Tuscola resident recalls Grammys experience

By Kayleigh Rahn
Tuscola native Brad Hanners has had lifelong love for music of all genres. And over the decades, he’s seen world-class names and small, local gigs but maybe none quite like a 1995 show by Paul McCartney at the old Bush Stadium in St. Louis.

However, Hanners’ closest brush with the music industry came just this winter when he won a trip to the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.

“Well, I’m retired now, and I have nothing to do and all day to do it,” Hanners said from his Meadowview home. “I was watching Channel 3 ciLiving, and they have contests to win tickets and access to various events.”

Hanners logged onto the Channel 3 website to register to win Illini basketball tickets; however, while he was there he happened to put his name in for the Grammys trip as well. Then he logged again the following day, and the next, until finally the contest closed just after Christmas.

Nearly two months later, as the region entered a polar freeze with temperature dipping to 50 below zero, a director from ciLiving contacted Hanners to let him know that he was selected to visit sunny California for the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10. Although he wasn’t confident about making the trip because he is disabled and must walk with a cane, Hanners says he was thrilled about the possibility.

“I had a very short list of people who I thought could go and would be able to help me if needed,” so Hanners called on his cousin and close friend Mike Sylvester.

A familiar name, Alicia Keys, was billed as the host for the evening, though most of the nominees were new names for Sylvester and Hanners, who are music fans but of a different generation with REO Speedwagon and Styx as two of the most recent shows Hanners had attended.

After whirlwind travel arrangements were set, the duo headed out to the west coast for a two-night stay in Los Angeles. With the giveaway, Hanners won two tickets to the Grammys along with two tickets to the Grammy museum in downtown LA.

“That was a good thing, because it was like doing homework on the Grammy’s before we went,” he said. Hanners said the museum featured the likes of Buddy Holly, Paul Simon, The Beatles, and Johnny Cash, among the hundreds of Grammy honorees.

After visiting the museum, the cousins headed back to the hotel to rest before the following big day.

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, April 3 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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