I'm a pretty level-headed person. Fame doesn't usually impress me and I rarely find myself tongue-tied. That was not the case today.
The Dog Walker takes a choir class at the Jordan Institute. I think I've mentioned it before. Earlier this week we got an email from his director saying that they had a special guest visiting the hymns class at 5:30 if he would like to come. That guest was Janice Kapp Perry.
When we first talked about it, I don't think the Dog Walker had a clue who she was, so I had him go get the hymn book and the children's songbook. I was pretty sure I had seen her name in both. We flipped to the author index of the hymn book first and discovered that she wrote the song, "Sisters in Zion," one of my very favorites!
The Dog Walker was still mostly unimpressed until we opened the children's songbook. Her name was in there about 10 times. As we started flipping to the listed page numbers, he started getting very excited to meet her! The first one listed was "Child's Prayer." Honestly, that would have been enough, but it just kept going. "Love is Spoken Here," "Army of Helaman," "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ," "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus," and "I Kneel to Pray" are all on the top of my list of favorite children's songs.
By then the Dog Walker was ready to hop in the shower and get down there as soon as possible, but first he asked the hard question, "Mom? Do you want to go with me?" Wednesdays are tough for me. My three teenage girls have Young Women's activities, so that left Sport as the babysitter. I immediately declined and headed for the craft room to put in another batch of laundry.
It took me about 30 seconds to change my mind and I switched directions and headed for the stairs to change my clothes. Janice Kapp Perry has always been one of my favorites since I first discovered her work in high school when I was looking for a song to sing at my brother's mission farewell. "In The Hollow of thy Hand" fit the bill. I just love that song!
She also wrote "Where is Heaven?" the song 5-year-old Bossy and I sang at my grandpa's funeral and I'm pretty sure again at my FIL's funeral three weeks later. Let's just say that her music was a huge part of my formative years.
We drove separately so I could leave before the Dog Walker settled down for choir. We arrived a little early and there were only a handful of people in this large classroom including Sister Perry and her husband. We watched a girl ask her for a picture and then the Dog Walker and I ventured up. She was kind and cordial and listened to my stammering with a smile. What an amazing lady!
After everyone was seated there were about 50 of us in the room. The Dog Walker was called upon to give the opening prayer (he did a great job!) and when she finished her remarks an hour and a half later I was not ready to leave. We sang with her! First a medley of her primary songs and then 4 beautiful new hymns she had written. Last of all, she and her husband led us in Sisters in Zion/Army of Helaman. It was perfect.
I'm so glad I went. The music soothed my soul and I was teary all the way home. I could practically reach out and touch the spirit in that room. It was just what my heart needed today.