How it Started
Michael (our son, 9 years old in 2006) was still recovering from Leukemia so he was home bound a good part of the time and one day back in December 2006 Michael was watching the Carson Williams video of Wizards in Winter on youtube.com and he looked up at me smiled and said....."You can do that Dad, can't you?" I replied it would take me some time to research and build it. well..that was what I did. I tried to build my own controller which was not so hard of a project I found a website Do It Yourself Christmas and bought a controller kit but I was having trouble spending the time needed to get this project online before Christmas 2007, so I started to search the internet again and I found Light-O-Rama & Wowlights, I purchased most of my equipment from wowlights.com by late 2007 I was ready for my 1st attempt. I was happy with the results so happy with it, I left them on way after New Years and Linda was asking me in early February to put my toys away. and with that I did. And all winter, spring and summer I was thinking on how I was going to make 2008 even better.
How the Lights Stole Christmas Story
*I spent all of 2007 assembling controllers and sequencing the music (I never told anybody I was doing this) and in late November 2007 Linda asked me what I needed for the Christmas lights for the season I told her I needed 30-100 strands of mini-white lights, 10-100 bulbs in Red, Blue, Green and 20-100 bulb Multi's and 16-50ft extension cords and...at this time she looked at me like I was nuts and I took her outside and explained what I did and she said, "Oh, great....We're the Griswold's" I reminded her of what Michael asked me last year so I explained in detail how it works and that weekend as I was installing the system Linda was "coming on board" with the concept and gave many suggestions and helped install the system, all this without Michael knowing what we were doing, It was fantastic watching the whole show come together for the first time. I spent many hours after Michael went to bed and sat in my car and watched the lights blink to the music, that's when I knew this was no longer a hobby, its an obsession :)
The Early Surprise
We were ready to surprise Michael with our new "Lights" toy, he still had no idea that I built the system. The wife and I took Michael out to dinner and when we got close enough to home to pick up the music on the radio he heard Wizards in Winter and said...."Hey, turn that up"..and while he was jammin' we got in front of the house and he looked up and saw the house jammin' in its own special way, He said..... "You Did it, You Remembered" the look on his face made all the 100's of hours of work worth it. I will never forget the expression on his face.
The Story Continues...
In June of 2013 Michael was diagnosed with a Grade IV brain tumor, the tumor developed because of a radiation treatment he had in 2004 to stop his Leukemia, I have to admit after all these years of doing a Synchronized Christmas Light Show I was having doubts, but Michael likes what we do, so the show continues.
Michael passed away on July 3rd 2014 at 2:15am and I did continue the light show in 2014 and 2015 might be my last year, it's a lot of work and it takes me 5 weekends to set up the display to be ready for Thanksgiving Night, and I am not getting any younger and since Michael was my only child my drive to do this light show is dwindling, but this Light Display was Michael's idea and that resonates in my head with every hour I install this light display. 2016 will be interesting
Michael has a few websites of his own
*Suggestion if you want to get involved in this "Hobby"
I highly recommend getting the controllers pre-assembled (wasn't the case in 2007) do not break out the soldering iron and build it from bags full of parts like I did with my 1st controllers, because the magic is really doing the sequences (how the lights blink to the music) and laying out your display......now that's where the talent really is
The Carroll Family
Paul, Linda & Michael