. Sam’s unique set of talents were a huge contribution to the success of the WPA’s Virtual Winter Blast of 2021 and has also served time with the Pyrotechnics Guild International in Fargo, ND as Seminars Co-Chairman.

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Greg Dandurand

Greg has been in pyro clubs since 1999. He started in the Michigan Pyrotechnic Arts Guild (MPAG) and is a current member of the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI). He has been a member of WPA since 2002. He wears the hats of President, Safety Chair, and BATFE Liaison for this event. He is a Head Pyro for a company that shoots shows in the Phoenix area

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Danny Dutra