McDaniel College prepares its inaugural holiday light show for the community.
Frank Serruto sat in the press box of McDaniel College’s Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, a complex series of colored splashes scrolling past on his laptop and the big guitar of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Nutrocker” vibrating from its speakers. Down below, from the bleachers, came rhythmic flashes of light.
Serruto is the senior events manager for Excel Lighting, and he was programming the first McDaniel College Holiday Light Show, which will open to the public Saturday, Nov. 25. Beginning at 5 p.m., in conjunction with the city of Westminster’s holiday parade, and until 9:30 p.m., people can drive onto the college campus from the West Main Street entrance to get a view of the stadium, according to Christina Steinbrenner, executive director of Advancement Engagement at the college.
“We decided we wanted to fixate the light show on Kenneth R. Gill Stadium,” she said. “We’ve attached approximately 4,700 lights to the seating, and also some lights on the roof of the stadium.”
Each of those lights is programmable from Serruto’s laptop, which is really what his job is — programming each light to perform along with the music.
“Each diode or color was inserted, one at a time,” he said. “There is some human creativity involved in this — it definitely takes a little bit of time.”
It takes Serruto about a half-hour to program the lights for just two seconds of music. He’s been busy. The McDaniel College Holiday Light Show will feature four songs: Tran-Siberian Orchestra’s “Nutrocker” and “Carol of the Bells,” “Feliz Navidad” and “Let It Go” from the film “Frozen” — for about 15 minutes of music.
“They will run on a loop and families can join us at no cost at all,” Steinbrenner said. “Once you arrive at the stadium, you tune into FM 96.5, and you’ll be able to hear the music and view the light show along with the music.”
The show will play on a continuous loop for those same hours, 5 to 9:30 p.m., every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 31.
The light show is a continuation of McDaniel’s 150th anniversary celebration, Steinbrenner said, which began with a birthday party in the fall and will continue throughout the 2017-2018 academic year.
“This piece of the celebration is our gift to the Carroll County community,” she said. “We have been a part of the community for 150 years and we really wanted to find an opportunity to give back and welcome the community to our campus on the holiday season.”
With luck, Steinbrenner said, the light show will become an annual community celebration in its own right.