72 year old man gets Grammy nomination for “best hummer”
Lucas Diltweiler from Pine Bluff , AK. would be the first to tell you how shocked he was a couple of months ago when he received a letter from NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) advising him that he had been nominated for “best hummed song of the year” for 2011. A 72 year old widower who lives alone, Diltweiler has been professionally humming for over thirty years, often featured at the Rotary Club pancake breakfasts and city council meetings where he opens with the “Star Bangled Banner” each week.
“I had no idea there was even such a category for hummers” said Diltweiler, who with the help of his granddaughter Lucy Blaine has posted over forty videos of himself humming on You Tube. With a repertoire that spans the classics and goes right up to the current music scene, Diltweiler is as comfortable humming Sting and Bono (see Rattle and Hum) as he is Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus. “I like all kinds of music, and once I get the hang of the melody it’s pretty easy.”
That an unknown hummer would have received a Grammy nomination has shaken up the music establishment from Hollywood to Nashville, which are the hubs of humming. Jerry Clarke, who is well known for his lip-pursing hums and has appeared on albums featuring everyone from Eric Clapton to Sir Elton John, was skipped over this year and thinks “NARAS has made a terrible mistake in opening up this category to virtual unknowns who have not studied the art of humming nor appeared on professional recordings”.
On the flip side, anthropologist Andrew Bitroit from Gramercy University in Missouri has been researching the art of humming for over forty years, and he is ecstatic that this year Diltweiler has been given the nod. “There is a whole genre of folk humming that’s been ignored by the establishment for hundreds of years, and those of us in this field have been praying for this day to come. Not many people know about this traditional form of art, as it’s mostly heard at sparsely attended festivals or in the shower.”
Despite the uproar, Diltweiler plans to attend the award show and wants to credit all six of his grandkids for making this dream come true. By using social networking and NARAS’ own Grammy360, they were able to launch a campaign to get humming noticed and their grandfather nominated. They are all excited for the big night to come and there are plans for a summer tour with Linda Chorney if he wins.