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Note From Carolyn:  I never dreamed that I’d get to meet and become acquainted with Janice Kapp Perry, the beloved Church composer and author. However, through Meridian Magazine, she has become my friend! Today’s article is based on my visits with her in her Utah home over the past five years, emails, and a phone interview last week.  She is as fun, friendly, kind and easy to talk to as a favorite member in your Ward. We’re all fascinated with her musical accomplishments and her life, but perhaps her most endearing characteristic for all to know about is how “one of us” she truly is.

Good news! There’s a new biography about her life – written by her cousin, author Joy Saunders Lundberg, coming out soon! Be sure to look for that here on Meridian Magazine!  I’ve included the link to all of Janice’s Meridian articles where you can read many more stories about her life.

Who wants to play the game “Name That Tune?” In case you don’t remember, the chosen player is asked if they can name a familiar tune in five notes or less.  Now if we played using only composer Janice Kapp Perry’s songs, we’d all (from the nursery’s youngest child to the oldest member of the Ward) be big time winners –probably needing only three notes or less to name that tune:

A Child’s Prayer: YES!
I Love To See The Temple:  YES!
Love Is Spoken Here:  YES!
I’m Trying To Be Like Jesus:  YES!
Armies of Helaman:  YES!
I Walk By Faith: YES!

We all know and dearly love these and many of her other songs! We could play the game for a very long time as she has written over 3,000 songs, over 320 hymns. a full-scale musical, plays and evening fireside musical programs.  I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that her touching, easy-to-learn-and-remember-songs are part of our international cultural identity for the entire Church. Along with the Del Parson painting of Christ in the red robe, the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints logo, the Tabernacle Choir and certain beloved LDS hymns, her songs are our songs!  After playing the game, it would be inspiring to hear about everyone’s favorite Janice Kapp Perry song and why.

Our family story? It will always make me cry when I think of the long-term effect of one little purchase. We bought the “A Child’s Prayer” cassette tape and piano songbook for our very young family in the late 80’s. It was so enjoyable that we played it 24-7 for years, including in the car and at bedtime. We had to replace the cassette tape a couple of times when it literally wore out as everyone learned and loved all the songs and could sing them at full throttle. Even my toddlers could have named every song and in two notes or less!

When our oldest son left on his mission in 2000, the four younger children sang the song “Who Will Teach The Gospel?” from this songbook at his farewell. As they got old enough, each eventually served their own missions. That little cassette tape and the songbook had a huge impact on their testimonies and lives!  They are all now fully living the gospel and happily raising their own families and serving in the Church.  I know that this music played a vital part. That well-worn song book is one of our family treasures, not for the book itself, but because of what it didon an eternal level for our family!  I know you have your tender stories to share as well.

But today is HER birthday and HER story!

The only thing missing from this special day is the presence of her husband, Doug, of 60 years who passed away just two months ago on July 7, 2018, from natural causes of aging and a long decline in health. Their 60thAnniversary would have been last Monday, September 24. 2018.  This birthday marks the beginning days of a new chapter for her life.  He was the wind beneath her wings from the very beginning. (You can still read their wonderful love story and history in her own words, published here at Meridian eight years ago.  The link is at the bottom of this article.)

Although I cannot and won’t tell her life story here, it has been a joy to read the advance copy of the new biography and have her reflect on in this article.

Love Is Spoken Here

Born from pioneer heritage on October 1, 1938, Janice was Jake and Ruth Kapp’s second child.  Deeply spiritual, her mother was a spunky, fun-loving pianist and a poet!  It is most fitting on Janice’s birthday to read the poem her mother wrote about this new baby daughter;  It’s also a genuine sneak preview of the writing talent Janice inherited:

For nine long months, each day we prayed
And waited, hoping, too —
That when it came, our sweet reward
Would be someone like you.

In the velvety softness of your cheeks,
The wonderment in your eyes,
In the perfectness of each small part
We find so much to prize.

So, welcome little stranger!
We bid you come and share
The happiness within our home,
For there is love to spare.

