sistersOur Background

I knew from the beginning that my little sister Ann was a musical genius, having been blessed with perfect pitch, a photographic memory, an insatiable desire to practice the piano and abundant natural talent and confidence. While she practiced away each day in our modest farm house, I was more likely to be found practicing my softball pitching technique out by our old red barn where my brother Jack had mounted a car tire whose center was the “strike zone” I aimed for with each pitch.

I liked playing piano too but usually practiced just long enough to fulfill Mother’s minimum requirement. I was our ward’s Primary pianist for five years before leaving to attend BYU, and I knew just enough about the organ to be a fair ward organist. This pretty much fulfilled my keyboard goals.

Ann, who was seven years younger than I, studied under professional teachers and gave recitals and concerts at an early age, receiving many well-deserved accolades for her performances. Mother kept me well-informed about her musical triumphs while I was at BYU studying music theory and composition, playing in the Concert Band, and progressing in my Music Education major.

My favorite classes included composing different genres of songs, and I would send my compositions home for Ann to learn. One was a jazzy piece called “Campus Blues”; another was a raggy tune called “Rag-Net,” a takeoff on the popular TV show Dragnet and our nickname for Ann, “Nettie” (her full name is Annette). It was fun for me to hear her play them with such a flare when I came home for Christmas.

For my second year of music theory our assignment was to write a more serious, classical piece for the final. As I wrote my composition, “Nocturne,” I began to realize for the first time that my interest in music was more in the area of composing. As I completed the piece I couldn’t wait to send it off to Ann. The piece was a bit more difficult than I could play well, so I asked my friend Delma to play it for the final, and then I sent it home for Ann to learn.

Our Paths Diverge

After my sophomore year at BYU, I married Douglas Perry, and his military years took us to different places in the U.S. and Japan and eventually back to BYU (where he completed his degree), and then to Indiana to graduate school for many years.

Ann also came to BYU to pursue her musical interests, especially with the A Cappella Choir and Concert Band (trombone). She married Thayne Andersen and they lived briefly in Provo/SLC before departing to parts north — Alaska. There she graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and eventually her M.A. degree in Conducting with a Show Music emphasis. She was also Music Director and Conductor for ten shows produced by the Fairbanks Light Opera Theatre, as well as accompanist for 25 of their shows.

During these years I was discovering my love for composing and adding to the simple music of the Church, writing for Primary children, Young Women, and Relief Society, and seeing my music “hobby” unexpectedly turn into a successful family business that generated just enough income for us to write, record and distribute our music to the members of the Church. It was a very happy and productive time for both Ann and me.

A Special Recital

Ann returned from Alaska in 1989 to spend time with the family and to give a special piano recital in our mother’s Utah ward. It was an amazing evening as we saw Ann’s talents on full display. She played many different styles of music and entertained us royally I wondered what was coming when I saw on her printed program: “Three early pieces by a well-known composer.”

Imagine my utter surprise and joy when she stepped to the piano and played the three pieces I had sent home to her from BYU thirty-three years earlier — “Campus Blues,” “Rag-Net,” and “Nocturne.”  I could not hold back the tears. And she still had them memorized!  In 2003, she returned to our Vale, Oregon, home, where she repeated these three pieces on a program there.

Missing My Sister

Because Ann was only eleven years old when I left home, and because she lived in Alaska for twenty-six years, in Germany for four years, and in Belgium for three years, I had hardly known her as an adult even though I followed her considerable accomplishments through her letters home. I knew that she had directed a marvelous production of “Promised Valley” in Germany, had regularly accompanied opera singers in the countries where she lived, and had many piano students in Belgium. That was pretty good evidence that she was a grown up lady now, and I often found myself wishing that she lived closer so we could spend time together as adults.

During her away-years, Ann also distinguished herself as an accomplished composer of all different kinds of music — some indigenous to Alaska, some classical, many beautiful choral pieces, just anything you could name. On her trips home she would sit at my studio piano and create wonderful on-the-spot improvisations of hymns, love songs, or whatever we asked for. I loved these sessions and always marveled at her incredible abilities. We often talked about collaborating on some project together but could never quite decide on the right project.

Good News

A few years ago I received the wonderful news that Ann and her husband were going to be returning to the U.S. as he retired as a social worker and their new home would be in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. I wished it could have been Provo, Utah, but still Lava was oh-so-much closer than Alaska, Germany or Belgium.

Not long after they were settled in, Ann came to Provo and recorded two easy-listening albums of her piano music, one titled “Relaxin’ at Lava Hot Springs,” a combination of love songs, show tunes and pop tunes; the other titled “Worshipful Piano Music,” her improvisations of fifteen favorite hymns.

And when I say “improvisations,” I mean she improvised them right there in the studio, complete with many exquisite modulations that add so much to the beauty of the arrangements. I never quite get over the awe I always feel when I hear her play. These albums spawned a great idea for a future project.

Finding the Perfect Collaboration

Our son John, who manages our music business, had the idea first, and he was thinking big.

Why not take the favorites of my songs and record a twelve-volume CD set of those songs arranged and performed by my sister Ann?

I loved the idea immediately and it only remained to convince Ann herself since she would be the one doing all of the creative work. She was interested, so we divided the songs into twelve groups, gave her the first two lists, and she began.

We had thought she would just play on-the-spot arrangements, but she had other ideas — she wanted these arrangements to be well-thought-out and especially beautiful since it would be a legacy for both of us. And if she wrote the arrangements down, then others would be able to enjoy playing them too.

