Janice Kapp Perry
Janice Kapp Perry is a prolific composer and lyricist of inspirational music. Most of her compositions reflect her faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and her membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Although she was born into a musical family, she did not begin composing until she was nearly 40 years old. Sports were more important to her. She competed on many city league softball teams and regularly played volleyball and racquetball. At age 38, she broke her ankle playing basketball. At the same time, their television broke. She was asked to write original music for her ward’s roadshow. Since convalescing with the television was no longer an option, she agreed to the assignment.
Perry began entering and winning Church song-writing contests. She also began writing songs upon request. She hoped that someday children in The Church of Jesus Christ would sing her songs. Songs such as “Love Is Spoken Here,” “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus,” and “I Love to See the Temple” are among the most popular Primary songs. In 2013, LDS Living posted a “100 Greatest LDS Songs” list and “A Child’s Prayer” (Perry’s favorite) topped the list with seven others in the top thirty. Perry has been officially commissioned to write music by The Church of Jesus Christ, including penning “I Walk by Faith” for the Young Women organization. Her process always involves prayer, scripture study, pondering, and then writing. She has over 1300 songs and 50 albums to her credit.
Some of her songs have been written in response to personal tragedy. After her fifth and last child died shortly after birth, she wrote “Where Is Heaven?” After her left hand inexplicably became nonfunctional, she wrote “The Test.” (Read about Perry's years of trial and triumph because of this crippling problem here.)
Perry’s music is frequently selected and arranged for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The Perry family created a music engraving business, Prime Recordings, in response to the growth of her music. Her husband not only engraves music for her, he engraves for clients worldwide. In 2000 he challenged her to write 100 hymns. She now has 160 hymns published for home or choir use.
Perry and her cousin Joy Saunders Lundberg wrote a full-length musical and performed it 239 times over the span of three years. She has also collaborated with Utah Senator Orrin Hatch to write “Heal Our Land,” which was performed at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2001 and at President George W. Bush’s second inauguration.
Perry had a secret desire realized when she auditioned and was selected to sing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She sang for over five years and retired in 2000. During her years in the choir, she was able to sing some of her songs with the choir.
She served a full-time mission to Chile with her husband from 2002 to 2004.
She also had a remarkable experience when her niece, who was dying of cancer, asked her to set a poem written by President Gordon B. Hinckley to music. She received his permission to write music to “What Is This Thing That Men Call Death?” but did not receive a reply to her request to publish it. When he passed away she thought the song would never be published. He had signed the consent, however, two days before he died. She received his letter the day after his death, and the next day, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir asked for her permission to sing the song at his memorial service.
Perry and her husband are the parents of five children and were foster parents to many young adults. They live in Provo, Utah.