Dover teen lights up the night for a good cause

By John Quinn
Union Leader Correspondent
December 12. 2013 9:53PM
Luke Dobson, 15, decorated his parents' Dover house with 8,000 lights to raise funds for a local food pantry. (John Quinn/Union Leader Correspondent)

DOVER — A local sophomore hopes 8,000 blinking lights timed to Christmas music will encourage area residents to donate even more to help St. Joseph's food pantry this year.

For the fourth year in a row, Luke Dobson, 15, who attends Dover High, decorated his parents' house at 23 Overlook Drive with 8,000 lights and synchronized them to holiday music — playing on his own "local radio station" at 106.9 FM which broadcasts in the neighborhood — to solicit donations to help local families in need.

"We decided to do this to give back to the community," Dobson said, adding a collection box will be out during the show.

Aside from inclement weather, the performance is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

"The lights will be off if it's anymore than a light snow outside due to safety reasons. If we are not lit, a note will be posted on our blog and Facebook page to let you know so," according to Dobson's website at or "Luke's Lights" on Facebook.

While the light show went live Sunday, Dobson he and his father — Will — have been working on this year's display since October. He added the tricky part was coordinating the lights to the music, which took about 10 hours a song.

As they follow the music, strings of lights adorn bushes and trees, illuminate a manger, brighten reindeer and candy canes, create stars and border the door, windows and the trim on the house and garage.

"Everything needs to be hand-synched," Dobson said. "There's not a program out there to do this." While he claims "it's mostly just a hobby," Dobson said he's interested in pursuing a career in engineering in the future.

As the annual display brought in 930 pounds of donations in 2012, Dobson said he's aiming to collect 1,000 pounds of non-perishable items by the end of the year. He added this will be a challenge as the show started a week later than last year — as Thanksgiving fell so late.

Dobson, who will probably stop collecting donations during the show Jan. 2, remains confident since quite a few people return to the show each year.

"We have a lot of kids — that's our highest demographic," Dodson said, adding many nursing homes and senior centers plan trips to have residents enjoy the lights.

Like previous years, Dobson said he chose popular Christmas music to accompany the lights.

"We have some pop, some rock and some slower music," Dobson said, adding the seven-song loop — which includes "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Do You See What I See?" — and accompanying light show lasts just over 30 minutes.

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