JASON DAUGHERTY is a lover of Christmas. He enjoys the time of year when the family gets together and shares gifts and fellowship, along with the birth of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He not only enjoys sharing the holiday with his family but the community as well.
One way he shares his love of Christmas is through his annual light show that he displays at his home in Winchester.
Since 2008, Daugherty has presented a light show of epic proportions that brings people from other neighborhoods and counties to come and see his colorful show.
Daugherty explained that he first got the idea to display Christmas lights to music after watching videos on YouTube.
“One of the videos was a guy from Ohio who had lights synced to the ‘Wizards in Winter’ song by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. I was impressed and thought that I could do something like that,” he said.
Daugherty added that he started doing some research and got the ball rolling. What he found was that the whole system of a light show is very intricate.
“For one controller, there are 16 channels. In a channel, there is just basically one string or line, or one plug of lights,” he explained. “You put however many lines you can fit on that plug and all those lines will act as one channel. Basically, it looks like an Excel spreadsheet. You’ve got time slices going [one] way and your channels [one] way. You go through it, and you’re basically turning cells on and off, which means that light comes on for that same amount of time at that exact point in the song. And you can listen to your song and figure out where you want to put the lights in the song. That’s basically how it works.”
Daugherty said that the first few were all about experimenting and working to add more lights each year.
“Over the years, I’ve added more channels and controllers and spent more time on the computer, and the show has gotten bigger and bigger,” he said.
While the show only runs a few months out of the year, Daugherty is always working on it in one way or another.
“I’m always listening for new upbeat songs that would be good for the light show,” he explained. “I’ll try to find new songs and talk to my wife and two daughters about if they would be a good fit. Once I have figured out a song, it goes into the computer where I begin to program the sequence. It can take an hour to two hours to just do about 30 seconds worth of music. It’s a slow process. I start putting up lights maybe the week after Halloween. The setup of the yard is the same as the previous year. I might have to tweak a few things, but they are basically the same sequences I can use from one year to the next.”
While he initially set out just to put out lights for the family, Daugherty said the light show has gained a lot of followers over the years.
“I knew a lot of my church family were coming by and seeing the lights. I go to the Winchester United Methodist Church, and they would ask me each year if I had my lights up yet. We sit downstairs, so we don’t really get a good view of the road at nighttime, but a lot of times we kind of hear traffic. And while we’re walking by the windows, I glance out and see a car parked out there. Over the last several years, I’ve come across more people that say ‘we love your lights,’ and they make a plan to come by the house. I enjoy the compliments people give, and it seems like it does bring a lot of enjoyment. So that’s part of the reason why I do it every year.”
Daugherty said that over the years his family has helped out, with his daughters pitching in to help program or set up lights.
“My daughter, Natalie, who’s a senior at FCHS (Franklin County High School), programmed one of the sequences in last year’s show,” he said. “She spent probably 20 hours on the computer. My other daughter, Nora, who is a freshman at [the University of] Tennessee, did several of the trees in the front yard, and I didn’t have to go back and redo it!”
Daugherty said that he is proud of how far the light show has come and where it’s going and hopes to enjoy sharing his love of Christmas with all of those who drive by.
“Sometimes we’ll be sitting downstairs watching TV, and we’ll hear through the window, little kids laughing and yelling at the lights. It’s great just to hear joyous sounds coming from outside, and that always really makes us all grin. As long as I’m physically able to keep doing it, I’m going to.”
For the latest updates on the show, you can follow them on Facebook at Daugherty Christmas Lights. The light show is located at 169 Brandi Way in Winchester. GN