Song inspires musical light show

John Davis • Poughkeepsie Journal • December 25, 2009

LAGRANGEVILLE — To say the front yard of the Tim and Grace Gay household is lit up like a Christmas tree would be an understatement.

How about 213,291 multicolored lights synchronized to music?

The ornate display in the yard of the house on a rural back road in the Town of Union Vale is drawing viewers in cars like moths to a flame.

One of those viewers pulling his SUV through the home's circular driveway Wednesday evening was Nick Savarese. He drove all the way from Wingdale to enjoy the lights with two of his children among the carload of five.

What makes this display beyond ordinary is the sheer number of lights combined with the intricate animation of the lights by the music programmed on a home computer. It's no surprise Tim Gay has a degree in chemical engineering.

"It helps with the planning part because organizing this is like project management," he said.

The spectacle of lights synchronized to turn off and on with holiday, and several nonholiday, tunes is a testament to the inspiration of one song in particular.

The song "City of Blinding Lights," by the rock band U2, was a driving force in his decision to animate the light show with music, Tim Gay said.

"That song is about living in the moment," he said.

What first inspired Tim Gay in 1995 to decorate the trees in his front yard with 600 lights was the birth of his daughter, Emily. Each year since, the number of lights he and Grace Gay put up increased.

The birth of two sons, Daniel and John, led to greater involvement by the family in the project meant to bring joy to them and others.

The feedback from some of the thousands of viewers who pull though the Gays' driveway every holiday season inspires them to do even more the following year.

"People start to compliment you on it and that adds fuel to the fire," Tim Gay said.

Reach John Davis at or 845-437-4807.