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Grandma Drummer is a nickname given to Mary Hvizda, a 63-year-old percussionist who rose to internet fame after a video clip of her performing “Wipe Out” on the drums was uploaded to YouTube in July 2013.
On July 18th, 2013, the Coalition Drum Shop uploaded a video titled “Grandma Drummer” of a then-unknown woman playing the 1963 instrumental single “Wipe Out” in their shop in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The video received 100,000 views within the first 24 hours of upload and more than 3.4 million views in its first week.
Throughout the day, the clip quickly spread across the viral media news circuit, including World Wide Interweb, Uproxx, eBaum’s World, the Huffington Post and Reddit. On July 19th, the video continued to make the rounds on Mashable, Uproxx, Hypervocal and Gawker. On July 20th, staff members from Coalition Drum Shop were interviewed by La Crosse Tribune, during which they revealed the drummer’s name as Mary and that she had been coming in once every few months for a short drum session since the store opened in 2012.
On July 21st, the La Crosse Tribune identified the woman in the video as 63-year-old Mary Hvizda from Onalaska, Wisconsin. She had been unaware of the video prior to seeing herself on the front page while delivering newspapers. Though she is not actually a grandmother, she told the Tribune that she had wanted to become a famous musician since she began playing the drums at age of 16. She played in several local bands, most notably as drummer for The Chantells, until she sold her drum kit in 1990, when she quit playing in favor of a different job.
Shortly after La Crosse Tribune published the profile article, the Coalition Drum Store announced that they would be gifting her an electronic drum set of her own so she could practice at home without disturbing her neighbors. Throughout the week, additional interviews with Hvizda were featured on national news outlets like CNN, ABC News and NPR. By July 24th, it was reported that she had been invited to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman, the Steve Harvey Show and Ellen, but had not decided on whether or not she would accept. As she told a TwinCities.com reporter, she is ready for a break from talking to people and wants to take a nap.
World Wide Interweb – Drumming Grandma Might Be The Coolest Thing Ever (VIDEO)
TwinCities.com – ‘Grandma Drummer’ says Letterman can wait -- she needs a nap