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Meet the people behind the music
Rev. Karen Ann Bunner-Edwards
In the early 1970’s Karen Ann joined the Campus Crusades For Christ movement in South Florida when she was invited to a Bible Study group at a high school friend’s house. The bible study group grew and the lawn and picnic tables outside their high school cafeteria became the place where the group would gather daily at lunch to fellowship. They were a small part of the larger Jesus movement that was sweeping the country at that time.
While in her first year in college, Karen Ann discovered her vocal abilities and changed
majors from Theater Arts and Education to Music, particularly Vocal Performance.
She worked in local Civic Opera Companies, Opera Concert Societies, Community
Theatre, Regional Dinner Theater and supper clubs in South Florida for many years
before turning her talents towards God and Christian Music after recovering her voice
from a severe case of nodules that had developed and threatened to end her career as a vocalist. In 1991, after she regained her voice, she sang for the UFMCC SE District Conference where a mistake caused her to pick up a microphone that wasn’t working and she out-sang the sound system just before Rev. Troy Perry was about to preach. Rev. Perry then invited her to sing at the 1993 UFMCC General Conference in Phoenix, AZ. Rev. Perry told the entire conference, “They may have Sandi Patti but we have Karen Ann”. She, along with Rosemary Sanzone founded High Praise Ministry that same year and began visiting churches around the country with testimony and song. Her testimony is one of triumph over adversity. Surviving childhood abuse and other adversities, she then faced the issue of addressing her sexual orientation vs what she had
been taught to believe while a member of the Campus Crusades For Christ and her upbringing in the Catholic church (the church of her mother’s family). UFMCC opened her mind to the loving acceptance that God has for the all of humanity including the LGBTQ+ community.
After founding High Praise Ministry with her friend Rosemary Sanzone, Karen Ann
traveled the country singing and preaching the glory of God wherever she was welcomed.
She also managed to maintain a secular career as a paralegal and licensed insurance agent
in the state of Florida when not on tour. As she will tell anyone, “If you go into ministry
to get rich, you’re in the wrong job. Ministry is about service. I work a secular job in
order to support my ministry/music career.”
Karen Ann is once again coming back from a struggle, having been diagnosed with cancer in 2016. She has been declared cancer free for the past 6 years but still continues to have treatment for an immune disorder that was diagnosed in 2017 which forced her to retire from all work in order to heal. She has been working towards regaining her voice and has recently finished her new album “Going Home”.
She looks forward to returning to concert work on a part time basis and is happy to be back singing for God.
Jann Evans originally hails from New York and was transplanted to South Florida as a
teenager, she is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University and is a veteran of the Dade
County School system, where she taught in the same middle school for 31 years. When
she retired from teaching in 2001 she could claim that she was teaching her 3 rd
generation. She coached girls and Boys Basket ball, Intermurals, Girls and Boys Volleyball and Softball. While full time teaching Physical Education, Jann also taught History, Mathematics and Social Sciences.
Jann and Karen Ann met in 1994 and became life partners. Jann joined the ministry team and toured with Karen Ann whenever she had a break from teaching, particularly during the summer months. Together, they traveled throughout the U.S., into Canada and Mexico.
Jann has taken on the responsibility of running the sound system while on tour, managing the bookkeeping, driving the RV, assisting with various workshops presented by High Praise Ministry, acting as an advisor, and booking concerts.
After retiring from the Dade County School System, Jann continued teaching in the private sector for another 9 years and still toured with Karen Ann. Jann and Karen Ann were married on June 2, 2011 at MCC DC in Washington DC and are happy to be celebrating 28 years together.
Original Co-Founder of High Praise Ministry, Rosemary has a wide background in office and business management, which made her perfect for booking concerts and acting as an advisor.
She has not only been an important part of managing the ministry, she has also blessed us with her beautiful voice in concert, singing duets with Karen Ann. Rosemary is making her vocal debut on our newest album, “Going Home”. Rosemary, known to everyone as “Ro”, has traveled with the ministry running sound, booking tours, working the products table, driving the RV and doing so much more.