Tinkertunes : Tom Kaufmann Bio

Tom Kaufmann

A Michigan native, Tom was born in Mt Clemens, but grew up in Hastings, a small town near Grand Rapids, where he worked as an afternoon disc jockey at WBCH while still in high school. He began his career as a professional musician in 1973 at a night club in Osaka, Japan. Since that time he has entertained audiences as a soloist and with a number of groups in the San Francisco area, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and throughout the midwest.

Tom moved to Northern Lower Michigan in 1979 to work as the morning DJ. at WVOY (now WKHQ) in Charlevoix, and began playing piano at the Weathervane Inn there. Kaufmann left broadcasting in 1981 to perform full-time, and to write and produce jingles with local radio legend Bill Vogel. He received two Michigan “Addy” awards for jingles he wrote for Audio Graph Productions, in Okemos, Michigan.

After five years at the Weathervane Inn, and a return tour of Japan in 1984, Tom played for several years as a soloist and as the house band at Boyne Mountain, Shanty Creek Resort, and for five summers at Charlevoix’s historic Grey Gables Inn. It was there that he perfected his popular exit; riding a unicycle through the bar while playing the William Tell Overture on a concertina and harmonica.

From 1993 to 2000 he held the position of Entertainment Director for the Grand Traverse Resort, and performed in the Trillium Lounge, at the top of the resort’s tower, as a soloist, with his six piece band “Lake Effect”, and with his trio “Altitude.”

In 2001 be began performing in the Beacon Lounge, at the top of Traverse City’s famous Park Place Hotel, where he currently entertains.