When Brad Stucky hears a Christmas song, he visualizes it in flashing, vibrant color.
And as a result, so can his neighbors and anyone else who drives by his home at 535 Carrie St.
This is the seventh year Brad and wife, Connie, have decked out their property for the season. What begun as an aspiring goal has become a colorful tradition that has brightened the holiday of many McPherson residents.
“We’re happy people enjoy it,” Connie said. “There’s a lot of work to putting it all out, and every year I think ‘Are we going to do it again?’ We think about how much enjoyment people get out of it, and then that just inspires us.”
Perched on a dead-end street, the house boasts lights of green, red, blue and white. On the roof are about 30 strands of lights that act like piano keys, and above it, white stars. Lights line each window and door, along with the driveway, which features angels trumpeting the word “joy.” A tree trunk is wrapped with red lights, with sprawling rays at the base. Along either side of the house are rows of mini Christmas trees.
Each of these areas feature a certain instrument or sound that correlates with the music broadcasted on FM 99.5. About 20 songs play, including numbers from the TransSiberian Orchestra, Mannheim Steamroller, Josh Gromban and Celtic Women. Each song takes about eight to 16 hours to configure from scratch, and every flicker is hand-selected by Brad with a computer program to match the tune.
“I feel the kid inside of me when I look at it,” Brad said.
Much of his audience feels the same.
“I did this because I like to watch the flashing lights,” he said, adding he and Connie often watch it themselves from across the street. “I picked the songs I liked, but I didn’t think so much about kids’ songs. But the feedback we hear is, ‘We keep coming back because the little kids want to see it.’ That inspires me to do it the next year when we hear feedback.”
Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Although monetary donations have been offered to the couple, they ask those gifts be instead given back to the community.
The annual display began after Brad saw similar shows online and on TV. In college, he had a stereo that lit up to the music, so this was just the next step, he said.
“It’s kind of a visualization thing in my mind,” he said. “It’s nothing that anybody can teach, you see what other people have done and develop your own style.”
Over the years, the duo have added pieces, adapted the songs and streamlined their process. Their display now boasts 15,000 LED bulbs and 620 channels, which correlates with each colored flash. Set up and take down last about one week each, and brainstorming is a year-long process.
But the focal point has remained the same. This is seen at the two ends of the house — signified by a cross on the left and a manger scene with a star on the right.
“In the beginning when he asked me about doing it, with as commercialized as Christmas has become, I wanted to do it so people would know the focus was that Jesus the Christ was born that day,” Connie said. “That’s what it’s all about, the reason for the season.”
The light show is displayed from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 to 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays, except for in inclement weather. It began after Thanksgiving and will continue through the week after Christmas.
In addition to their home, the couple has also coordinated with others for a lights display at Multi-Community Diversified Services, which includes a snowman face. This will be the fifth year for a show at 2107 Industrial Drive, which lasts through Christmas.
“It's fun to see other people involved in the project,” Brad said. “For our house, it’s just us is who doing it, but to have other people get involved and get feedback from them, it’s fun.”