Indeed, there was love to spare in that remarkably happy and gospel-centered home.  It was to be the foundation for teaching millions about happy families and happy lives, both here and in the next life.  The words to the song “Love is Spoken Here” describe the home where Janice was raised.

Janice had a marvelous time growing up. Born in Ogden, Utah, her mother, father and siblings, along with two uncles, aunts and their families moved from Utah, each to their own little farms, in Vale, Oregon. She was a very small girl at the time and their house was very small also. That was of no matter for this family that loved to work hard andplay hard. The aunts, uncles and all the cousins lived on their own nearby farms, so everyone had built-in family and community. They were never without good times and support.

As a child I learned that the size of a house never matters,” she said to me.  “I wish people could see the size of the home I grew up in and see how little those things truly matter.  My mother called them cracker box bedrooms, because they were just about that size.  But we didn’t care or even notice! We had more fun! There was always something going on. Our mother was our greatest cheerleader from that one room that served as our living room, dining room, everything room!

My mother had a passion for the Book of Mormon and sharing it with her children. This was before all children carried their own scriptures.  She had a copy of “Book of Mormon Stories for Young Latter-day Saints” by Emma Marr Peterson.  She would read from that book and the stories would come alive with how she told them! I will always remember it. She testified and dramatized and we loved it!  I recently purchased a copy of this book on Amazon to read it again as an adult.  The memories of my mother reading it to us and her witness still sprang from every page.  I wrote a song called “I Love the Book of Mormon” and I truly do.

I hope my recently published “Book of Mormon Heroes” art and music book will inspire my grandchildren in the same way.”

While her mom may have at first wished for a daughter who adored ringlets and baby dolls, Janice was a born tomboy and terrific little athlete who preferred overalls and braids to dresses and curls. Her favorite, most remembered Christmas gift was when she received a much asked for “cowboy outfit and a football.’

But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! Ruth Kapp, Janice’s mother, was an extremely talented pianist who could play by ear, especially dance and popular music. The piano in their home was used many hours of every day for playing and teaching.  Janice was only two when she figured out how to play simple tunes by herself, one note/finger at a time. By four she was adding some chords in the left hand. And at six her mother started to teach her how to read music. She finished the first-grade piano book in three months!  Ruth was a great one for programs and musicals that she would write and have her family participate in for Ward and community events.

It was a great deal of fun and my love for music began with those programs!   The competitive roadshows and musical programs back in those days were a very big part of life for our family and Ward.  We spent time together practicing and performing.  We made lasting friendships and lifetime memories that will never be replaced.  It was such an important part of my life!

My father was equally dear.  There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for my mother! He wore his overalls all day to work in, but when he came home, he was all hers. He’d put on any costume and play any part in Mother’s musicals. He showed us all his love for her in his constant support.  He even became the drummer for our family band, although he’d never played the drums before.  She surprised him with a set of drums one afternoon and they performed as a family band the next night at a dance!”

(You can read more about the joy of music in her girlhood home in a link at the bottom of this article: “If  Pianos Could Talk.”)

School, Sports and Music

Her first love, however, that she will never deny was sports. From early childhood through her adult years in her 40’s, she loved to play ball and compete! Her brother Jack was four years older and a very good high school athlete.  He made his little sister Janice his pitching partner to practice as the school was quite far away. She practiced a lot on her own to pitch hard enough and fast enough to be good enough to challenge him.  Pitching to a tire mounted on the barn door for hours to perfect her throw, her dad’s only request was that she stop while he was milking as it disturbed the cows.

Yes, doing well in athletics and sports in high school was just as important, or more so, to me than my music during those years,”she says in the book.

Janice made important decisions early on based upon her parent’s teachings and attending Church. She wrote in her journal at about age 12 that she would always be obedient to her parents.  She had been taught how to pray and sought her own conversion to the Book of Mormon. This sweet and sensitive girl was often touched by the things she learned, observed and experienced at home, with her grandparents and at Church.

