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Hernando singing couple nominated for Grammy Award

Tim and Laura Battersby of Hernando County plan to attend the Grammy ceremonies on Feb. 12 and 13 in Los Angeles.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tim and Laura Battersby of Hernando County plan to attend the Grammy ceremonies on Feb. 12 and 13 in Los Angeles.

BROOKSVILLE — Laura and Tim Battersby were "tickled to death" and "totally shocked" when a friend called their east Hernando home at 2:30 a.m. to announce big news.

They'd been nominated for a Grammy Award.

"I still can't believe it," Tim said. "It's an absolute shocking honor."

Songs about sunshine, bubbles and Dr. Seuss aren't the type known for sweeping in Grammys.

But the Battersbys' 11-song collection titled Sunny Days was nominated in the Best Musical Album for Children category, which will be announced Feb. 13 before the televised nighttime event that will feature the big stars like Eminem, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

The Battersbys will attend the daytime and nighttime ceremonies and a Feb. 12 Grammy Lifetime Achievement ceremony that will honor Barbra Streisand.

About a dozen of the Grammys' 109 categories will be televised, and the rest will stream live online, according to a Grammy spokeswoman.

The Battersbys are no strangers to high-profile celebrity gatherings.

In 27 years, the Battersby Duo has performed at the White House six times, on Sesame Street and on NBC's Today Show. They've also won an Emmy and three Parents' Choice Awards.

Yet they'll be star struck by some of the artists expected to attend the Grammy ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, they said.

Laura, who has a special place in her heart for the Sound of Music, may be tongue-tied when she meets Julie Andrews, who was nominated in the Best Spoken Word Album for Children category.

Tim Battersby, who is British, has loved Paul McCartney since he saw the Beatles in concert as a teenager.

"I'm going to give him a big hug," he said jokingly. "There's going to be security, and I'll probably get arrested."

In their act, the husband-wife team features guitar, witty banter, funny voices, charades and life lessons for children younger than 10, Laura said. They sell CDs on their website for $10 and individual songs are available on iTunes.

"We try not to be too preachy," she said. "But we want kids to know it's okay to be different."

They also perform at local schools and libraries, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and music festivals around the country.

Mary GaNun, programming specialist at the West Hernando Branch Library, said the Battersbys are among her favorite performers.

"Their programs are wonderful," she said. "They inspire, they entertain and they educate kids about a variety of circumstances. A lot of their songs are participatory."

The Battersbys, who did theater together in Virginia shortly after they met, moved to Florida 26 years ago and also have lived in Temple Terrace and Pasco County. The small town feel enticed them to Brooksville five years ago. Their daughter, Shanny, is 32 years old and the Battersbys have two grandchildren.

The awards are nice, Laura said, but the joy of the job comes from the interaction with children. After a show, children often send e-mails, letters and pictures, and the Battersbys reply to each one.

Children also recognize them in the grocery store, Tim said with a laugh.

"It's so sweet when we're looking at the milk and then behind us we hear a little 'teeheehee' from a kid who's so excited to see us," Tim said. "We're the most famous, unknown people in the world."

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at bdavis@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1432.

Hernando singing couple nominated for Grammy Award 12/18/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 18, 2010 11:11am]
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