Mary’s first dreamed of performing after seeing Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. In 1964, she taught herself the guitar to play Beatle songs. In college, she was the guitar player who led folk sing-alongs and wrote song parodies. In 1989, Mary bought a five-string banjo, which she taught herself to play. After moving to Vermillion, SD, she joined the Gospel Buckaroos, a local bluegrass band and played banjo with them for four years. She began solo performing in 1997 at age 47, and has since appeared at numerous events and festivals in the Midwest.

Songwriting and Recording

Soon after joining the Gospel Buckaroos, Mary discovered the challenging world of songwriting. In 2000, she recorded her first CD of original music, Horizon Unbounded, in Lincoln, NE, under producer and string-wizard Steve Hanson.

Researching and Performing Historical Music

Mary was invited to perform at a Lewis & Clark festival in 2000. This led her to develop two historical music programs for the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial. Mary did extensive research in Early American Imprints, a microfilmed collection of everything published in the United States through 1820. Focusing on 1803, she discovered five collections of popular music published in that year. Selecting songs that appear in several of the publications, she performs in a historically accurate costume. With the aid of Powerpoint software, audiences follow the lyrics as she sings and also sing-along with choruses. In 2004-2005, Mary performed as a Lewis & Clark interpreter under a National Humanities Grant for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. She is a speaker for the Nebraska Humanities Speakers Bureau.

Musical Background

Mary comes from a family of musicians. Her mother, Janie Green, was a life-long piano teacher. Her younger sister, Carol Butler, is a piano teacher and accompanist. Her father, Joe Green, a retired Presbyterian minister, has had several hymn texts published. He has written extensively about the history of hymns and Christian faith.

Historical Music Performances

Original Music Performances