Public invited to Coble Meadows Christmas lights

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From staff reports

About 50,000 computer-controlled lights programmed to "dance to music" are on display in front of a Marshall County family's home and the man of the house invites everybody to come by and enjoy.

"It is my first time doing this," Nathan Hill says. "Hopefully, it will get better as the years go by. I hope my wife and pocketbook will let me. I plan to put lights on the roof. People are more than welcome to drive down and check it out."

Now, there are lights on a wooden entrance arch at the end of his driveway where Christmas greetings welcome visitors to see what they have in Coble Meadows, a subdivision north of Double Bridge Road, southeast of Berlin.

Various displays show an angel, Santa and his sleigh, a Christmas train and Christmas trees as well as plastic tubes with strings of lights programmed to show one line of lights chasing another as they bounce across the ground. There are six "leaping arches," Hill said.

Nathan, his wife Katie, and their children, Shelby and Parker, have a gravel driveway that intersects with Coble Meadows Drive. That's off Double Bridge Road on the west side of the Verona Caney Road. Turn north into Coble Meadows and watch for the lights on the right side. The house is much further back than the other houses in the subdivision.

As motorists approach the entrance to the display, they'll see that Hill is broadcasting a program on a low power radio transmitter. The signal at 92.1 FM has a range of about 250 feet.

Asked how much money he'd spent on the display, Hill replied that the amount is more than he'd care to admit, but he's probably spent 100 hours on the software to make the lights dance.

"It takes about eight hours to program one three-minute song," he said.

Hill recorded the program he calls "The Crooked Star," so-called because wind blew the star on top of his biggest Christmas Tree and now it is a bit off kilter. The radio program lasts 11-12 minutes and includes four Christmas songs.

It's been so effective, that the audience has provided entertainment for the Hill family.

Youngsters brought to the display have stepped from their parents' cars and started to dance to the music in Hill's driveway.

"The display has 160 channels, or switches that are computer controlled," Hill said. "I use Light-O-Rama computer software to control the lights. I'm a phone company lineman. I don't have any electronics background."

He does have some construction knowledge. He six leaping arches are really bent PVC pipes with lights strapped around with rebar stuck in the ground so strings of lights appear to bounce from one to the other, he said.

Asked why he's gone to such lengths, Hill replied, "I just want to make sure Santa Claus sees my house, and I'm doing it just for fun."

Hill, 33, is a 1996 graduate of Franklin County High School in Winchester. His wife is the former Miss Katie Lovette of Verona Road. She graduated in 1998 from Marshall County High School. He's worked for AT&T for more than a dozen years. His two hobbies are beekeeping in the summer and placement of Christmas lights in the winter.

"There's another display in Mount Pleasant where my friend, Bradley Jacobs, has been doing it for 5-6 years, so he's had a little more experience than I do," Hill said. "He's had a Web site;"

Hill does not have a Web site yet, but he's had a display on YouTube, he said, suggesting the web surfers search for Light-O-Rama display in Lewisburg, TN.

"There are lot of Christmas light displays on YouTube," Hill said.

And now there's one on