Fireworks song selection explained

To the Editor: There seems to be some confusion as to who is responsible for the finale program during the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival.
Aug 20, 2013


As chairman of the festival's Fireworks Extravaganza, I, alone, am responsible for the entire program and its content. This show is meant to be different with a variety of music, as it has always been.

For the Musical Fountain program, I collaborate with Brad Boyink for the selection of the music and he does the choreography of the fountain. Brad is also responsible for assembling the entire program with time codes so the fireworks company can choreograph shells to the music.

We start with the "Star Spangled Banner,” the "Armed Forces Medley" and "I Need a Hero" by Alex B. This year, when "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark" became popular — with the lyrics "light it up" and "I'm on fire" (not literally) — it seemed a natural for the fireworks lead-in song. In fact, we had 18 red comets for every "light it up" and three red mines for each "I'm on fire."

The fireworks program started with "I Can't Turn You Loose" by the Blues Brothers, "The William Tell Overture" by Hans Zimmer, "Always on My Mind" by Willie Nelson, "Gangnam Style" by Psy, "America the Beautiful Medley" from West Side Story by the Boston Pops, "Skyfall" by Adele, and the finale number, "Some Nights" by Fun.

The community standard for music we use is: If our local radio station will play it, it is probably good for use in the final program. We listen to music, the words and the meaning. Each of us can form our own opinion and interpretation of any lyric, music, poetry, sculpture and artwork, but my sole intent is to provide a wholesome 30 minutes of entertainment for the thousands of people who come to see the Fireworks Extravaganza.

— Roger Jonas, Ferrysburg


Back to the Wall

And that is the way, boys and girls, we stand up and publically take responsibility. Bravo, Roger.


And as Paul Harvey would say.........."Now you know the rest of the story"


Thanks for standing up and explaining. Now for all of the people who lashed out at Boyink, maybe you should apologize.


Great job Roger. I am not sure I ever heard anyone (at least not on the forums) blame Boyink ... but then again I may have missed it. I know Brad gets a lot of flack ... and that is too bad. Even if you disagree with his events ... I believe he has the community's interest at heart.

While I still do not agree with the song selections (and for the 100th time, I have nothing particular against the song in "controversy" I simply think it along with Always On My Mind were strange choices.

In any case, thank you to all of the hard working volunteers who make this happen. For everyone that complains hopefully there will be someone stepping forward to volunteer.


I agree, some of the song choices were strange and nomatter how its spun some songs simply do not connect to the Coast Guard or those in Service to their country for whom this festival honors from start to finish, I fail to see the connection to service, sacrifice and dedication in some of these songs.


I've only just read Roger Jonas' essay regarding the reasons for his music selections. Even tho' my residence is Lansing MI. I well remember the "Fountain shows of my youth while still living in Grand Haven, and know how well put together the fireworks shows can be. Agreeing w/some on this blog for "You Were Always On My Mind" as well as "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark" as questionable choices; "light it up", "I'm On Fire", just that sm. snippet in print is enough to make me wonder how the song actually goes. I'll guess it's edgy w/roots in the "Goth" sector of society. C'mon really w/the "light it up"/"I'm on fire"?! There would be some out there who would find it a bit romantic to light themselves on fire for a cause, a terrible break-up, the world sucks. Just pick one. We can't know what triggers the mind to will if it's in a dark place. I get it that Jonas/Boyink have need to exercise their marketing skills thus using popular music of the day that is foremost in the public conscience, which when successful, draws them into the performance of the dancing waters, bouncing lights, and ear-splitting explosions. Each audience member leaves from there with a lifetime of fun memories and an up-grade of hearing aids every two to three years later in their lives. Loving life and living it.


From the lyrics of this Fall Out Boy song...

"I'm in the de-details with the devil"

The devil really is in the detail.... popular or not, some songs can still offend some audiences.


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