Her high school years were rich and rewarding, filled with sports and music, including playing all the instruments in the percussion section with her best friend from 3rdgrade to this day, Delma.  She even learned to play the tympani (kettle drums) for an exciting concert performance that she still remembers.  She dated a lot through high school and then was off to BYU to major in music.

She was a missionary from early on as well and responded promptly when the promptings of the Holy Ghost encouraged her to share the Gospel with a much admired High School P.E. teacher. It was the first time she had borne her testimony with a non-member, but the teacher was touched and was soon baptized, although she was an active Methodist at the time.   She even married a wonderful man from their Ward and has been an active member of the Church all these years.

It was at the start of her Sophomore year at BYU when Doug Perry, a newly returned missionary who served in France, showed up in several of her music classes at BYU. She was intrigued!  He was quite remote. He took her by great surprise, however, when at a music class where they were preparing to be tested on one of the instruments, he watched her softening her reed for her mouthpiece. He leaned over to her and quietly said, “Those lips were made for something better than playing the clarinet!”

And their love story began! They dated, then married the following Autumn in the Logan Temple, September 26, 1958, one week before her 20thbirthday.  It was a never-to-be forgotten perfect day that launched an eternal marriage of true love and devotion.

Doug had chosen to join the military rather than be drafted, so their first few years were spent as a military couple. Their first baby arrived within the first two years of marriage. Doug was stationed in Japan during the first year of baby Stevie’s life while Janice returned to Vale and spent time with her parents. Then it was back to BYU. After that it was off to Bloomington, Indiana for the little family as Doug studied to obtain an advanced degree in the Slavic languages at Indiana University

They had wanted eight children, but complications with the Rh blood incompatibilityfactor made that impossible and her pregnancies risky. Although much has been learned and it’s a much different story now, this was her reality in the early and mid-1960’s. Even so, they went ahead and had another son (Robb), a daughter (Lynne) and one more son (John) over the next several years – each warmly welcomed.  When their fifth child (Richard) lived but a few hours with complications from the Rh factor, they knew that there were to be no more babies. That time of great tenderness brought forth a deep understanding of our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan.

Throughout these early years they continued to do what all young families do in those years: their best! There wasn’t much money, so they continued to work every job available while Doug attended school. Janice both babysat and became an expert typist, working long into the evening in Indiana (where Doug was working on graduate degrees) typing papers for students and professors.

“I had accepted a job outside the home when we got to Indiana because we really needed the money.  In the end, I just couldn’t leave my little kids! I called and quit before I even started!  Instead I babysat for my neighbors and typed at night.  The housing was Army-style barracks, but truthfully, these were some of our happiest years.”

Her typing speed of 120 words per minute with very few errors is something that those of us in our sixties and older can remember and applaud!  She adds, “And please remember that this was before word processors, keyboards and multiple copies at the click of a button. I was often typing with four carbon copies.  There wasn’t time to make and correct lots of mistakes!”

She was an expert and supplemented their income for many years with this talent at USU and Provo.

As they continued to raise their family, they served in many, many Church callings. If there was not a sports program for the women going on, you could count on Janice to have some teams quickly formed and competing to ratchet up the friendship, fun and camaraderie in a Ward!  She loved playing ball of any kind.

Although there were many opportunities for musical programs for which she was glad to provide words and song, she never wanted to be in front of the audience.  Sports, however, were a very different story! She was always glad to be front and center in a great ball game.

When I asked her what her favorite team sports were, she said, “I loved them all! Volleyball, racquet ball, basketball …but my favorite? I would have to say fast-pitch softball. Those years and the practice with my brother really sharpened my abilities and passion for that.”

They eventually returned to Provo for employment for Doug and the desire to write music began calling her name.   It was time to find something easier and safer than competitive sports as she got into her 40’s.  She had written her first song in high school, “A Walk in God’s Garden” but there were always new melodies, rhythms and messages in her heart and mind. As she began to pay attention to this talent and her songs were used for Church and family events, she got brave and did some inquiring on higher levels about what it took to get songs used by the Church.

