Music has always been a big part of Connor Hutson’s life, so it is no surprise that the 18-year-old Scottsboro High School graduate is pursuing it as a career.
The son of Les Hutson, director of music at the First United Methodist Church in Scottsboro, Connor is a gifted drummer who dreams of building a life in the Christian music industry.
As the recipient of The Robert Schilling Scholarship, a monetary award for a student preparing for a vocation in church music and arts, Connor has chosen to attend Hillsong Christian Leadership College in Sydney, Australia, where he will study theology and music worship.
“It’s a three-year program,” he said. “When I graduate, I’ll be ready to work full-time in the ministry.
“I want to honor God for giving me my gift of drumming by giving it back to Him and sharing it with the world,” he said. “I want to do my very best to show people the love of Jesus.”
For the past several years, Connor has played drums in praise bands at his church, and is currently the drummer for the adult praise band and is the leader of the youth praise band.
“There is nothing I love more than to be onstage and look into a crowd of people lifting their hands to God,” he said.
His relationship with God has not always been easy.
“My mother died in 2005 when I was 9,” he said. “I was completely broken by her death.
“For a long time,” he said, “I just pushed God out of my life. I questioned why He could let my mother die when I’ve got six brothers and sisters and there were four of us kids still living at home then.”
He remembers worrying about how his father would be able to care for them. “I was afraid he’d have to put all of us up for adoption or something,” he said. “I was just a little kid and I had no idea what to think. I didn’t know how he was going to raise four kids by himself.”
His father got Connor into counseling and kept him in church, never wavering in his faith. Connor credits both his parents for the young man he has become.
“I collect Superman stuff,” he said, “because Superman is a symbol of hope. I think my dad is my Superman, honestly. The Marine came out in him when Mom died.
“Like the Marines say, ‘Semper-Fi,’ which means ‘always faithful,’” he said, “that’s just what my dad has been to all of us. I credit my dad a lot for where I am today.
“My mom was an amazing singer,” he said. “She sang in all the praise bands at church. Her passing was a huge part of who I am today. I’m not using her death to define who I am, but it is a huge part of who I am.”
He is also grateful to his step-mom, Talitha Hutson, whom his dad married a few years ago.
“She is so, so sweet,” he said. “She taught us kids how to be responsible, and she is prepping us for the real world.”
It was his father who first suggested that Connor apply for the scholarship.
“He brought me the application and I filled it out,” he said. “I was so happy when I found out I’d gotten it.”
When he graduated in 2015, Connor also received the Sam Hambrick Scholarship.
“It normally goes to an athlete,” he said. “But Mr. Hambrick’s daughter, Lisa Barfoot, is a teacher and a very dear friend of mine. They decided as a family to give it to me because of what I want to do with my life.”
Even with the two scholarships, Connor still has a long way to go before raising enough money to attend the prestigious program.
He saved all of the graduation money he received from family and friends, and is currently working two jobs.
“I still need about $10,000,” he said. “My parents are helping all they can, but my stepmom is worried about me being so far away. She doesn’t want me to have to work and worry about rent while I’m in school, so my goal is to have everything paid for before I leave in June 2016.”
“I’m really proud of him,” said Les Hutson. “Only six kids in the First United Methodist Church nationwide received that scholarship and he was one of them. He’s a good boy and I’m sure he will do great things for the Lord.”
If you would like to contribute to Connor Hutson’s educational fund, contact him at 256-594-7563.