Hello and Welcome!
My name is Karen Kann and I'm the founder, owner, baker, and chocolatier of Whoever Wins Gets A Cookie LLC! I live in North Liberty, IA with my husband, Dennis. We enjoy watching the St. Louis Cardinals play on TV (go Yadi!), watching shows like The Office and Stranger Things, playing the game Rummikub, and just spending time together. I used to make jewelry quite a bit, and even won a design contest where the necklace I designed for my wedding was featured on the front cover of Bead Style magazine! I don't design much anymore, but may go back to it a little bit someday. I now work for myself with Whoever Wins Gets A Cookie LLC, and Dennis works as a teacher in the Cedar Rapids, IA school district.
If you're wondering why I'm posed with several instruments, it's because music has always been at the forefront of my life. I started playing piano when I was 4 years old and took lessons up until the end of 8th grade. Somewhere along the line after that, I sat down at the piano again and just started improvising and songwriting, which ultimately led me to get a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Composition at The University of Northern Iowa. A few years later I went back to school at The University of Iowa to receive a music therapy equivalency. Once I was done with my studies, I passed the board exam and began working as a board certified music therapist (MT-BC). I spent 10 years working as a music therapist, 9 of them at Iowa City Hospice.
In December 2015, I suffered a vocal injury. For 3 months I didn’t even know if I’d ever have a reliable speaking voice again, let alone a dependable singing one. It was discovered (props to the Mayo Clinic!) that I have what’s called an “Essential Tremor of the Voice”. What this means is that every time I speak or sing, the involved muscles shake. It’s usually a fast tremor and not usually noticeable by others. But after years of singing (especially forcefully for those who were hard of hearing), other muscles in my pharynx and larynx were trying to overcompensate for the tremor and everything was worn out.
After 3 months, and with diligent daily vocal care, I did return to work as a music therapist with the aid of a Chattervox (a headworn mic worn with a speaker wrapped around my waist - how did I work all those years without it??) but after another year it was clear to me that it was time to leave. Other medical issues were still occurring and subsequent doctor visits (again, props to the Mayo Clinic) over the next few years revealed other physical health issues that ultimately led me down the path of reinventing myself, as being a practicing music therapist at that time was no longer a reasonable option. After some time to focus on what my new normal would look like and what that meant for me, Whoever Wins Gets A Cookie LLC was born.