From Church headquarters she was told to “develop your talent within your family, ward and Stake.”  Which, rather than accepting as a polite “no thank-you,” she did! She went right to work creating roadshows and writing more songs to be performed at Church meetings and events.

This was the very early 80’s, and it is probably at this point that older members of the Church know her story and remember her songs starting to appear.

Always competitive, she entered those songs in the Church magazine song-writing contests and often won, something she does to this day!  When told that she would need to raise the money to start publishing her own music, without hesitation and like Nephi of old with an “I will go, I will do” attitude, she did!

Again like Nephi and other greats, however, her commitment and faith were to be truly tested.

She, who had played fast-pitch ball, musical instruments of all kinds and typed 120 words per minute, played the drums and cared for home and children for years, inexplicably lost the use of her left hand.  It became quite painful and she began composing the music in her head as she was writing the lyrics rather than at the piano. The situation was difficult and impossible to understand.

The next half of her life, although dedicated to her family, Church service and music, was also spent trying to find answers from doctors and Priesthood blessings that would relieve this condition.  But this challenge, like her Rh factor problem, was to provide even more depth and power for the songs and messages her future music would convey. It was at this time that she composed and wrote the comforting, beloved song “The Test.”

Didn’t He say He sent us to be tested?
Didn’t He say the way would not be sure?
But didn’t He say we could live with Him
Forever more, well and whole,
If we but patiently endure?
After the trial we would be blessed.
But this life is the test.

Even without complicated left-hand accompaniment,  her songs continued to be cherished!  When we talked about this she said, “I actually got letters from people saying how they loved to play my music because the left hand was so simple. For early-to-intermediate pianists, the left- hand bass clef is often quite difficult to read – so here was an unexpected blessing for those learning to play my songs!  In fact, that’s an important part of much of my music: it is not difficult to play or sing.”

Her prayers and faith were ever-more rewarded as the opportunities and deep and sincere regard for her songs grew and grew. Soon the Church and its special committees began calling for songs for their own programs and needs. Professional musicians were happy to work with her. Her own sense of mission was ignited and it was unstoppable. “I feel I came with some of my music in place from the other side.  It is a mission that I recognize and feel responsible for!”

The years passed with song after song. Program after program.  Her wonderful Doug and the family were right there in both emotionally supporting her and performing! Like her father, there was nothing that Doug wouldn’t do to support her.  He became the sound expert at their programs, managing equipment and building sets for musicals, driving trucks and doing behind the scenes work for their music publishing business and performances.

Early on there were, of course, many requests for the printed words and music. This became a priority and evolved into a thriving family business, that is busy to this day with her products in stores and at her website.  To have any kind of an understanding of all the music that was written and recorded during the next 40 years, you really have to go to her website, www.JaniceKappPerry.com where the recordings, songbooks and programs (both old and new) are readily available.

Members of the Church wanted to get acquainted with the darling, quiet woman and the family behind the songs.  She became a popular speaker, often traveling far distances to give firesides in the U.S. and some other countries.

I could never say no.  If they were singing my songs, I felt it was my mission to support and encourage them! I watch our General Authorities and their travel now with admiration and sympathy.  It’s very exhausting, but also very wonderful.”

She became a popular speaker at BYU-Education Weeks for years, often bringing her own gifted adult children and other musical artists to sing and play the piano.

As the years went by, she wrote a full-scale musical and traveled around the country, performing and speaking at Sunday evening firesides. After three years of touring the country with “It’s A Miracle” and other productions for missionary purposes, it was time to come home, but not time to stop. Other artists wanted to arrange and perform her music. Prominent people in the Church and Government wanted their special poems put to her music.  She was enthusiastic about collaborating with other lyricists, creating more music for the Church and the world to enjoy for holidays and sacred times.

Although she was very busy with her many music projects and collaborators, she was called to be the Relief Society President for her Provo, Utah Ward.  For a full five and a half years, her Ward knew her as both a busy professional musician anda down-to-earth friend who was there to help with Ward needs and service.

