I'd like to do a musical light show for my Christmas display next year on a strict budget
Most light shows, the really cool ones anyway, don't use color organs. All a color organ does is energize a circuit based on the frequency of sound. Typically there is a low, a mid and a high circuit. That's neat to flash a few lights, but if you want a real show, you're going to need some computing power. This controller is under $40.00 and only requires the most basic electronics skill and knowledge. It comes with software that you will have to manually program for each song. It's easy to use and requires no real "programming" experience. This will run on an old laptop or whatever you have lying around. Even an old XT class machine will run it and you should be able to get one of those for free by putting out a want ad on Craigslist. This will get you there cheap, but like most things, every once of cheap is going to cost you a pound of labor.
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Google "color organ". YOu can start out simple and expand from there.