Create A Song!

Thank you for your interest in creating a song for the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, we’re excited to see your masterpiece! These instructions will go over some very important details about programming the fountain so please read the entire instructions. Failure to do so could end up in a rejected program.

Song Choice
While choosing the song you’d like to program for the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, there are multiple factors to take into consideration:

It is strongly encouraged for users to submit the desired song(s) to the committee for approval before programming the song. The Grand Haven Musical Fountain committee must approve all songs before being played on the fountain. Submitting your song to be approved before programming it can save a lot of time, especially if the song is not approved. Songs will be returned with an approval or denial within 48 hours (M-F) of the submission. When submitting your song selections, please include a link to the audio (YouTube, Vimeo, DropBox, etc.) as well as a link to the lyrics.

For beginner programmers, it is best to start out with single songs only instead of full length themed shows. Themed shows are extremely challenging to produce and program and are made by experienced programmers only. If you wish to make a themed show in the future, please contact us to discuss further.

Once you are completed with your song, you’ll need to submit the finished product to our production team for review. When our team reviews your program, they’ll be looking for good movement in lighting and water, timing accuracy and overall quality of the program. We understand that some programmers may not be very experienced and that’s okay! If we find that the program is not ready to be played publicly, we’ll send you a list of revisions to make so it can be played.

To get the files to us, it’s best to upload everything to DropBox. DropBox has a free level of their service so it will be at no cost to you. Please create a file in the drop box account titled with your first and last name and then “Programs.” For example, “John Smith Programs”. Once uploaded, either send us a link or share the folder with us at

Testing songs takes place whenever our volunteers have the time to review it. Please be patient with us, it may take a few weeks to get the songs tested since the songs have to be tested on the fountain.

Programming A Song

Once you have a song that is approved, it’s time to start programming. Before you program, please watch the tutorial video of the software. That video can be found at Here are some tips/reminders to keep in mind while programming in the software:

  • Version 1.51 of the software was created in 2016. In late 2017, two new water features were added to the fountain. With those additions, it was decided to remove Ring 2 from operation. With the addition of the new features and the removal of Ring 2, there is no longer a need to program Ring 2 in the software-in fact it just flat out doesn’t work on the fountain anymore. So do not program Ring 2.
  • Lighting movements are instant and will replicate the speed that the software shows. The colors however, are not going to be 100% accurate, but yet just a rough idea of what the colors will look like.
  • Water movements are not instant. Plan on each water movement taking at least 1 second for the water to go up into the air (Turn on water feature 1 second before you actually want it to appear). The Helix function (if applicable in the software at the time) takes a 5 second lead time to go up and 10 seconds to turn off. Please keep in mind that you’re programming a 50+ year old fountain which means it moves a little slow. Keep in mind that water takes a second to start going up and a second to stop the stream which means at the very minimum, water effects have to stay up for at least 2 seconds to be effective.
  • The shape of the water in the simulator is for reference only and will not look exactly like what it does in the simulation.
  • Less is more; The more water you put up, the more “blurry” it becomes with the mist of the water. It’s always good to change the water up-and often-but make sure not to have too many features on at one time.
  • Keep it moving! Constantly change the light and water features and movement. If you leave a scene of water up for too long, it can get boring and look stagnant. Same goes for the lights, if you do not constantly change the lighting, it gets boring. Remember to do more than just turn all of the lights to the same color, mix it up by making the lights chase, flash, fade, crossfade, etc.
  • Sweeps: The sweep movements are used for reference only, same with the colors and water shapes. The speeds are not the exact same and will not stick to the beat.
  • Shortcuts: There are some awesome shortcuts built into the software that will speed up your programming time:
    • Hold down the shift key while clicking and dragging in the timeline to select a large area
    • Command or Control C for copy
    • Command or Control V for paste
    • Command or Control X for cut
    • Command or Control S for save
    • S key to start/stop
    • D key to delete
    • F key to fade up
    • G key to fade down
    • X key to crossfade

Audio Processing

  • The fountain software will only accept 16 bit .wav files. In order to convert the song, use an online convertor or use Audacity (or similar program) to convert the audio file
  • Insert a 1 second delay at the beginning of your song. When we process the audio on our end, we need to chop off .48 seconds of audio at the beginning of the track to compensate for the delay for the sound to reach the audience almost a quarter mile away. We don’t want to chop off a part of your song!
  • Condense your file into a 2 track or single track mono file. The fountain sound system runs mono only and will not recognize stereo effects.

We look forward to seeing your work and are excited to have you as a part of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain! The work you will do will impact thousands of people who come to enjoy the fountain. If you have any questions, please email us at

*Use Notes: You may get a warning in your browser. We promise the file is fine to download!

This software is intended for use with Java major revision 8. Earlier or later versions may exhibit unintended or incorrect behavior. 

By use of this software, the user is unconditionally agreeing that choreographed songs created by this software and submitted for playback on the Grand Haven Musical Fountain become the sole property of the City of Grand Haven. This applies to both the .wav and .ctl files.