Then it was time for another new chapter! Though she did not consider herself a particularly strong vocalist, she auditioned and was selected to sing in the Tabernacle Choir!  She was released from her years of Relief Society service and began an incredible new experience that you can read about in her Meridian articles below. It’s a very fun view into what it’s like to be a member of the Choir.

No matter what was going on, however, her family was always FIRST!  At different times they supported 10 different foster sons, including a son for the old Indian Student Placement Program.

When her years at the Tabernacle Choir came to an end (as required at the age of 60) there was a new calling:  to serve a full-time mission with Doug in Chile! This became an exceptional time for experiencing life, the Gospel and full-time commitment as a married couple to the Lord’s work.  When they came home, they served as members of a Hispanic Branch where she taught piano to a rising generation of boys and girls.

Their own children grew, served missions and married. She and Doug became grandparents to 13 grandchildren and as of this article, 9 great-grandchildren! Where did all the years go?!

Just before her birthday, we talked about her family and she reminisced for a bit.

I asked her:

CA:  What was your favorite part of mothering?  Is there any age of child-development that you especially enjoyed? What are your children doing now?

JKP:  I had grown up in such a fun and loving home that I wanted very much to repeat it. Doug and I tried to do just that! We had a wonderful time raising our family. Dinnertime was especially fun.  All of the children and grandchildren and great-grands still enjoy getting together, often at my Provo home.  I’ve included one of our family’s favorite recipes, Cherry Nut Salad, for Meridian readers to enjoy. (It’s at the bottom of the article.)

For years we had a nearby cabin that we’d retreat to. That was a lot of fun for the family and I also wrote a lot of music there. Our family all still live in Utah County, so they’re not far.  They are each talented in their own right! They have direct connections to what they grew up with: composing music, writing and running the family publishing business.

Grandchildren of all ages are wonderful!  By the time our youngest grandchild was ten, I was missing having some babies and younger ones around, but pretty soon along came the next generation of great grandchildren. I especially enjoy babies and those littlest ones coming to visit me.

CA: How do you look back on your own mother? I’ve heard so much about her piano playing, I’d have loved to have heard and watched her.

JKP:  My mother was something! Barely over five feet, she was a powerful soul! There actually is an old recording of our family band, but I’m playing the drums instead of my Dad, who had passed away by then.  If you remember on the old Lawrence Welk TV Show, how his piano player JoAnn Castle, who was all over the keyboard with her popular music and sparkling personality?  That was my Mother at the piano.

She was a widow for over 20 years and made those 20 years a very happy and fulfilling time as a matter of choice; That was a great example for me on what women can do and be.

CA:  And now, with the passing of Doug, it’s your time. What are your days like?

JKP: Yes, and I’ll do as my mother did and stay busy! And choose to be happy. I miss him terribly. There are waves of sadness and it’s a very new experience for me.  I was his caregiver for a long time, and so my days have changed once again.

It’s all still very new. I have a walking partner that I meet each day at 7:00 a.m.  She’s waiting for me at the corner, so I get up and get going!  She has also just lost her husband a few months ago, so I’m grateful for someone that understands what I’m feeling.  It’s our daily therapy session.

I don’t play ball anymore, but I do exercise regularly.  You can’t store up physical fitness. You need to do it every day!

Truthfully, I have so many projects and ideas in my head! The music and music publishing industry is very different now than it was in our first 20 years, but that doesn’t mean there is not music that needs to be written and made available.  It’s still a mission for me!

CA:  You told me that as Doug’s health declined, he spent long hours watching Tabernacle Choir reruns.  That inspires me. How I hope that is what my own spirit will be yearning for in my last days and years … a bridge to heaven, it seems to me.

JKP:  That was very special. Caregiving is a unique experience.  I learned so much about patience, giving unconditional love and expressing love daily.

CA:  Where does your music come from?

