Utah man celebrates 100 years by performing at own party

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SALT LAKE CITY — It's not often that someone lives to be 100. It's even more rare when someone that "young" provides the entertainment for their own birthday party.

They say Lowell Hicks knows just about every song there is.

"When I was 8 years old I got piano lessons and never quit since," Hicks said.

A crowd of relatives and friends turned out to wish him a happy 100th. They said Hicks invests all his energy in music, and in daily life.

In the long time-line of his life, Hicks worked as a music teacher and professional musician, including 25 years playing live on KSL radio.

For many years Hicks was also the State Bee Inspector. His role with the bee population added a little extra pizzazz to his version of Flight of the Bumblebee, which almost 50,000 people have watched on YouTube. Of course, he's still performing that one.

"I like to please people," Hicks said. "I've played so many hundreds of retirement centers. Most every one of them have been younger than I." After 100 years Hicks is still the life of the party. He learned to play the flute, xylophone, and of course, the piano.

He even met his wife, Bernice, through music. Hicks's daughter Kay Ward said the two met when Hicks was teaching xylophone lessons many years ago.

"Mother was 18 and looking for music lessons," Ward said.

Hicks said it was pretty much love at first sight.

"I taught her for the summer," Hicks said. "We went to a concert on a date. For some reason or another I held her hand and I think that started something."

Hicks has a lot of stories to tell, including the one about the time he was a true hero.

In 1947 he was credited with saving 479 students at a school in West Jordan. When he was teaching music, the roof started to collapse and he got all the kids out safely.


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John Hollenhorst


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