The Christmas lights at the Reeve’s family home in Logan are synced to music transmitted on an FM radio frequency.
Nothing too unusual about that, but this Cliffside display stands out for its USU Aggie theme, climaxing with a light segment synchronized to the school’s fight song, “The Scotsman.”
Kevin Reeve, a Logan resident, said he wanted to do something for the holiday season that would provide entertainment for people to watch and enjoy with their families, and his commitment to the project grew over time.
“As a family, we used to drive northwest of Preston to a home with a big loop driveway and thousands of lights with lit-up characters from Disney and others,” Reeve said. “The kids loved it. It was a tradition for many years. I always had it in mind to do something for Christmas at our house.”
That became a reality five years ago when he and his family put on their first musical light show.
“Six years ago, a friend of mine in Smithfield did a really cool light show synced to music, and I went and saw his show and decided it was time to start,” Reeve said. “I asked him if he would mentor me. He gave me a tour of his show, the controllers, the software and lights you had to buy to make it work. So, I started buying little by little over the next year to do our first show.”
That friend and mentor is Jared Smith, who has put on a light show at his home for several years known as “Smithfield Lights.” Smith lives at 120 E. 520 North in Smithfield.
“Putting on a light show like we do takes a lot of planning, effort, time, skill, and perseverance,” Smith said. “Kevin and the gang are talented in all of these areas, and this is evidenced in their amazing light show. Kevin has also been very creative and showed ingenuity in creating the Aggie wreath as well as 3D printing some custom light holders that we now both use in our light shows.”
Ever since its first show, word has spread and the display has gained popularity. On Facebook, it has been dubbed the “Cliffside Lights.”
Reeve said that with the help of his wife, Janet, and their five children, the family project was able to find success.
“The three youngest (now ages 18, 22, 25) are heavily involved in the show from sequencing lights to music, to putting up the displays and putting the lights in the displays,” Reeve said.
For the light show to be a success, plenty of time must be allocated toward planning. Reeve said that the family starts planning next year’s show in January by making a list of lights they’ll need and new display elements they want to add in to make it more fun to watch.
“This year we added the candy canes, the pixel star, and the new four-ring wire wreath. The Aggie A in the wreath has been a huge hit with viewers. It makes our show different from others,” Reeve said.
The iconic Aggie A in the wreath and the Aggie anthem, “The Scotsman,” have attracted students and alumni of USU to witness the Aggie spirit in the midst of the holiday season.
“‘The Scotsman’ has brought me to tears multiple times in my life, and when that is coupled with Christmas, there are few things better,” said USU student Jesse Bradshaw, who took in the display recently.
Reeve said a good sequence takes 2-4 hours per minute of music to synchronize the lights. And despite the extensive amount of time it requires — with technical challenges that present themselves each year — the family still enjoys the process.
“We have fun doing it as a family. We get nice anonymous notes from people we do not know, and compliments from friends who have stopped by to see the show,” Reeve said.
In addition to “The Scotsman,” Cliffside Lights this year features the song “Into the Unknown” from the movie “Frozen 2.” The lights dance to the rhythm of the music with a tree figure that comes to life and sings along to the tune.
Visitors can listen to the songs from their car transmitted on a short-range FM station. A Christmas light pole on the left side of the house has a sign directing people where to tune in. The cars line up from the north end of the street to make their way to the house with the light show. The display currently has four songs playing and will add more later this week.
“Driving around looking at Christmas lights is a fun thing to do as a family. There is something peaceful about the lights and scenes. And snow on the ground makes it even better,” Reeve said.
Cliffside Lights is located at 56 N. 1170 East in Logan. The show runs every night from dusk to 9:30 p.m. through Jan. 1.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/cliffsidelights/.