JKP:  There are always rhythms and melodies going on in my head. They are in my subconscious, but when I sit down to listen for them, there they are!  Doug would often hold my hand and say, “What are you hearing today?” because my fingers were tapping some rhythms.

Of course, when I was asked to write songs for specific events or groups, it was a matter of scripture study, prayer and a desire for worthiness that I would be in tune and able to listen to the Spirit.  Next, that I would be able hear the song in my mind and get it down on paper so others could play and sing it.

CA:  You allowed me to look at an early copy of the biography that your cousin, Joy Saunders Lundberg, (also a Meridian columnist) has written.  It is amazing!  I know that Meridian readers and people throughout the Church will be fascinated with it.  It is incredibly detailed.  How did you remember everything?

JKP:  I’ve kept a daily journal throughout my life.  Joy relied on that plus letters, memories and other articles about my life. She’s my first cousin. I grew up with her and we’ve been together for so much of our lives that I trust her. We’ve also done many musical projects and written songs together.

CA:  When I was called several years ago to be our Ward’s Primary Chorister, I shared with you what a friend had told me:   She said: “Have you realized that the Primary chorister has more face time with the whole ward every Sunday than anyone in the entire ward, including the Bishop? Opening, closing, music time is spent with all the children and many of the adults. At least 20 minutes or more!  With more time, she has more influence!  Then you added me for me that you believe the Primary Chorister is the most important teacher in the Ward!

JKP:  That’s very true. The songs they learn in Primary carry the same message and information as a lesson, but in a much more memorable way. Music that is well taught goes deep into their hearts and STAYS for a lifetime.  We can never underestimate the power of music for everyone, but especially children.  If they start to stray as they get older, they will still remember the music and how they felt as they sang it! That is a huge responsibility for our Primary leaders and choristers to remember!

CA:  What do you think of the new hymnbook and the direction of music in the Church?

JKP: I’m excited about the new Hymn Book – new hymns for our days!  I’ve written 325 hymns so the problem is choosing which of my own five to enter.  Each of my collaborators (or their heirs) will be allowed to enter five also, so that helps.  It’s a huge project and I trust the inspiration of our leaders.

It was so interesting, when they were creating the Primary Children’s Songbook published in 1989, I was strongly impressed, as were some other Church composers, to write children’s songs. The Lord always knows what He’s doing! In the end, 10 of my songs were selected.  I feel very strongly about the power of the Lord to inspire the songs that are needed for the Church.

CA: Any other thoughts on music in the Church?

JKP: There’s a challenge today that can’t be ignored. There simply aren’t enough trained pianists and musicians in the Church. Our youth are NOT growing up with piano lessons and reading music as they have in past generations.

I observe that the youth are far too engaged with their electronic devices and “instant access” to spend the time and discipline required to learn how to play the piano.  Their parents are very busy too and it takes a lot of family support to acquire this skill.  Piano sales in the U.S. have plummeted during the last few decades.

CA:  I had an important conversation with a professional musician recently who believes that this lack of musical training in the Church will be one of the Adversary’s sharpest tools in the Latter Days:  Not enough excellent Church music, not enough piano music, and especially not enough music in the home is an easy place to compromise a family and the spirit there. Music is a powerful thing to invite the spirit and it cannot be duplicated in any other way. Especially in the home!   If he can rob us of this, he has robbed us of something very essential, even if we are still very active in the Church.

JKP:  Yes, this is a challenge for the Church, because we need people that can play the piano and are able to serve in this important way!  It’s too bad that many of our musical programs and plays are a thing of the past.  This was where my love for music began. They were so much fun and so rewarding!  I don’t know how you create those feelings and that experience with anything but music.  But I know the Church knows what they’re doing and I will continue to create and publish my music and hope it will be useful.

 CA: My own heart is so tender as I think of your Wedding Anniversary last Monday. I’m thinking about how young you were! Not even quite twenty years old!   It would have been wonderful if Doug could have made it to that special 60th Anniversary! Do you have any advice for young couples getting started as you did?

