One of the best parts about the holiday season is the lights. Houses and trees all over are adorned with colorful bulbs and decorative ornamentation. It’s part of what gives this time of year an air of magic. Of course, some people take their home light displays to much more intricate levels than others, programming sophisticated spectacles synced to music for their communities to enjoy.
One such display, Lights on Suter, run by John Tomasi and his family, has been mounting increasingly elaborate holiday light shows at their North Haledon, NJ home since 2012. While the show is geared toward the holidays, Tomasi often throws non-seasonal themes and songs into the 10-20 number mix, like his 2015 edition based around Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Last year, the Tomasi family included Phish favorite “Llama” as a featured number in their annual show, and the results were spectacular—and rockin’, taboot. As Tomasi explains to Live For Live Music, “I am a huge Phish fan and have always wanted to add a Phish song aptly placed in my holiday show. [Last year,] my buddy Moose decided to come down to spend the holidays with our family. Moose and I are fraternity brothers and have been to countless shows together. … We were at The Great Went together. … Since he was coming down, I said ‘this is the year.'” Check out a video of the “Llama” display below:
2017 Lights on Suter Holiday Show – Phish – “Llama”
Continues Tomasi, “A lot of my inspiration for what I do with lights comes from Phish shows. Someday I would love to sit in the corner of the soundboard area at a show and just watch them conduct the show. And share in the groove.”
The process of setting up the elaborate annual audiovisual spectacle is unsurprisingly elaborate and requires help from his wife and three children to come together each year—as well as many hours of work from Tomasi himself. “It’s a year-long journey. I have to figure out what new lights I am going to add to the show. Then I have to order the pixels. … Don’t get them until June. Then I have to assemble the props. I program the songs for the show throughout the year—or at least try to. … It’s a labor of love. Takes 40-50 hours just to set up. Programming is in the hundreds of hours. Prop planning, building, testing… You get the point.” He also notes that he often listens to JEMP Radio while he works on the show.
On the topic of this year’s Lights on Suter show, Tomasi notes “I might do a new Phish song to appear as an ‘encore,’ but I have not figured it out yet.” Whatever songs the Tomasi family includes in their 2018 display, we’re sure it will be as incredible as ever.
The Tomasi family uses Lights on Suter as a way to collect donations for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. If you liked the Phish “Llama” light show, you can donate to MS research on their behalf here.
For more information about how to catch the Tomasi family’s 2018 display this holiday season, head here.