Saint-lazare family puts on light show
Donations go to Children’s hospital
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.