JKP: Well, Doug was a newly returned missionary when we met.  He had heard Elder Spencer W. Kimball say that marrying soon after a mission is wise. He also advised not to delay children, so we didn’t!  I still think that’s wise advice.

We decided on our Wedding Day that we would hold hands while we prayed together every night. And we did. We also made it a priority to say “I love you!”  My own father was truly so wonderful, but as a Dutchman, he showed his love in deed, not words. It’s nice to say the words often.

We watch young couples and I want them all to know that the size of your home does not matter at all.  Support each other in your callings and in all you do! Have fun and make lots of memories! Doug supported me as a Relief Society President and I was there for him when he served as a Bishop of a BYU Ward.

CA:  In the book, I learned of the health challenges you both experienced, along with of course, the long-term test of your left hand.

JKP:  Yes. For someone who could type 120 words per minute, and then not to be able to type at all for over 20 years, it has been quite challenging.  Until I lost the use of my hand, I kept my daily journal on the typewriter.  For 20 years, however, I did all my writing by longhand in a journal.

Several years ago I chanced to see a TV show where a therapist was teaching those with hand disabilities that prevented them from typing a whole new way to type. I stuck with it and eventually I came up with a whole new system that worked for me.  By bracing my left hand and typing with only one finger, and having my right hand pick up extra keys, I learned to type again after 20 years!  It looks very strange, but it works! Unfortunately, it does not help on the piano.

These difficult experiences, including others my family has had, are what life is all about. They were my inspiration for the song, “The Test,” that many other people have appreciated with their own tests. Without the tests, we would not have the lessons and the blessings that refine us.

CA:  Well said! Of all your happy years and chapters, are there any that you would like to repeat?  Kind of like “Emily” in that great scene from the play “Our Town?”

JKP: That’s a hard one, but I think I would have to say our time of full-time missionary service in Chile. There’s something very special that happens when you work daily with your husband or wife as a dedicated missionary couple!   Yes, I would gladly repeat many experiences, but especially that.

CA: We could chat and talk and I could write your thoughts and sweet stories forever, but there has to be a conclusion. 😊People will read your new book and re-read your other articles here at Meridian Magazine and be as enchanted and inspired with the details of your life as I am.

With your permission, on your 80th fabulous birthday, I’d like to conclude this article by saying that your beloved songs reflect you in an incredible way!  They are simple and unforgettable. They then become simply and eternally unforgettable as that beautiful, simple song turns into a personal testimony of unforgettably important things to think about, believe, do and prepare for.

And that’s how it is being with you in person and in reading about you and your life. You are so simple to and unforgettable to be with! In your peaceful nature and personality there is a marvelous simplicity that makes both daily life and eternal life sweeter and easier to understand. No wonder your family and friends love you so and you have become a popular speaker and author as well as a composer as we get to hear you speak and read what you write.

I have a feeling this beautiful simplicity and your welcoming and calm spirit will be experienced in a similar way when it’s time for us to meet our Savior.

From the bottom of my heart for myself and my family, and for Church members of all ages around the world, Thank you! For your music, and for just being you.


P.S. As a little bonus, Janice has provided her family’s favorite recipe for a delicious cherry nut salad!


1 large pkg cherry jello (or raspberry)
1 large can cherry pie filing (or raspberry)
1 small can crushed pineapple (with juice)
1 C. chopped pecans
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. creamed cheese
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Dissolve jello in 2 C. boiling water
Add nuts, pie filling and pineapple
Chill until set.
Cream the cheese, add sugar, beat well.
Add vanilla, beat well
Add sour cream gradually!
Spread mixture over jello.

Chill several hours


Janice has written many articles for Meridian Magazine!  CLICK HERE for her extensive archive

Quick links to things mentioned in this article:

Behind Every Woman” – Her tribute to her husband Doug
If Pianos Could Talk” – More about growing up and the little Kimball spinet used for all her composing
Thoughts From A Lifelong Choir Junkie” – Starting with her own family and all the way to MOTAB!

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine for 11 years,  providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999.  She has presented for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. CLICK HERE