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“Coffee and Tea,” a.k.a. Mary Ada and Andy Kidd. They have retired as music teachers but music remains an essence of their lives.

Music is universal language for Mary Ada & Andy Kidd

By Lynn Kaiser Conrad
Contributing Writer

He started playing piano at 8. She started playing piano at 11. Their musical journey took two different paths and somehow converged when they were both graduate students in Florida.
In fact, Mary Ada Kidd may not have had any musical journey if her parents had listened to that first piano teacher, who told them to save their money because Mary Ada had no musical talent whatsoever. Mary Ada went to middle school and switched to flute. For an entire year, she could not make a sound with the flute. However, in high school, she continued to play, and by then sound was emerging from the silver shaft. Furthermore, she received superior ratings at state competition and was asked to solo with the Hollywood Florida Philharmonic.

Andy, on the other hand, started playing by ear, and by high school he had formed a jazz trio, and they had a standing gig at a German restaurant. So, in his teens he was a professional musician. At the restaurant audition, the trio played the only three songs they knew.
“On the way home, we went to a music store and bought some pop music books so we would have something to play at our new gig,” Andy said.

Mary Ada and Andy are both retired music teachers, but not retired musicians. Playing music is part of their lives; it is their essence. Andy plays piano and percussion, and May Ada plays flute and synthesizer. She can play other brass and wind instruments, as well.
While they are part of a seven-piece ensemble, they are also an instrumental duo. They call themselves Coffee and Tea. Andy’s favorite music to perform is jazz classics, while Mary Ada’s favorite is classical and baroque; she prefers composers such as Mozart, Quantz and Telemann. When it comes to listening to music, Andy claims all styles, world music, and Mary Ada enjoys easy listening and acoustic guitar.
They play locally at the Bent Tree Tavern, Achasta Country Club, Old Mulehouse, Woodbridge Inn, Pendley Creek Brewery, and lots of private events.

“I enjoy performing for people,” Andy said. “I like to watch their expressions and reactions to the music. I also want to continue to work on my skills. Musicians are craftsmen and I want to polish my craft.”
She is a yin to his yang, bringing harmony to his melody. Mary Ada sees music just a bit differently than Andy.
“I prefer being background music, creating an interesting diversion. I delight in sharing the language of music with others, with other musicians and with the audience. I enjoy the camaraderie of performing. Flute is often part of a group; it’s an ensemble instrument, and when I run out of people to play with, then that is when I will stop making music,” Mary Ada said.
The only reason Andy will cease playing the piano keys is because of physical limitations, but he doesn’t anticipate that happening for a long time.

During this lifetime of performing, some lessons were learned. Early on Mary Ada and Andy were playing an outdoor wedding in a pasture. Andy was playing on someone else’s keyboard and was unfamiliar with all the knobs, buttons, and technology. He had just finished playing the processional. The bride and groom were exchanging their vows and a big gust of wind, more of a squall than a zephyr swooped across the pasture. The music stand crashed on the keyboard and preprogrammed songs started wailing from the amplifier. The vows were halted and guests, wedding party, and officiant all watched as Andy frantically tried to stop the music. Silence only arrived after he unplugged the cord.
“It’s 30 or so years later, and I have never played another outdoor wedding. When I play outdoor gigs, I only play on my keyboard,” Andy said.

Both Mary Ada and Andy feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to share music with thousands of people, including their students. Music has also provided domestic and international travel experiences for them as they toured.

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