Saint-la­zare fa­mi­ly puts on light show

Do­na­tions go to Chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

And she does it all with help from her hus­band, Glen, and their th­ree kids, Ty­ler, 9, Cas­san­dra, 7, and Za­cha­ry, 5, from her Saint-La­zare home. Eve­ry week­night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and la­ter on wee­kends, the John­son’s home at 2622, rue Year­ling in Saint-La­zare’s Sadd­le­brook de­ve­lop­ment is trans­for­med in­to a dan­cing lights show fea­tu­ring more than 10,000 il­lu­mi­na­ted bulbs. The lights pulse, fade, twinkle and pop to mu­sic played di­rect­ly from a spec­ta­tor’s car. The ra­dio chan­nel to tune in­to is pos­ted in front of the house.

An­gel and Glen, with much help from the kids, have been set­ting up the il­lu­mi­na­ted show since 2006.

“We did our first year from our home (at the time) in Vau­dreuil-Do­rion, but that cau­sed a big fuss and we were ki­cked out,” she said, ad­ding, “The neigh­bors star­ted a pe­ti­tion be­cause the show brought too ma­ny spec­ta­tors to the street.”

An­gel John­son knows how to splice wires, string ho­li­day lights and pro­gram up to eight com­pu­ter boards in or­der to put on a spectacular light show.

The John­son’s were told they could in­cur mu­ni­ci­pal fines if they “lit up,” so the next year they mo­ved the show to Glen’s parent’s house in Saint-La­zare where it stayed un­til the fa­mi­ly al­so mo­ved to Saint-La­zare.

“It was a big hit in Saint-La­zare... No one there min­ded in the least,” An­gel said.

Each year, the pa­rents let their ol­dest son, Ty­ler, choose a cha­ri­ty to which they will give any do­na­tions put in­to a col­lec­tion box left out­side the house.

This year’s re­ci­pient is the Mon­treal Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal. Thus far a few hun­dred dol­lars have been rai­sed.

The most ever amas­sed was $2,000 that was then do­na­ted to the Make A Wish Foun­da­tion. Iro­ni­cal­ly, the amount was collected the first year, in Vau­dreuilDo­rion. For An­gel, the col­lec­tion is a way to “give back” to those less for­tu­nate, but it’s not the on­ly goal of the light show that takes more than a month to set up.

“We hope our lit­tle light show can get fa­mi­lies to come to­ge­ther and take a mo­ment to stop, so­me­thing most of us don’t do ve­ry of­ten no­wa­days, and re­mem­ber and ap­pre­ciate the wonder and joy of this season.”


An­gel, Glen and the kids be­gin set­ting up the lights right af­ter Hal­lo­ween. She says it takes an en­tire month to get eve­ry­thing just so. The mom of th­ree al­so works full time at her hus­band’s ir­ri­ga­tion bu­si­ness.

Ins­pi­ra­tion for the show struck af­ter wat­ching a 2005 vi­deo sho­wing a light dis­play syn­chro­ni­zed to the song Wi­zards in Win­ter, by the Trans-Si­be­rian Or­ches­tra.

“I thought it was so co­ol, and I did a lit­tle re­search and found out how to do it,” she re­cal­led. The show is crea­ted when lights are connec­ted to a com­pu­ter board that is then connec­ted to a com­pu­ter in­side the home. The John­son’s have 128 ex­ten­sion chords connec­ted to eight cir­cuit boards. Each board can po­wer up to 16 lines. The fa­mi­ly can then pro­gram the boards to break to .05 of a se­cond and do things like turn on and off, fade, dance, jump, and more. In all, the 15-mi­nute long show fea­tures five or six songs, al­so cho­sen by the John­son chil­dren. The light show will run un­til Dec. 31.

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