Cox combines lights, music in display

First Posted: 12/25/2008

PILOT MOUNTAIN Since his childhood, Rodney Cox has loved the bright colors and creativity of Christmas lights. Now, the 32-year-old Pilot Mountain resident has children of his own and they are getting to enjoy their fathers unusual Christmas light display nightly on the front lawn of their home.
While Coxs decorations are delightfully creative, it is an accompanying feature that sets them apart from other displays. Using his technical skills and imagination, Cox has added Christmas music which can be picked up on passing car radios. And he has synchronized the light display to the music to create a sensory treat of holiday light and sound.
The inventive display involves the use of a computer program which allows Cox to manually synchronize the lights to a particular song. Then, by employing a low-power transmitter which uses FM waves, he is able to broadcast the music through a specific location on the radio dial.
A lighted sign near the front of Coxs lawn encourages passersby to tune their radios to 92.7. They will then be treated to one of four Christmas songs selected by Cox as the lights on his lawn keep time with the music. Depending upon each songs tempo, lights may dance excitedly or find a mellower beat to follow.
This is Coxs second year of offering the display. He had attempted to get the concept started the previous year but had been unable to complete the complicated and time-consuming process in time for the holidays.
Each shortened song requires some two hours or more of work to be synchronized with the lights. With lights constantly blinking to the music, the display may give the illusion of having less than the 24,000 lights in three colors that are skillfully scattered throughout the lawn.
But Charity Cox knows the time and work that her husband puts into the project and the attention that must be paid to it throughout the busy holiday season.
Its a lot of chaos, she said, smiling, but its worth it. Their children, 9-year-old Joshua and Nathan, 7, enthusiastically agree.
Cox believes the resulting effect is the only display of its kind in the area. He is aware of other similar displays in not-too-distant locations, but those use a pre-packaged product to achieve their results. Using only a software program and the help of a Web site,, Cox manually programs each song.
Cox has been rewarded for his work by the reaction of those who each night enjoy the lights and music. But while he says he has received plenty of positive response, Cox knows that he cant get a reaction from most of those who pause to look and listen. Many who stop to take in the display, he explains, cautiously pull away if they see him come out of his home.
Some of his biggest fans, however, have shared their appreciation. Coxs home is next to Fridays Child Creative Learning Center, and he has been pleased by the delighted response of children, workers and parents. He takes a simple pleasure from having others share his passion for the holiday and its decorations.
Thats what I like, he noted, to see people enjoying this and getting something out of it.
The Cox family resides at 324 Old Westfield Road. The display is lighted from 5 to 11 each night and will remain on through Jan. 2.

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