Ryan Jones is legally blind and staging his third year of Christmas light and music shows at his Lexington home.
It is a display of faith: Jones’ Christian faith, and the faith Jones’ family had that despite his limited vision, he grew up with few restrictions. Ryan Jones played snare drum in his high school marching band and drums in the jazz band. Rhythm and music have always been in his life, and the light show reflects that.
Jones thinks it’s important to show that those with disabilities can do just about anything, given the right assistive technology. If he sees your car or van in front of the house, he may just come down the yard and say hello.
“It’s going to look different, even if you saw it last year,” Jones said.
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Jones’ lights are coordinated with music from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a group which itself uses lights (enough to blow a few municipal power grids), moving trusses and special effects in its concerts. The music for Jones’ show is broadcast on a separate frequency at 89.5 FM.
Ryan Jones uses a computer that reads aloud and the sequencing program Light-O-Rama, which offers various levels of light control and allows the lights at different spots to be put on different “channels.”
The sequencing allows time intervals of as little as a fraction of a second.
He can see the shapes of Christmas lights if it’s dark. But mainly he just hangs them by feel, with his wife making sure the lines are straight; this year he started before Halloween because last year starting in the first week of November “we were pushed to get it all ready.”
His wife, Kayla Jones, “is 100 percent supportive of me. She’s willing to do whatever it takes,” Ryan Jones said.
His father, Bob Jones, who was a University of Kentucky football kicker from 1968-70, helped him during a visit from Florida last week.
Jones has a condition called Leber’s congenital amaurosis, a rare inherited eye disease. As a child he could see the print in large-print books and watch television; by 22, his vision had declined to light perception and some peripheral vision. He is now 35.
Ryan Jones particularly wanted to get the lighted star higher on the house this year, because he considers it a centerpiece. But that’s not all: Jones, who works in training and consulting for people who are visually impaired, hit 2015’s post-Christmas sales hard. Lights were up to 90 percent off, and the Joneses picked up about 4,000 more to add to last year’s 6,500.
About 3,000 will go on a new feature that’s being added to the yard.
“It’s kind of a surprise,” Jones said.
Ryan Jones is also designing a mini-light show for his church, Southern Heights Baptist Church on Clays Mill Road.
The display isn’t formally opening until Dec. 2 this year. There’s a reason for that. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is playing at Rupp Arena at 7:30 p.m on Dec. 1.
The Joneses wouldn’t miss it.
If you go
Ryan Jones light displays
▪ 1748 Abbington Hill, Dec. 2-Jan. 2, 6:30-9 p.m. Tune in to 89.5 FM for accompanying music.
▪ Jones uses Light-O-Rama technology. See other displays that use the technology at the company’s Web site.