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Make merry music with this interactive Christmas tree

St. Gregorios Orthodox Cathedral brings in the yuletide with light, sound and a whole lotta happy making and doing.

Sometime in November an opportunity to make something for Christmas knocked on THE door. Bam! Ideas started flowing. We were looking for a Christmas experience, not just a tree. Something people could engage with, better still if the tree could return the merry gesture.


A re-invented, interactive light and sound installation would come to life . THE Workshop + the bubbly youth of St. Gregorios Orthodox Cathedral church, Bangalore. What we made: a 3 octave PVC pipe organ  encircling a tree made of sensory lights and 300  Asparagus densiflorus saplings (they were closest to representing the fir).

DSC_0056Over 3 weeks the 15 ft tall merry maker was made by the community, for the community. Part at THE Workshop, part at the church. Fun times. Every pipe was rigged with a sensor which sets of the lights. All synced to how the user played the pipes.

The support was overwhelming, total strangers to woodworking, metalworking and electronics, a team of 30 sawed, welded, painted and connected this tree of joy.

The volunteers took to their work like true professionals, from carrying 25 kgs of steel sections on a moped to getting their best clothes stained with christmas paint colours and even standing on rickety ladders to put up the lights on the tree. There was nothing the youth of this church would say no to. 19th December 2015, D-day for the tree to be up and running. Work was in crunch mode. Around 90 wires had to be connected to the circuitry, 300 asparagus saplings had to be potted and put on the tree, the faulty LED strip of the star had to be reconnected.


Sleigh bells ring and  in  3 hours,  wires are stripped and connected. Plants were potted and placed and the star brightly lit up the top of the tree. All this done. Everyone jumps on the bus to go carolling at 9 sharp. What a bunch of troopers!


The response at the unveiling was heart warming, the little elves loved it 🙂 ecstatic even ! A few threw tantrums so they could linger a bit longer at the musical candy canes. The crowds gathered to watch the bright lights dance over the fresh life of the asparagus sapling plants they adopted, the tree drew in the community with its bright, warm and green allure.


THE Christmas tree was not about just making something beautiful and sparkly. It was about the spirit of christmas. Giving time, sharing joy, working, singing, a happy collective creating magic together.

Twas’ indeed a wonderful gesture by  the priests and the committee of the St. Gregorios Orthodox cathedral  who made this possible. Plus the support of the youth community, Mr. Thomas V.T., the Choir,  St. Mary’s Women’s League and Sunday School who helped fund this.  .

Sparkles of  smiles, music, cheer and a little a idea to nurture. That’s THE right kinda christmas. Have a merry one world.


Text & Photographs by Reuben Jacob 

Videos will be up soon.



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