Teen’s amazing Star Wars light show honors late mom’s memory
In Demarest, a talented, tech-savvy teen has found an extraordinary way to honor his late mother.
“I’ve created a massive Christmas light show with synchronized music,” Daniel Eisenberg, 15, told NJ101.5. “We have over a hundred thousand lights! If my mom had seen this, she would’ve been in awe.”
In honor of her, Daniel has programmed a state-of-the-art light display on his front lawn at 38 Evergreen Place that flashes in time to a 30-minute musical soundtrack – one that includes the epic Star Wars theme song. But what makes Daniel’s display so ingenious is that it can only be heard when tuning in to a once-dormant radio frequency: New Jersey 98.1.
“I chose 98.1 because it was open. It was just a bunch of static when I found it,” he said. “I set [the soundtrack] so it could only transmit about 1,000 feet around my house. So whatever music I play will broadcast straight into your car.”
Daniel says people have come from as far away as Pennsylvania and New York to experience the spectacle. But the story behind it is what makes his light show so special.
“The Christmas after my mom passed away, we were super sad, so we put up a lot more lights that year,” he recalls. “And every year since then, we’ve put up more and more lights in her honor. So that’s how it got this big and this wild.”
Daniel says his inspiration was not only his mother -- “My mom used to decorate our house like a palace” – but also a man he met five years ago when his family was driving around New Jersey looking at holiday decorations.
The synchronized light and music display at a home in Waldwick was the coolest thing he’d ever seen, Daniel recalls. He says he introduced himself to the home’s resident, Ralph DeWeil and together they figured out how Daniel could make his own synchronized light show.
“He’s my mentor, “ says Daniel, now a freshman at Northern Valley Demarest High School.
Now, six years later, Daniel has become something of a light-show wizard, turning what began as a fanciful hobby into a self-sustaining endeavor that also raises money for the American Heart Association.
“Half of our donations go to improving the display for next year, and the other half goes to the American heart association in memory of my mom, who passed away from a heart attack. So far we’ve raised $2,583.”
Daniel pays for all operating costs out of his own pocket, however. His expenses include computer software, Christmas lights and “a massive antenna on my roof.” He earns money buying and trading high-end speakers online, as well as working part-time at an exotic car wash.
As fun as it’s been to create a winter wonderland, Daniel says the highly complex work is extremely time-consuming.
“Every one minute of synchronized lights takes an average of fifteen hours of programming,” he says. “That’s 45 hours of programming for a 3-minute song. And since I’m a teenager I use every kind of music -- traditional, rock, hip-hop – every kind of music you can imagine.
“This is my first year going this big,” he adds. “I couldn’t do it without my dad. He drives me to Lowe’s whenever there’s an emergency.”