Grammy nominee strives to tell a story

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 | 7:34 p.m. CST; updated 6:17 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Daughter Katy, 15; husband Berkley Hudson; daughter Elizabeth, 11; Grammy nominee Milbre Burch; and her mother, also Milbre Burch, pose for a photo before attending the Grammy Awards ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The second to last paragraph of this article has been updated to correct a name.

COLUMBIA — After a glimpse at life on the sunny side of Los Angeles, Grammy nominee Milbre Burch was hit with reality when she slipped on th ice back home in Columbia, smacking her head against the concrete.

“It really brought me back down to Earth,” Burch said. Nursing a concussion, she recalled details of the past few days at the 50th annual Grammy Awards.

Burch was nominated in the category of spoken word for children with “Making the Heart Whole Again: Stories for a Wounded World” released by her record label, Kind Crone Productions. The first advice she got after getting the nod: get a dress.

So she did — hunter green and with an empire waist and a short train. Burch was told to dye her shoes to match her dress, which led to something unintended. “My feet were green for a while, from the dye,” she said. “But after my manicure and pedicure, which were transcendent, my dragon feet were gone.”

This was Burch’s 13th recorded album but the only one she has submitted for a Grammy. Burch did not win her category, but she had no ill will toward Jim Dale, who took home the prize for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

“I don’t feel too bad being bested by someone who is as brilliant as he is,” Burch said.

When she was in Los Angeles, Burch listened to a breakfast speech by Cathy Fink, a two-time Grammy winner in folk and children’s music, and realized the importance of storytelling. “The committees are not seeing that there are enough storytellers to have our own category,” Burch said. “Right now, we are competing with books on tape, which is completely different.”

Burch was joined at the ceremony by her husband, Berkley Hudson, who teaches in MU’s School of Journalism, her 86-year-old mother, also named Milbre Burch, and daughters Katy, 15, and Elizabeth, 11. Tickets were $150 apiece, but Burch said it was worth the cost.

“There was a glamorous aura pulsating through the hotel we were staying in,” Katy Burch-Hudson said. She sported her first pair of “official heels” at the Grammy after-party with her sister and dad.

“We were able to stay a little later to watch the artists perform,” Elizabeth Burch-Hudson said. “We were even able to see fire-eaters.”

The Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the ceremony was held, was packed with stars and nominees. Burch’s family, which had to sit pretty far back from the stage and the mega-stars in front of it, was told to bring some food for the long event.

“The concession stands were open for a while,” Burch said. “Everyone is dressed up all fancy, but eating hot dogs and hot pretzels.”

Her biggest brush with celebrity occurred in an elevator, when she and Elizabeth rode with composer and arranger Quincy Jones.

“Don’t worry,” Burch said. “We behaved ourselves.”

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