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Engineering and music come together to light up Mountain Vista this holiday season

HIGHLANDS RANCH –Mountain Vista High School senior Spencer Pozder may be finished with his finals, but he still has one authentic assessment yet to complete. His love for engineering and music will be on display this holiday season in a lighting display he designed at Mountain Vista, which will help raise money for the school’s band and orchestra.

“It has been a lot of work, especially during finals,” explained Pozder.

The display, which will incorporate dozens of strands of LED lights, is choreographed to music by the band and orchestra’s recent holiday concert.

Using lessons taught in his engineering class, Pozder has been busy programming the light show.

“The Arduinos are these little micro controllers. We learned how to code them, how the software works, and the language behind it [in class]. We didn’t specifically learn about lights, but it is the same kind of implications,” explained Pozder.

“Some light displays are set up to do this automatically. They put in the music and based on the tones of the music, it turns on specific lights or turns them off. What we are doing is very customized,” Pozder said. “We decided to do it this way, even though it would take longer because we could do a lot more with the effects.”

Pozder, who plays the violin, says that it takes about an hour-per-minute to translate the tone of the music, into commands for the lighting.

“If the flutes are in a section, we like to have a flute kind of display going on, where we have a lighter color and more dimming. When it is the brass section, it would be more direct and a darker color,” Pozder said.

What started as an idea has grown into a project, involving teachers and Mountain Vista’s Tri M National Music Society

Working with Pozder’s engineering teacher the group worked to determine what equipment was needed and how to make it as efficient as possible.

“Everything we are using is LED. That helps with the power consumption and it helps with the timing. LEDs will turn on and off faster than incandescent bulbs,” Pozder said. “I had to do a lot of research into what kinds of lights we could use to ensure we didn’t trip the breakers.”

On Thursday and Friday, the Tri M members have been at work setting up the display, so that it will be ready for Friday night’s debut. Pozder says he worries that it will be a bit like that memorable scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

“My worst fear is that we plug everything in and it doesn’t work or we hit go and everything works perfectly, but it is not as cool as we expected it to be,” Pozder said.

We have no doubt that the display, which will be lit from 6:30 to 9 p.m. every night between Friday December 19 and Tuesday December 23 will be spectacular.

Visitors will be able to tune their radios to a selected station to listen to the music from the warmth of their cars.

It is a fundraiser for the MVHS music department and the Tri M Music Honor Society students will be on hand to accept donations and to sell hot chocolate. 


December 19, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: High School Education, Schools

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glowing purple lights hover over trays of seedlings in a dark room

It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.