It’s the Motz wonderful time of the year

By on December 14, 2016

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wendy and Rich Motz were not expecting hundreds of visitors to their Laurel Avenue home on Dec. 3.

They had cookies and hot chocolate all ready for the huge crowd that gathered outside their house for the debut of their 2016 holiday light show.

“We were amazed at how many people showed up,” says Rich Motz. “And even more amazed that they liked it so much.”

That makes this dedicated Christmas light aficionado pretty pleased. He’s been decking the halls for more than 20 years.

Three years ago, he decided to kick it up a few notches, by adding music to his light show. Before that it was just lots of colored lights glittering in the wintry night.

The music turned it into a real show, with a lights sparkling in time to the music and illustrating the songs they were playing.

Inspired by holiday light shows like those done at Longwood Gardens, Motz wanted to bring some of that extra holiday spirit to Lititz. After years of adding more lights to his holiday designs, the idea came to him to add music. He invested in a Light-O-Rama programming system that he could use to set the show to music.

Three years ago, his musical light show was simpler. This year he expanded his light show into two separate shows. They run on alternate evenings, with a few songs in common. Each show runs about 28 minutes and is on a loop that runs from 5 p.m., when it starts to get dark, until 10 p.m.

There is a Nutcracker show with a blend of traditional and contemporary songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Carol of the Bells,” “The House on Christmas Street,” “Let It Go,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

“My favorite song is ‘The House on Christmas Street,’ but the kids just love ‘Let It Go,’ as a big snowflake comes over the roof,” says Wendy Motz, adding that little girls especially warm to the hit song about girls’ empowerment from the movie “Frozen.”

The Wizards of Winter show is more old-fashioned with songs like “I Saw Three Ships,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Hallelujah Chorus.” Wendy’s favorite “The House on Christmas Street” makes an encore appearance in this show.

“We change the songs each year,” notes Rich. “But we notice that the older people tend to like some of the traditional songs best.”

More than a few seniors stop by to listen. One elderly man in his nineties recently stopped by with his son. The 96-year-old sat in the car and watched the entire show with a tear in his eye.

“He was having the time of his life,” says Rich.

An older woman came by and was quite touched. An elderly couple come by almost every night, telling the Motzes that they find the show “thrilling.”

As for the kids, they are often found dancing on the sidewalk to all their favorite Christmas songs. Many of them return again and again, like the Motzes’ two grandchildren, who have a special reason to find Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house pretty exciting during the holidays.

Indeed, the Christmas lights show at the Motz house is a family affair. Wendy gets help from her daughters-in-law Tracy Motz and Misty Motz. Tracy does signage and donation boxes, while Misty helps with baking and serving hot chocolate. Their son, Brian, does construction work; and their other son, Greg, puts his computer skills to work from Motz Technology to help with the show.

When the circuit board blew out on the night before the debut, Brian helped get the show programmed manually. It was a near disaster averted.

“We were in a panic,” says Rich.

Rich Motz gets lots of assistance from his friend Phil Davidson — known in Lititz for his colorful carousel that was just displayed at Lititz Elementary School. Motz and Davidson met at their church, Lititz United Methodist; and Davidson has been a godsend. He helped Motz create images like a church steeple on the roof, a huge North Star, and ringing bells.

For everyone involved, it is a Christmas gift to the community.

“I love seeing how excited Rich gets about this,” says Wendy. “There are lights and electronics all over the house, but I don’t mind. This is his passion.”

Speaking of lights, everyone asks Rich how many lights he uses. The short answer is that he has no idea. Thousands and thousands is his best guess.

He gets most of his lights after the holidays on sale at places like Lowes and Bombergers.

The other question people ask is, “What is your electric bill like?”

It’s not that bad, says Rich, maybe just an extra $100 for the month.

He used LED lights, which help to save on electricity. This year’s show has a lot of pink lights, in honor of fighting breast cancer.

In fact, the entire display is a benefit. While the show is free, there are donation boxes to raise money for the Lititz Public Library. Wendy is involved in the Friends of the Library and they both wanted to do something to give back to the community.

“Libraries, sadly, are underfunded, so this show is a way to help the library,” says Rich. “We live in a wonderful town and it’s my honor to do this for Lititz and its library.”

The Motz family Christmas light show takes place each evening from 5 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 1 at 659 Laurel Ave., Lititz.

Laura Knowles is a local freelance writer and regular contributor to the Record Express. She welcomes comments and questions at lknowles21@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *