White-haired Wis. woman's drumstick-twirling jam session a hit, 2 million views on YouTube

  • Updated: July 22, 2013 - 1:35 PM

LA CROSSE, Wis. — A white-haired, bespectacled drummer from Wisconsin whose spontaneous solo jam session at a local music shop was caught on video has become a hit online, with more than 2 million views so far of her drumstick-twirling performance so far.

The video was posted on YouTube by the Coalition Drum Shop in La Crosse. The clip is called Grandma Drummer, and although 63-year-old Mary Hvizda really isn't a grandma, she's humbling embracing the celebrity status.

"I guess I just wanted to play music and have fun," Hvizda said. "Thank you for making me feel important."

Hvizda started drumming when she was 15, inspired by her brother, and has played in nearly a dozen bands. She joined the first all-female rock band in La Crosse, the "Chantells," which she described as pioneers in a male-dominated industry.

"It really took a lot of tolerance with the customers, or other male musicians, to hang in there and to just keep going if they laughed at us or made fun of us," Hvizda said.

Hvizda ended her playing career when the band "On the Road Again" broke up in 1990.

"I couldn't find no other bands to play with, and then I did quit," said Hvizda, who sold her last drum set soon after.

Although she has hung up her performing drumsticks, she said she still enjoys stopping by the drum store to satisfy her musical urge. She still plays her old cassette tapes from time to time, as a reminder of her days in the bands and hasn't lost her love for the drums.

And she's proud so many people have taken an interest in her drumming. She'd never heard of YouTube until a few days ago, but as of Monday morning, the video had attracted 2.4 million YouTube views.

"I was having a lot of fun," Hvizda said. "I really was."

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