The annual We Are Wylie dinner is going country this year but staying true to its tradition of featuring successful Wylie alumni.
The dinner will be at Joe Allen’s Lytle Bend Ranch and will feature singer/songwriter Hunter Hutchinson, who graduated from Wylie in 2012, and is relatively new on the Texas Music scene.
Hunter graduated from Texas Tech in December and is touring Texas with his band. He is well on his way to making a career in music.
“This is what I want to do,” he said. “It’s not easy – a lot of long nights. A lot of being a way from home. But I’ve developed a love for it and a passion for it.”
Hunter can thank two men for his successful music career – his dad and Aaron Watson.
His father Chuck Hutchinson died in 2008 from cancer when Hunter was only 14. He loved music and passed that along to his son.
“He was the praise and worship leader at our church, Wylie United Methodist,” Hunter said. “He collected guitars, and he left them for me.”
Hunter played baseball at Wylie until he was 17 when he broke his arm. Unable to play baseball and bored, he picked up one of his dad’s guitars and taught himself to play.
“I never took lessons,” he said. “I just kind of grinded it out on YouTube. I just sat there for hours.”
Once he taught himself to play, he began to write his own music.
“You can’t be taught how to write music,” he said. “There are different things you can do to get better. But it just has to come to you.”
Hunter formed a band with fellow Wylie graduate Miller Davis and a few other guys several years ago, and Aaron Watson helped him record an album and get started touring.
Hunter met Watson not long after his dad died. Watson, a popular Country and Western singer, was a sponsor at a charity golf tournament in Chuck Hutchinson’s honor. He also performed after the tournament.
“My mom took me to meet him,” Hunter said. “He brought me on stage and put me in a chair. I thought it was pretty cool. He’s had me under his wing ever since. He has been like a big brother to me.”
Hunter’s band toured mostly in West Texas while Hunter finished school at Tech. He graduated in December and is excited about the upcoming release of his second album and expanding his tour to other areas of the state.
“I wanted to wait until I was out of school,” he said. “It was hard for us to go out every weekend. Now it’s time to start touring to promote the new record.”
Hunter said even now, 10 years later, he still misses his dad. Hunter wrote a song for his father that he plays at every concert.
“I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today if it were not for him,” said Hunter, whose mom, Karla, still lives in Wylie. “I do feel a little bit of him when I am up there on the stage playing his guitars. One of his old guitars is still one of my favorites.”
The Education Foundation dinner is set for Oct. 5. A Meet and Greet starts at 6:30 p.m., and dinner is at 7 p.m. The meal will feature Joe Allen’s Barbecue. All proceeds go to support the foundation’s programs.
This year, the foundation awarded more than $50,000 to teachers and students for classrooms and scholarships.
Check the foundation website (WylieBulldogsEducationFoundation.com) for information on how sponsor tables or reserve a seat at the dinner.