Peter Jarjisian, New Chancel Choir Director

By Linda Fronk, Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC)

Thursday, September 23, from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. the Grace UMC Chancel Choir will be rehearsing with their new Choral Director, Peter Jarjisian (pronounced Jar-JIH-see-an). His bright green eyes fairly danced over his black COVID face mask as he related to me the joy he feels when directing a choral group. I asked him what he likes best about bringing people together in a choir setting. He said, “You get to do things making music together that you can’t do by yourself.” As a child, he loved baseball and the team aspect of the sport. He feels that same team effort when bringing a choir together and drawing the best out of their efforts.

Peter has a long history as a high school teacher, then as professor of music at Ohio University, Athens, OH, where he taught Choral Conducting and Literature of Choral Music and directed many choral groups from 1984-2015.  During that period and since, he has been Director of Music at three churches and sang tenor with a fourth.
Peter and his wife, Judy Piercy, moved to our area to be closer to her family. He was a bit reluctant to move fearing he might not find the right opportunity to use his musical skills. Then came the fateful day when he and Judy were going to get their driver’s licenses. They passed a church called Grace United Methodist of Joliet. When he looked it up on the web, he also found Grace United Methodist Church of Naperville!  Right there on our web page, he discovered our need for a Choral Director.

Peter told me that at their church in Athens their pastor referred to such occurrences as “thin place moments.” Meaning - a place where one can see and feel God closely at work in your life.

Peter called our church for information and was impressed with Joan’s friendly, warm welcome. When he and Judy attended a service, they were impressed with Pastor Cindy’s positive, thoughtful message. They liked the people they met and the design of the Sanctuary. He submitted his resume….and the rest, as they say, is history.

As well as enjoying music and baseball, I found out that Peter is a golfer.

If you want to be part of a team, would like a wonderful ministry and have some musical skills, then Peter would like to hear from you.  

Peter says that the choir will be singing a variety of sacred music, works by masters like Bach, Handel and Mozart, and those by outstanding living composers like Dan Forrest, Howard Helvey, Craig Courtney, and Stacey V. Gibbs.

COVID complications may still be with us, but Peter and the Chancel Choir will be faithfully doing their part to send our spirits soaring.