Richmond dad-of-four making up for childhood without electricity

Lorenzo Lagaspi has added music and choreography to his annual Christmas lights display outside his South Arm home

When Lorenzo Lagaspi was growing up in the Philippines, there was no electricity in his home, let alone Christmas lights.

As a child, he remembers the first time they had power over the festive season, when his mom bought a tiny set of Christmas lights.

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At that very moment, Lagaspi said to himself “maybe one day.”

Well, it turns out, by no coincidence one would assume, he’s now an electrician.

And when the News caught up with Lagaspi outside of his detached, single-family home in South Arm’s Rosemary Avenue, the dad-of-four stood, arms folded in satisfaction, admiring his mini-festival of lights as they flashed and flickered to the beat of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas, is you.”

But it doesn’t stop there; Lagaspi, who’s been putting on his display for a decade, decided this year, in addition to adding choreography, to tune his “performance” into an FM frequency, with a range of around 100 metres.

“I usually just do the display, but I want to really show my appreciation for living here and giving something nice, I hope, back to the community,” said Lagaspi.

“I didn’t have this opportunity growing up, so I really like to make people happy.”

Ninety-nine per cent of the lights, said Lagaspi, are recycled or bought on the cheap and second-hand from Craigslist.

“I found out on a website last summer that you could match up your lights with music,” he added.

“It’s all sequenced through a 24-hour laptop link, which is set on a timer to come on at 4:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

“I think my neighbours are OK with it, I hope they are.”

Lagaspi starts putting up his display in the first week of November and lights it up officially every year on Dec. 1.

“I’ll probably keep adding to it, I can’t resist it.”

lights
Lorenzo Lagaspi has added music and choreograpahy to his display at his South Arm home this year. Here, he inspects his new control box. - Alan Campbell/Richmond News

Shellmont Christmas Parade rolls on

Meanwhile, just a few blocks to the east, the annual Shellmont Christmas Parade is all set for Dec. 18 at 7 p.m., setting off from Woodward elementary.

One of its founders, Jeff Joseph, said the grass-roots community event has come a long way since it’s inception in 2008, when he and a few of his buddies took a walk from a Christmas party to check out a decorated house.

“We decided, while all dressed up for the party, to pay a little visit to the ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ house nearby,” said Joseph.

“It was like a mini pilgrimage and we thought, ‘why not have our own parade?’”

Why not indeed? The very next year, Joseph, along with Alex MacFarlane, Steve Scarrow and David Langer held their own parade with about 20 people, all dressed up for Christmas.

In 2010, it took on a more formal persona and last year around 80 people took part, from neighbours, friends, family and even some strangers.

“We’ve got posters up in the neighbourhood and many other strangers come join the parade as it’s moving along,” added Joseph.

“A guy from Texas, who had a few hours to kill at the airport one year, spotted a story about the parade in the paper and came out to take part.”

Got Community spirit?

If you organize neighbourly get togethers or events, let the News know about it by emailing editor@richmond-news.com with the subject “Community Spirit.” Or call 604-249-3342. Who knows, your good example may spread to other communities and neighbourhoods across the city.

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