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Burr Ridge carolers spread the joy of Christmas

Burr Ridge United Church of Christ's Jeff Sundwall of Westchester plays piano as he and other members sing Christmas songs at Westmont Nursing and Rehab Center. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Westmont Nursing and Rehab Center resident Mary Klans sings along as Burr Ridge United Church of Christ members sing Christmas songs Dec. 22. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Burr Ridge United Church of Christ's Lee and Sandy Petsche  of Burr Ridge sing Christmas songs at Westmont Nursing and Rehab Center. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Burr Ridge United Church of Christ's pastor, the Rev. Gary Faleide, leads members of the church down the halls at Westmont Nursing and Rehab Center as they sing Christmas songs Dec. 22, 2013. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Eden Suda, Carle Miller and Brynn Kuhlman from Burr Ridge United Church of Christ sing Christmas songs at Westmont Nursing and Rehab Center Dec. 22, 2013. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media

Twinkling lights and candy canes are important parts of many holiday celebrations. But for Sandy and Lee Petsche of Burr Ridge, it just isn’t Christmas without caroling.

Each year in the days before Christmas the Petsches join with other members of Burr Ridge United Church of Christ to spread the joy of the season through song.

“It puts the spirit of Christ back into Christmas,” Sandy Petsche said.

The size of the caroling choir varies from year to year and includes people of all ages and singing ability.

“It doesn’t matter if you have the best singing voice in the world. It matters that you care,” Petsche said.

In years past the singers have visited area nursing homes, King Bruwaert House and local hospitals. This year the carolers visited the homes of several church members Dec. 22 before making their way to the Westmont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to share the sounds of the season with its residents. Petsche said it is not uncommon for people whose memories have been compromised by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease to remember the words of the carols they sing.

“Music seems to reach through,” she said.

Pastor Gary Faleide said those on the receiving end of the carols are always grateful. Some invite the singers in from the cold and even offer them treats in exchange for their musical greetings.

“It’s a wonderful gift,” Petsche said. “And all it costs is time.”

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