Ann wrote her solos out by hand, her husband Thayne engraved them in Sibelius format, my husband Doug edited and formatted them as he received them, and John designed beautiful artwork for them. Volumes I and II were recorded and released in 2009, Volume III and IV in 2010, and Volumes V and VI in 2011.

We’re halfway to our goal of a 12-CD set, and it has truly been a project of the heart for all of us. If you’d like to hear a few of her solos, you may click on them below and let the lyrics pass through your mind as you listen. Lyrics may not always match the solos perfectly, as Ann took some delightful liberties with the solos, but you will feel the message of the songs.

Listen to the song here. “Jesus Was No Ordinary Man” 


Jesus Was No ordinary Man (Vol. V)

Jesus was no ordinary man.
But there was some who did not understand.
They saw Him working miracles
But some were still deceived.
Why did they not believe?

When with few loaves and fishes
The multitudes were fed;
When He showed them His power to heal
And even raised the dead;
When He walked upon the water
And He calmed the raging sea,
Why did they not believe?

Jesus was no ordinary man
But there were some who did not understand.
They saw Him working miracles
But some were still deceived.
Why did they not believe?
When His faith filled the fishnets,
Gave sight unto the blind;
When they saw at His bidding
Even water turned to wine;
When He offered all He had to them
If they would but receive,
Why did they not believe?

Jesus was no ordinary man
The pow’r to bless and heal was in His hands.
They saw Him cleanse the leper,
They saw Him heal the lame;
They must have sensed divinity
And known from whence He came,
But understanding not His cause,
They crucified the Son of God,
And even then they did not understand
That Jesus was no ordinary man.

Listen to the song here.  “Jesus Love is Like a River” 

Like a River (Vol. I)

Jesus’ love is like a river
Flowing gently through my soul,
And the grace that it delivers
Makes me peaceful, makes me whole.
For everything grows where the water goes
And everything lives where the water flows
Jesus’ love is like a river
Flowing gently through my soul

Jesus’ love is like the sunshine
Falling softly on my face
And it warms me like a fire
Bringing comfort, bringing peace.
For everything grows where the sunlight goes
And everything’s green where the sunlight goes.
Jesus’ love is like the sunshine
Falling softly on my face.

Jesus’ love is like a lighthouse
When the storms of life appear,
Like a beacon in the distance–
Always steady, always clear.
And those who will go where the lighthouse glows
Are warmed by His spirit and find repose.
Jesus’ love is like a lighthouse
When the storms of life appear

Jesus’ love is like a river,
Like the sunshine on my face,
Jesus’ love is like a lighthouse
Leading to His peaceful place.

Listen to the song here.  “Holding Hands Around the World” 

Holding Hands Around the World (Vol. II)

There are children singing all around the world,

Happy voices ringing out the joyful word,

We are children glowing with the gospel light,
Standing tall, walking strong, choosing right.
There are children leading out in every land
Who believe in keeping all the Lord’s commands.
Like the Stripling Warriors they go forth in faith
For they know that the Lord is their strength.


We are children holding hands around the world,
Like an army with the gospel flag unfurled
We are led by His light and we love truth and light,
We are building the Kingdom of God!

There are children sharing all around the world,
Leading other children to the gospel fold.
With the strength of youth we do the Father’s work,
With our hearts and our hands we will serve.
We are cov’nant children with a gift to give.
We will teach the gospel by the way we live.
With each word and action we will testify
We believe and we serve Jesus Christ.

(repeat chorus)

Listen to the song here. “An Early Goodbye” 

An Early Goodbye (Vol. V)

There is pain in an early goodbye,
There are so many dreams you must set aside;
So many memories to cause you pain,
So many plans to change.
There is pain in an early goodbye,
There are so many times when you question why;
So many feelings you must deny,
So many tears to cry.

    There are so many things that I wanted to say,
    So many reasons I hoped you could stay.
    I loved you completely, I have no regrets
    But I just wasn’t ready yet.

So I’ll cry a little bit, and I’ll die a little bit,
And I’ll try with all my heart to make some sense of it.
And there’s only one power to lean upon,
There’s only one reason that I can go on:

I believe in the wisdom of God.
He ruleth the seasons, He fails us not.
This kind of sorrow He too has known,
I do not walk alone.
There is nothing and no one to blame,
And there’s no use in thinking what might have been.
I would have kept you through life’s short span,
But God had a different plan.

    So I’ll pray for the day when the sorrow will cease,
    Pray for the day when I know perfect peace.
    I’ll find the courage to make it somehow
    But I’m feeling so lonely now.

So I’ll cry a little bit, then I’ll try a little bit,
And I’ll trust in God above to make some sense of it.
Then my eye will be single to one bright star:
To live my life worthy to be where you are.

But today it’s not easy, today I’m may cry,
So if you see a tear in my eye,
It’s the pain of an early goodbye.

Ann is already beginning to write the arrangements for Volumes VII and VIII, and will continue on until we reach of goal of a 12-CD set. Some mornings when I am not composing I just fill my CD changer with these six CDs and let them play all day long, enjoying her “soothing sounds” as background for whatever else I am doing in my life. We hope you’ll want to give them a listen too.

For you performers out there, the discs include the piano solo print music in pdf format.


Soft Sounds For a Soothing Sunday Vols I-VI are available here on

Each volume sells for just $11.98 and includes 12 piano solos PLUS all the piano solo arrangements in pdf format.

Janice Kapp Perry:  composer, author, lecturer