Site updated 09/29/15 09:46 AM   Upper Dauphin Sentinel ©2006

Local News | Local Sports | Features | Local Events | Obituaries
Classified | Auctions | Subscribe  | Advertise | Guidelines
Lifestyle Forms | Contact Us  | Government Officials

Pirjo Mace's goal when singing is to help create sense of peace, comfort

In addition to her vocal music abilities, Pirjo Mace is proficient on piano, accordion and several other instruments. (Photo courtesy of Pirjo Mace)

(Editor’s Note: The Sentinel’s ongoing series on artists continues with Pirjo Mace, a local music instructor and popular soloist in the region.)

One thing Pirjo Mace knew as she was growing up was that music would be a big part of her life.

“My first real knowing was when I heard my first opera on PBS. Beverly Sills was singing, and I fell in love with her voice,’’ she said.

But her love for music goes much deeper than just getting in front of people and performing.

“I listen to all kinds of music, and that good feeling that it gives me, I like to pass that on as I perform for others,’’ she added.

Pirjo (pronouned Peer-yo) Mace is a graduate of Line Mountain High School and Susquehanna University, where she earned a degree in vocal performance. She began taking piano lessons at age 5, and over the years she progressed into learning other instruments – organ, accordion, saxophone, guitar and flute.

Since the age of 15, she's been playing the organ for her church, David’s UCC in Hebe. And she began voice lessons at 13 years of age.

Mace soon discovered that she enjoyed singing the most. The summers before her junior and senior years in high school she attended Susquehanna University’s music camp.

“That is when I became serious about pursuing music in college,’’ she said.

This past year, she sang the National Anthem at the Cherry Blossom Festival, and she sang for the Millersburg Memorial Day Ceremony and for a “Relay for Life” fundraiser at the Lutheran Church in Killinger. She also has an event scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 4, when she’ll be part of an “Afternoon of Music” at Zion Church in Herndon.

“Singing in front of an audience can be intimidating at times because all eyes are on me. My fear is forgetting the words or my voice giving out on me,” Mace admitted.

When she chose music as a career, she initially wanted to be a teacher. She’s been teaching private music lessons since she was 16. She chose the course to vocal performance knowing that she could continue to teach private lessons to students who had the same interest in music and shared the same passion she has.

“What I enjoy most about music is the variety it offers from instruments to vocal. The solo voice as well as the harmonies. I like the technical aspect of it--how the musical lines are written, the complexity of the layers, and how those layers make the music sound the way it does. Each voice has its own place of importance,” Mace said.

“Another thing I like about music is how it can take a person to a certain place and time and stir emotions from past and present life experiences. Each song tells its own story and people can relate to that in their own way.

Music can emit so many emotions no matter what genre. When I perform, my goal is to help people get to that place and time and bring back those feel-good memories or help them create a sense of peace and comfort in difficult situations,” she added.

Starting her senior year in college, Mace worked at Haines Music in Sunbury and continued there for 10 years. She thoroughly enjoyed working with other private music instructors as well as school music directors. She taught lessons there and continues to teach lessons at a music studio in Hebe, which is managed by Mace and her mother, Carol.

She has been the music director at Neidig Memorial UMC in Oberlin for 12 years. She directs the adult choir there and she’s happy about the new Allen digital organ she gets to play.

Richard Singer, who serves on the church’s Board of Trustees, was one of the people responsible for hiring Mace as choir director. Singer also is in the choir, so he’s gotten to know her quite well.

“She’s a fine director, and a fine organist and piano player. She has a lot of knowledge. And she’s also a very nice person. I hope she never leaves,” Singer said.

Mace is the current director of activities at Spring Creek Rehabilitation in Harrisburg, where she and her staff plan fun things to do for the residents.

“I make sure music plays an active role in the life of our community there, whether it be listening to different kinds of music during coffee socials and sing-a-longs or during resident praise team, resident choir, or kitchen band. I let the residents decide what they want to sing or do. I’m lucky to work in a place where I can use what I have learned musically to bring joy to the residents,” she said.

Mace learned to play accordion at an early age and never thought she would use it again until she started working in long-term care.

“The residents love it, and I have fun playing for them,’’ she said. ‘‘When I get to perform and make people feel good, that makes me satisfied in knowing that this was the right path for me to take.”

Her musical path has led her to the support of many different people over the years.

“In college my professors pushed me to be the best I could be. I am grateful every day for those who encouraged me on this journey.”

Other teachers encouraged her along the way as she learned each instrument – Judy White, Terry Shaffner, Lois Bordner and Joe Bartello.

But Mace believes the most important encouragement came from her mother. Pirjo and her older siblings were adopted from Canada when she was 5.

“We were adopted into a family where God and music was the core of our being as we grew up,” Mace said.

Her mother, a piano teacher, taught a 5-year-p;d Pirjo how to play.

“Her encouragement from a young age drove me to learn whatever I could to pursue some type of career in music,” Mace said.

According to Carol Mace, her daughter had a natural talent for music as a child. And two siblings – a sister, Debbie, and a brother, Terry – shared the same interest and talent. Because her children had a strong desire to learn, she gave them every opportunity to pursue music:

 “Music has helped them to grow and it gave them confidence in themselves,” she explained.

Pirjo Mace believes music has the power to affect people in many ways. No matter what the occasion, it can create a sense of community among people of so many different walks of life.

“That moment in time when everyone has joined together, they are all there for the same reason, but the music moves everyone in their own way. That feeling is like no other.”


  510 Union St., Millersburg, PA 

Your Christian book distributor for the Upper Dauphin Area.
Phone 717-692-3253 

Advertising - Strategic Marketing
Market Research - Media Relations
Public Relations - Event Planning
Media Buying - Branding
Concepting - Graphic Design
Crisis Communication Planning
Copywriting and Editing
Media Production

Contact us today for your free consultation.

     Local: 717.692.5262  Fax: 717.692.2420
     1.800.959.2715 ext. 120
                        510 Union St.
                        P.O. Box 250
                   Millersburg, PA 17061