Mary Vanorny has performed with many groups based in Minnesota, including the award-winning Back Porch Band, which released its trio album The Road We Traveled in 2003, and currently with Brass Lassie, Twin Cities Ceili Band, The Frothy Band, and O'Shea Irish Dance's Kickin' It Irish. Mary also performs regularly with Norah Rendell and Brian Miller as the Two Tap Trio.
Mary grew up in the southeastern Minnesota town of Red Wing, playing both classical and fiddle music, joining and touring with orchestras as a violinist/concertmaster and playing with various bands before turning her attention to Irish fiddling. She studied Irish music with esteemed New York fiddler Brian Conway, learned to Irish dance with Rince na Chroi, and joined the staff at St. Paul's Center for Irish Music in 2015, teaching fiddle and ensemble, as well as Minnesota Irish Music Weekend Teen and Trad Immersion camps for the past several years. More recently, Mary discovered the strong connections in the way she'd been taught classical music (Suzuki), and the way she'd been teaching her fiddle students to play for years. Completing Suzuki Teacher Training was a natural step in polishing and refining her teaching, and one of her favorite things to do is help others learn to play music by ear--something that the Suzuki method and Irish music have in common.
Mary's style strikes a balance between the technical elements of her classical music upbringing, and her love of all types of fiddle music. Although she has a particular enthusiasm for Irish fiddling, she has also been heavily influenced by her family connections in Nova Scotia, spending many summers fiddling along the coast in Pictou County, or attending square dances in Cape Breton. These unique experiences combine with the many types of music she was exposed to growing up, as well as her interest in the research, history, and promotion of women in Irish fiddling, to make her playing innovative yet committed to tradition.
Mary has recorded several albums, and also on Brass Lassie's self titled (2018), Chad McAnally's Ó Cearbhalláin~ Rí na nDall/King of the Blind (2018), Bob Douglas's Just Tunes (2016), Sherry Ladig's Maiden Rock (2016), Back Porch Band's The Road We Traveled (2003), and Back Porch Band's Between the Rhythm and Brew (2001).
Mary continues to be a sought after teacher and performer, and has been a guest artist/lecturer for the Minnesota Irish Music Weekend, Minnesota Celtic Fiddlers, Pint of Irish Celtic Music retreat (CA), Spanish Peaks International Celtic Festival (CO), and in schools. She founded and currently hosts the all female MnáFiddlers group, and teaches at the Center for Irish Music in St. Paul in addition to teaching Suzuki violin and fiddle lessons at her home studio.