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“Melrose is like part of the family.”

Chicago White Sox, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago White Sox Fireworks Display
Fireworks Display Company

Photo ©Chicago White Sox

Nichole Manning, Senior Director of Game Operations for the Chicago White Sox, truly enjoys working with Melrose Pyrotechnics for the fireworks and pyromusical entertainment at the White Sox games. A tradition since 1959, Melrose Pyrotechnics creates the extra excitement at US Cellular Field that “always gets a great response,” says Manning.

Melrose Pyrotechnics engineers everything from pre-game barrages to post-game celebrations, according to Manning. In a ballgame, the needs are fluid and require exceptional creativity, she adds. “I love their home run blasts. It’s always easy to pick up and keep moving with the Melrose team.” Manning finds the team “very open, kind, and pleasant. They’re a close-knit group. Melrose is like part of the family,” she says.

In planning celebrations, Manning finds the Melrose Pyrotechnics professionals “creative and easy to work with.” She says, “They’re open to working with us, giving us ideas. If there’s a song or type of fireworks we want—or we just want something different—they are flexible and always come through with great ideas for us. I can describe the look and feel I want, even without knowing all the terminology. They understand and translate it into a spectacular show.”

Most rewarding for Manning is seeing the reactions from the fans. “I hear people singing along with the music. I look down into the crowd and see people dancing. There’s always a roar of applause,” she says. “Late at night, after the game, you see people staying in their seats, waiting with excitement to watch the post-game show. Thousands of people who live in the neighborhood step out to watch the show, too,” she says.

A rare combination of creativity and precision makes the Melrose approach a true art, feels Manning. “With their precision firing, timing is always right on the mark,” she says, “You could compare it to a dance routine.” With their technology and their knowledge of the tools and techniques for these extravaganzas, she points out, “The Melrose team keeps advancing what they do.”

Flashback: 1959

Bill Veeck, new majority owner of the Chicago White Sox, was known for doing new and sometimes crazy things to get people to the ballpark. In 1959, he called on Anthony at Melrose Pyrotechnics to try something innovative—shooting fireworks for Sox games. What a hit! Fans were thrilled. Sox home-attendance reached a record 1.4 million in 1959. The Sox won their first pennant in 40 years. In 1960, Bill Veeck’s vision, along with the expertise of Anthony and the Melrose Pyrotechnics team, led to another creation—The Exploding Scoreboard. With their imaginative collaboration, Melrose Pyrotechnics began entertaining the audience every home game with a new type of home run celebration never seen before.

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