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Lights and sounds of Christmas

A lights to music display at 3566 Barkley Bridge Road in Hartselle is creating quite a stir among people who travel the streets of the city during the Christmas season to view Christmas decorations.

The front lawn display, now in its third year, is the handiwork of Tim and Heather Peebles, a young couple who enjoy being wrapped up in bright lights and Christmas carols from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

Their 20,000 lights not only brighten the sky in their neighborhood but dance to the tunes of 17 Christmas carols when the viewer is tuned in to 93.5 on the radio dial.

Software on a laptop computer inside is programmed to run the whole show. Its screen duplicates what the viewer is seeing outside, minus the music.

The lights are dazzling when they’re seen by the casual observer but they take on a much deeper meaning when they are viewed as they react to the sounds of music.

A show lasts about 30 minutes and is repeated for as long as the display is running.

Voice over messages are given before the start of each show to welcome viewers, instruct them on where they can safely park and remind them that a receptacle is provided to take donations for the Children’s Hospital of Alabama.

Peebles said he changes the program periodically so that the people who come to view the lights a second time won’t hear the same music they heard before.

“We even take song suggestions from viewers,” he said.

Peebles said he begins stringing lights in August during his spare time and adds something new to the display every year. His most recent additions are a spiral blue Christmas tree, which required several hours of work, and a choo-choo train he found at the Habitat Restore in Decatur.

“The hardest part is to program the lights so that they’re in sync with the music,” he pointed out. “Although Heather lets me do most of the work, both of us are Christmas freaks.

“We’re always on the lookout for ideas to make the display better. To keep the cost down, we shop for LED lights at after-Christmas sales”.

Peebles said he talked his wife into letting him put up a lighted display after they purchased their home in 2010.

“I did a lot of research and got some good ideas from the website Peebles stated. “Then we checked out two or three lights to music displays in Huntsville before we started our own.”

He said one of the first things he had to do was install a second electric switchbox in his garage and check with neighbors to make sure they didn’t object to the lights.

“We’ve had lookers since Thanksgiving night,” he said, “and we expect many more through Christmas.

“Last year, we had as many as a dozen cars and trucks parked within sight of the house at the same time, with the occupants watching the lights and listening to the music for the entire 30-minute show.

“We love the lights and hope to make them a family tradition,” Peebles added. “We plan to continue to put them up as long as I can get up a ladder.”

The lights come on and the music begins at 5 p.m. daily. The show continues until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thurs-day and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.