Hancock's Christmas Lights To Music - 2012

May 13, 2013

It has taken me five months to find the time to edit and post last year's (2012) Christmas Lights to music.

New to the 2012 season was a 17' mega-tree, which made the centerpiece of the show. By itself, it has 6,000 lights, not including the three segment star atop it, which has some 250 lights. To see how it was constructed click here. In total, this year's show featured 16,000 lights.

I added several new songs this year, bringing the show to a total of 14 songs. I like to mix it up with a variety of classic songs plus a few more recent pieces, all selected for an up-tempo beat. "Joy to the World" is the most complicated piece in this year's show. It took me two weeks to sequence it (I do all of the computer sequencing for every song).

This year, I began designing and choreographing the lights to the music in August and barely had it finished for assembly right after Thanks Giving. It is in August that I must order any lights, cables, or connectors I might need to be assured I receive them in plenty of time to assemble the props.

Behind the Scenes

The show is run by a dedicated computer talking to 198 lighting channels. The computer communicates to the lighting channels via an Ethernet network, sending 100 commands per second to each individual controller. Add it up and that's 19,800 commands per second being sent out to the light controllers to run the show.

Believe it or not, the two arches to the left and right of the mega-tree take up more lighting channels than the rest of the lights combined - a whopping 150 channels, leaving only 48 channels to run all of the rest of the lights.

The arches are the most complicated part of the show to sequence as each arch has 75 tri-color light emitting diodes (LEDs), capable of producing 65,000 colors. So for each point of light on the arch, I have to program the intensity of three (3) different colors - red, green and blue. To make one arch perform a "fan" requires 450 commands.

All of the props in the show are hand made by me. The lighting controllers are hand assembled by me (they come in kit form). Across the lawn stretches over 2,000 feet of cables to carry electricity and data to the lights.

When all lights are lit, the show draws 60 amps of electricity. That's roughly 30% of the electrical capacity of the breaker panel in my home. Fortunately, no light is on for more than roughly 5% - 10% of the show. So while I'm running a tremendous number of lights, the show actually consumes less electricity than your fairly standard static display of lights found in most yards. It adds approximately $25 to my electricity bill for December despite running constantly from sunset to 10PM on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

With all that electricity traveling across my lawn, safety is a huge issue for me. All lights are run off of ground fault circuits which will shut the entire show down in a split second if someone should make contact with any electrical components, protecting them from a serious shock. All wiring is to commercial standards (no safety shortcuts).

On With The Show

Without further adieu, I present Hancock's Christmas Lights to Music - 2012

"Wizards In Winter "

A pounding beat with a touch of wintery wizardry by the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

"Joy To The World"

Sequenced to an up-tempo orchestra rendition by The Denver Mile High Orchestra

"Linus and Lucy"

A children's (and adult) Christmas classic by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

"Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

This is another Christmas classic performed by the Denver Mile High Orchestra.

"Music Box Dancer"

Done to a unique techno beat by DJ Schwede

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

An interesting mixture of almost ethereal passages followed by driving rhythms unique only to Trans Siberian Orchestra.

"Welcome Christmas"

Whoville, is the setting for this popular Christmas cartoon story by Dr. Seuss, titled "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

"Have Your Self A Merry Christmas"

A Jazz / Swing version by the Denver Mile High Orchestra.

"Amazing Grace"

A techno beat version of "Amazing Grace" by Natalie Dance

"Carol of the Bells"

A traditional Christmas song by Monique Danielle.


Full of interesting riffs and moods by the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

"Miracle on 34th Street"

A popular rendition of the song performed by the U.S. Coast Guard Band.

"Sleigh Ride"

This is a fast tempo song with a twist of 1940's style big band by Denver and the Mile High Orchestra.

"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies"

By The Hit Crew

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