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Hit the Lights

An oldie, but a goodie. This is just so awesome

Here's something to liven up your weekend. Just watch and listen. An oldie but a goodie.

has its annual Christmas tree lighting, the Santa House and the Lansdale Business Association Holiday Festival of Trees to liven up the Christmas season.

Now, it has Gene Rose's house too.

For the second year in a row, Rose set up his fantastic light display at his Perkiomen Avenue home, complete with synchronized music. All you had to do was tune in to 90.7 FM.

“I’ve heard a lot of positive comments about it this year,” he said. “I think it’s something different for the town. I’m happy as long as everybody’s happy. I like to bring a little more joy to those around.”

Rose was inspired by a similar display he saw in New Jersey. With his attention caught, Rose, a machinist by trade, went and did some research and decided to try it himself.

The first year, Rose set up 8,600 LED lights along the façade of his house, the roof, around every window, and even on the bushes out front. You also can’t avoid the 15-foot-tall Megatree out front either.

The lights were controlled by three controllers, with one controller handling 16 circuits.

This year, Rose had 16,000 lights and six controllers.

The lights and music are all controlled and synchronized by computer via a software package called Light-o-Rama.

“The software runs off the computer and communicates with the controllers,” he said. “You tell it which lights you want on and off, and what you want to do with the lights. You can pick whatever songs you want and program them.”

The program allows you to, for example, turn lights on and off every tenth of a second and even adjust the brightness from zero percent to 100 percent, like a dimmer switch.

Doesn’t all that brightness bother the neighbors? Rose said he worries about that every year.

“My neighbor across the street, they said they lights aren’t bright enough,” Rose joked. “It’s an ongoing joke we have. The neighbors love it.”

Erica Colvin lives across the street from Rose. She said the lights don’t bother her family at all. They have blackout shades in their two-year-old’s bedroom, regardless of the lights, and sheer curtains in the living room that dull any streetlights.

“Our son loves the lights, so it actually gives us a nightly 10-minute activity of watching the lights and listening to the songs which come through on the radio alarm clock in his room,” Colvin said.

She said Rose has a timer on the lights so they know they will never play too late.

The Colvins also assist in the spectacle by parking in back of the house to help with traffic flow out front.

“We love the lights so much that we actually rushed home from Thanksgiving dinner so that we could see the first showing at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day,” she said

Rose starts his display Thanksgiving night and ends it on New Year’s Eve. The show goes from 6 p.m. to about 9:30 p.m. every night.

Rose’s display is as binaural as it is visual.

He uses songs in his own personal Christmas music collection.

This year, the soundtrack was “Where My Heart May Take Me” by Russell Watson; “Linus and Lucy” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”; a techno version of “Amazing Grace” by DJ Yule; Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Wish Liszt”; and a “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “NutRock” combo.

Rose said the FCC, under Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 15, allows individuals to have a low-wattage broadcaster on their property. The broadcast must be on an open channel and not interfere with another station.

“On a clear night,” he said, “there’s a good range to it. If you can see the display, you can hear it.”

Rose had some time constraints this year, so a friend in New Mexico did the programming for him.

“Other than that, I do everything myself,” he said.

Rose is already working on next year’s show. He has a couple ideas to make it better, including a couple more colors for the Megatree.

He has seen popularity of his light show spread by word of mouth.

Rose just wants to give people something to look forward to every year.

It’d be nice to have it as a destination,” he said. “A couple of people commented to me already that it’s something to see every year. They look forward to it.”

Check out writer George Koenig's

Missed the show this year? Check out our video of the display and view more videos at Gene Rose's Vimeo page.

Joe Harris January 09, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Hi Gean, you did a good job on those lights this year again, can't what to see next years lights. Uncle Joe

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