Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wizards of Winter
Dazzling Holiday display helps fill food banks
By Sally and John Macdonald
The Seattle Times
Johan Jorna, 17, created a computer-controlled multi-house Christmas-light display choreographed to music as a senior project. The display has a box accepting nonperishable donations for the food bank and a short-range radio signal allows viewers to hear the music from their cars.
Jorna hasn't decided yet which food bank will get the benefit from his computer-driven project; it's his first attempt at an outdoor Christmas light show. But bring food if you decide to drive by because he will have a way for you to donate.
Jorna, who's home-schooled and also attends Cascadia Community College in Bothell, had all the light strings and decorations he needed to make a display that spills over into the next-door neighbor's yard and dances and flashes furiously in time to the frenzied music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Wizards in Winter." (A sign prompts viewers to tune their car radio to 88.3 FM to hear the music from the street.)
He bought $200 worth of wiring and electrical components for the display, including $80 in electrical cords. He figures the project, which he learned how to do via the Internet, improved his soldering skills "and taught me a whole lot about electrical engineering."
Jorna may be a newbie at over-the-top Christmas lights, but "it's something I've always wanted to do on my own and I'm sure it will grow."