MONTCLAIR, NJ, – When violist Peggy La Vake, flutist Laura Paparatto and two other local residents banded together to perform for patients at Mountainside Hospital in 1991, they unexpectedly started a holiday tradition that’s lasted a quarter century.  At 7p.m. on Tuesday, December 20, a quartet comprised of the two Cedar Grove residents, violinist Deidre Pasquarelli of West Caldwell and cellist Sheryl Reed of Bloomfield will spread some holiday cheer throughout the hospital for the 25th consecutive year.


“Music is a proven stress reliever and we’re pleased that these gifted performers share their time and talents to lift the spirits of our patients,” said John Fromhold, Chief Executive Officer of HackensackUMC Mountainside.  “We’re very fortunate to have caring neighbors who are sensitive to how difficult the holidays can be for those who are hospitalized and their loved ones.”


La Vake (a respiratory therapist at Hackensack Mountainside) and Paparatto are founding members of the group who’ve performed every year and Paparatto’s husband, Sam, has served as a stage hand from the outset.  Pasquarelli and Reed are in their eighth year and, over the course of a quarter century, other local performers have also participated.   In fact, this annual event has sometimes involved as many as six musicians and a former Mountainside RN turned professional vocalist, Carol Ericson, would sometimes sing with the group.

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Like physicians making their rounds or Santa on Christmas Eve, the quartet will make numerous stops. Starting at the hospital’s highest level, the Sixth Floor, they’ll play their way down to the Emergency Room on the Ground Level, brightening the evening for patients, their visitors and hospital staff.  “This quartet’s wonderful musical performances are illustrative of how volunteers with varied talents and skills make a difference at our community hospital,” Fromhold said. 


About HackensackUMC Mountainside


HackensackUMC Mountainside has been serving Montclair and its surrounding New Jersey communities since 1891. The hospital, part of the Hackensack Meridian Health network, provides patients immediate access to innovative and effective treatment alternatives at specialized centers within the hospital that focus on imaging, women’s health, cancer care, surgery, obesity, stroke and chronic kidney disease. HackensackUMC Mountainside is designated as a Primary Stroke Center by the NJ State Department of Health and Senior Services and is one of only a few community hospitals licensed by the State to perform emergency cardiac angioplasty. To learn more about HackensackUMC Mountainside visit