YouTube’s ‘Grandma Drummer’ drums an encore - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

YouTube’s ‘Grandma Drummer’ drums an encore

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – It was late Thursday when a video of the affectionately-dubbed "Grandma Drummer" hit YouTube.

While she may not actually be a grandma, in just two days, Mary Hvizda, 63, became the latest Internet sensation.

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, more than a million people have watched Hvizda whale on the drums. Her rendition of wipe out, a knock out.

But when La Crosse native was asked about the video's success, she said she had no idea.

Hvizda just knew there was Coalition Drum Shop. And when she walked through their doors a year and a half ago, they let her play the drums. It was her first performance in a decade.

"I was like, ‘Wow, drumsticks again. It's been a while. I wonder if I still know how to use them,'" Hvizda said. "And I'm hoping I'm OK with them. But regardless of whether I'm good or not or as good as I used to be, it's just neat to be able to do it again."

Hvizda now stops into Coalition every few months to play. Saturday, she gave an encore performance.

"Yeah, I have wanted (to be a famous musician) but I never pursued it because I never thought I was ever good enough to get it, and because so many people tried but never succeed," she said.

Hvizda did play in several bands in the Coulee Region in rock and country western styles.

She even gained a little fame playing for the Chantelles – one of La Crosse's first all-female rock bands.

Saturday she got another taste when people stopped to take pictures with her, or honked their horns and waved.

"She's excited about it. She wished it would have been 20 years ago, I think she said, but better late than never," said Coalition owner Carl Johnson.

He gave Hvizda an electric drum set for her apartment to practice on.

"There's just something about music that brings me up," Hvizda said.

But to play on a full set, Hvizda will have to go back to Coalition to show off her now famous drumstick twirl.

Some other facts about Hvizda:

  • She's an Aquinas grad
  • At one point she's held jobs delivering cigarettes, working in factories, and in the cleaning business
  • She recorded some of her concerts on cassette and still listens to them to this day
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