By Kelly Youngblood
Mike Field of Urbana is a full-time electrical engineer by day. During the Christmas season, those skills are magnified at night, as the creator of one of the newest — and coolest! — light shows in the C-U area.
Field’s show — a 3,000 led-light display set to music — was new to the Champaign Christmas light circuit last year. The show also had a unique twist — viewers could control it with a smartphone and a QR code.
The show is back again this year — same great music and dazzling lights — but at a new location.
Field has moved so the show will now be at 1909 Brownfield Road in Urbana.
Field said not many lights were added this year due to the challenges of buying his first house and the song selections will all be the same, with a few new additions. However, a special surprise show will be interspersed randomly throughout.
“My only hint is that owners of certain washing machines may find the tune quite familiar!” Field said.
The show features four different medleys including Rock, Traditional, Star Wars and Christmas movies. The rock songs were the first he chose and based on what he remembers from when he first discovered the hobby in 2007.
“The rest of the medley selections came naturally as I considered what medleys I wanted to show,” Field said.
As a big Star Wars fan, he wanted to “pay proper tribute to the franchise” with his own version of a light sequence. The songs in the Christmas movie medley were chosen from his favorite movies as a child including Polar Express, the original Grinch and Home Alone.
“My favorite part is when it first lights up,” Field said. “There is always something magical about the first illumination and it is so much fun to see everything running for the first time.”
He joked the worst part is right after it lights up, when you “suddenly see that one pixel that is not working and is a constant blue or red color.”
Of course a show like this doesn’t come without its challenges, including overcoming creative blocks when you can’t think of something new to sequence in the show.
“The best way I have found out of those is by watching someone else’s sequence for ideas of what to do,” Field said.