Lights, music, Christmas

Senior Kyle Strickland creates a unique holiday display.

Advik Dixit

By Advik Dixit, Liberty High School - TX

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Planning on majoring in lighting design and production, senior Kyle Strickland usually puts his talents on display in various theatre productions in the area.

However, every December for the last 6 years, he brings a little extra holiday spirit to his house. 

I have friends that are constantly asking when are the lights going up and when do we get to see it because they’ve seen it over the years and they’ve seen videos of what Kyle has done”

— Shelly Strickland

”I’ve always grown up with christmas lights, it’s kind of been my way of bringing myself into the christmas spirit,” Kyle said. “We always loved to add something new one year a friend was so graceful to offer us kind of like a starting package to figure out how to animate these lights to music.”

The Strickland’s light display is something that attracts the attention of the neighborhood and is a way to help spread holiday cheer.

“I have friends that are constantly asking when are the lights going up and when do we get to see it because they’ve seen it over the years and they’ve seen videos of what Kyle has done to our house so it’s pretty exciting,” mom Shelley Strickland said. “I feel like our Christmas show is such a great way to get back to others, I mean, there’s one thing to be able to do it just for our family but thats short lived so it’s really it stays from Thanksgiving all the way till Christmas and it gives back to so many people and we see people drive through and stop and watch and we’ve had friends bring their kids over to watch the lights.”

But this isn’t your typical holiday light display, as Kyle amps things up using the latest software and technology. 

“Rather than relying on timers, my christmas light show runs from a custom christmas light software, running from a laptop,” Kyle said. “From there I can program unique songs, playlists for what we want to broadcast with the radio transmitter passing cars can tune into a radio station and sync up with the music that goes along with the lights. Each year we add more elements this year we’re adding color changing lights. Every pixel has the ability to change colors and brightness independently for one another, giving me full flexibility to create a scene.”

Every pixel has the ability to change colors and brightness independently for one another, giving me full flexibility to create a scene.”

— Kyle Strickland

While the display runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the planning takes much longer. 

“It’s really a year round process,” Strickland said.  “I’m always updating the show and spending a lot of time over the summer programming each song of the almost 2 dozens of songs that we have. It takes a full week to get everything hung for the show that basically runs every night from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. For me it’s been a great learning opportunity as a theatrical lighting designer the extra practice helps build my skill with artistically combining lights and music.” 

This story was originally published on Wingspan on December 20, 2019.