Community and friends honor well-loved pirate

Graci Escobar

The name Jacob Wright probably won’t ring any bells, but Pirate Jake might. You may recognize him as the cofounder of the children’s band The Mighty Magic Pants, with former Union College professor Mike Mennard.

A few days before the school year began, Wright suddenly passed away at the age of 33, leaving a hole in his band and his community. An avid drummer at his church, Jake wasn’t always quite the lovable pirate we knew him as.Mennard had known him for about 12 years, and reminisced about meeting Jake for the first time.

“He arrived at our church, New Creation, and he was the scariest-looking person I had ever seen. He was big, had big tattoos, and the biggest mohawk ever,”Mennard recalled.

Once realizing Jake’s skill with drums, Mennard asked him to help out with an upcoming children’s show. He agreed and the lovable scallywag, Pirate Jake, was born. They performed over 1,200 shows together—as a duet, the Prairie Pirates, the Nardheads and most recently, The Mighty Magic Pants.

Bringing smiles and laughter to children and their families was always the goal, and he will be missed by friends and fans alike.

In a  local news Channel 8 KLKN interview, McKayla Coppock, a fourth-grader, said, "He had this thing about him that really seemed like he was a pirate, but one that you'd want to hang around, not run away from.”

"I miss Pirate Jake. So much,” commented Johanna Halfhill, another young fan.

On August 23rd, the Mighty Magic Pants held a concert at Haymarket in Jake’s honor, encouraging everyone to dress as pirate and help celebrate the unique life of this beloved man.

And, as some of us remember, last semester Mennard and Wright performed their original song, “Someone Ate My Haystack” at a V2, the same night as their CD release concert. It was a fun night, filled with laughter and song.

Mennard hopes everyone will remember Jake for this memory. While he may not be here to beat the drums, his heart lives on in his wife of two years, Marissa, and in their church family at New Creation Church.

“When I first met him, he was practically homeless. No, he was homeless. But few people have gone from struggling to making a huge impact like he did. He is an inspiration and I will make sure people remember him,” said Mennard.

To assist his family with medical expenses you can donate here:

Graci is a junior studying english.