Bio: Tom and Mary Kay Aufrance
Now performing regularly for "Dinner
and Music at Foodies Bystro," the husband-and-wife
singing duo Tom and Mary Kay Aufrance have traveled
a long way together in a variety of musical genres.
"Today we're singing the wide variety of music at
Foodies Bystro, to appeal to discerning palates
as well as lovers of vocal harmony," says Mary Kay, Foodies Bystro
is located in the same building as the local cultural
center Brewery Art Center. It's as if all our past
influences brought us together with Foodies for
these dinner music shows on the 2nd and 4th Thursday
of the month.
This musical couple simply loves
singing in any setting from intimate coffee shop
settings to festival stages. They play popular-to-old music on unlikely instruments: accordion,
mandolin, banjo and guitar (well not so unliely) but what's unique is the vocal harmonies that
blend just as their hearts.
Here we are having a fabulous
fun time making
music as the Local Honey Band with Vicki Hass, Norris
Schultz and George Grover caller at River School Farm Urban
Farm Fest in Reno, Nevada
Thanks to ©2013
"In our beginnings, we experienced
the delight of choral singing together, and then
we got a foot hold in instrumentation, and creativity
just kept blossoming in both of us," says Mary
Kay, who with Tom has recorded five albums, published
two music books, and has music licensed by film
"We grow together in music, just as we
do in other areas of our lives together," says Mary Kay.
"But, no matter what we explore next, we carry on
with past influences" which accounts for their unique
Lately, Tom and Mary Kay have added a
wide variety of popular favorites, from Motown: The Temptations,
to California Sound, The Beach Boys, to country western, Bob Wills through The
Eagles and even some out of this world David Bowie! But,
you will still find Tom and Mary Kay performing at county
fairs as Slim and Minnie, at contra dances as
The Local Honey Band and on St. Patrick's Day at Red's
395 Restaurant as Gairin Celtic Music. They're
not satisfied to slice and dice musical genres or stick
to just one, and they keep getting compliments
and requests for more popular and new music done with
their own distinctive vocal harmonies. No matter what
or where they're playing, the Aufrances always blend their
voices and instrumentals as they do their hearts.
But, they also like to play! And fast!
Local Honey Band plays traditional American and Celtic
dance music for contra dances in Northern Nevada and California.
Tom and Mary Kay's first musical venture
was a Renaissance Fair act called The Motley Madrigals,
a 12-member a cappella singing group that became popular
at events in Lake Tahoe and Northern California. The Motlies
mixed slapstick humor with seriously beautiful 4-part
vocal harmonies, and audiences found themselves alternately
rolling in the aisles and then swooning and swaying with
joy to their polyphonic sounds.
We also did a lot of choral work, singing
as Amahl (Mary Kay) and Caspar the King (Tom) for Tahoe
Choir, in a performance reviewed as "the best Amahl
ever," no kidding! "At the time my voice was
quite boyish, and we had an unbelievable cast, even though
it was just a community production at the local Catholic
Church and the Tahoe Community College," notes Mary
Kay. They have also sung with University of Nevada Reno
Choir and Carson Chamber Singers, an elite group that
is part of the Carson Symphony.
This musical duo credits traditional music
lessons and also two unlikely performers who have had
a great influence on their success. "I was fortunate
that Katharine DeBoer, world class classical vocalist
and head of the University of Nevada Reno Vocal Department
taught me how to find my voice," says Mary Kay. Tom
also likes to note that veteran performers Bill the Magician
and Spike the Fire Juggler, "They reminded us that any
'act' is ultimately all about connecting with people.
"We have always been serious about making beautiful music;
however, going on stage as "characters" sometimes allows
us to connect better with more audiences." Wherever they
perform, the Aufrances find a way to engage the audience
and select musical moods that connect and entertain.
Tom and Mary Kay have done a little teaching.
In 2014 they started the Tuneville Session players at
the request of the Brewery Arts Center Chairman of the
Board in Carson City, Nevada. From 2006 - 2011 they were
instructors for the Carson City Symphony Strings in the
Schools program, working with about 60 music students
of all ages from grade school through retirement age.
Mary Kay developed a workshop that got the students to
form their own Celtic bands and perform as the grand finale.
10 new Celtic bands debuted that day. Each band was featured
during a crowd-pleasing performance for friends and family.
Also, Mary Kay is particularly proud of her most recent
80-year old accordion student, who reached his ambitious
goal of learning to play Lady of Spain at the Cotati Accordion
Tom and Mary Kay live out on the edge
of town in Carson City, Nevada. They perform in local
restaurants, on regional festival stages and also in more
private settings: weddings and old folks homes.
Contact Tom and Mary Kay for live music