A gift from the drum shop that made Mary Hvizda famous has brought music back into the 63-year-old’s home.
She watched with folded hands and a faint smile on Monday while Coalition Drum Shop manager Dustin Hackworth assembled a brand-new KAT electronic drum set in her living room.
Hvizda became an Internet celebrity overnight last week
when the Tribune published a story about the white-haired drummer rocking out in a YouTube video called “Drumming Grandma.”
The clip had more than 2.6 million views by Monday evening.
Pretty good publicity for the shop, who thought it only fair to present Hvizda with a free kit.
Hvizda lives alone in a small, one-bedroom, income-subsidized apartment in Onalaska and hasn’t had her own set of skins since she sold her last kit in 1990 to make ends meet.
“This sure is different,” she said, tightening a few wing nuts.
“It’s essentially the same as your regular drum set,” Hackworth said of the $800 setup. “It’s just got more wires.”
Hvizda brightened when Hackworth told her she could plug the kit into her stereo and drum along with the collection of cassette tape recordings she made with bands she played in over the years.
“That would be neat,” she said.
Last week, Hackworth was just the nice young man from the music store. But after the video he uploaded of Hvizda playing “Wipe Out” at the La Crosse drum shop went viral Friday, he’s become
her unofficial guide to Internet fame.
Hackworth said he’s been helping Hvizda field the barrage of national media requests, contract offers and endorsement opportunities.
“Soon, she’ll be raking it in,” he said.
Still reeling from her overnight celebrity status, Hvizda said she’s “just letting it all sink in” and taking her time to consider the offers.
She had never even heard of YouTube until last week.
“It’s overwhelming,” she said. “It’s giving me a headache.”
Her cure? A raucous drum solo.
She gave her new drumsticks a few of her signature twirls.
“Let’s see what this thing can do,” she said, and disappeared into the music.