Jack Kapanka

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A few weeks ago, I wrote two posts about a website I was working on for a new friend. Neither of those posts is really germane to this one, but for reference, they were here and here. Those were techie posts, this is not, other than repeating how we came to discover Jack Kapanka in the first place. Sometime later this week (could even be today, who knows), I’ll complete the techie part about the site as well.

Regular readers of this space know that our goddaughter got married on July 5th, 2008. Prior to that wonderful event, the father-of-the-bride emailed Lois with a link to a father-daughter dance song that he was considering for the wedding. For whatever reason, the link was broken and Lois couldn’t find the song.

Instead, she Googled the name of the song, Angel In My Arms, and found a YouTube video of the song. Lois didn’t realize it was a different song, by a different artist, with the same song title! She fell in love with the song immediately, and wrote back our friend telling him so. After another back-and-forth, they realized that they were talking about different songs.

Lois decided to buy two copies of Jack’s CD (which includes Angel In My Arms on it), so that our friend would have a copy for the wedding, should he decide to use the version we fell in love with. The only problem was that Jack’s website was a little broken, and Lois had trouble placing the order. After hunting around a lot more than she should have needed to, she found a valid email address and wrote that she was unable to order the CD.

Jack himself answered the email, and Lois and he conducted the sale directly, and a few days later we had the two CDs in our hands. It turns out that the rest of the CD is fantastic as well, so it was a real treat given that we had only heard one song before ordering it.

You can read Jack’s bio for yourself, where you will learn that he’s already had one helluva ride through life. For example, he was born blind, and miraculously regained sight in one eye at the age of two! What’s important about Jack’s life isn’t any sadness or pain that he might have endured, it’s that it has given him a perspective and a voice that come through in all of his incredibly moving songs.

Jack jokes that he can write a jingle about almost anything, quicker than most. Not only do I believe him, but I’ve heard a number of them that will likely never see the light of day, so I know it to be true for a fact. He empathizes with everyone he meets, and captures the deepest meanings of any moment that he writes about. Yet, he does it in the plainest language, that we can all appreciate and understand, placing us in that moment as well.

In addition to being an amazing songwriter, he also has a heart of gold. Jack has written (and performed) theme songs for a number of wonderful organizations, including (but certainly not limited to!) the Special Olympics, Military Veterans and Freedom Ride.

Finally, he has a wonderful voice. All of the songs on the CD feature him singing lead, and we can listen to his voice all day long. Still, even though he is an excellent performer (he sang in front of 70,000 people at the 2002 Citrus Bowl!), he’s first and foremost a wonderful songwriter, who can tell very varied stories while extracting the core lessons we can all share from those stories.

Once we got a taste of his CD we continued to correspond with Jack and have since become good friends. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting him as well and verifying his qualities and talents face-to-face. As a result, I undertook to fix his broken website. After simply fixing the broken links, I then added a PayPal button making it easy to order his CD (so, go there now, and order the CD, no delaying!).

However, both Lois and I still didn’t like the ancient design (and I couldn’t stand the code), so I redid the site from scratch (which will be the subject of another post). This site has significantly less content than the previous one (so far), but it should be easier to navigate, order the CD, and build from here (which we fully intend to do). You can listen to 30-60 second clips of 13 songs (he actually has enough material for another CD waiting in the wings!). You can read the lyrics to those songs, read the stories behind seven of them, and watch six videos (full sound tracks) as well, all at this link.

The new site launched on Halloween, so it’s still fresh, and possibly contains problems that I am as yet unaware of. Feel free to leave me feedback in a comment to this post, or contact me directly if you find a problem, or have a suggestion for improving it that won’t be beyond my meager technical skills.

We are lucky to know Jack, and now the rest of you are lucky to be able to discover Jack’s gift for yourselves.