Brecken Hunter: Drumming His Way Through High School


Lydia Hawes, Online Editor

Not to be confused with Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, or Neil Peart, Highland’s Brecken Hunter is starting his musical career off on the right foot by being awarded the Sterling Scholarship for instrumental music. 

The purpose of the scholarship is to help students gain recognition for their specific talents from Utah colleges and universities. Hunter decided to compete with others to take a shot at the award. 

Hunter selected three pieces—all of which were on different percussion instruments—for the judges to evaluate and critique.  

Rush’s song “Tom Sawyer” was picked for Hunter’s piece on the drums, then additional ones on the quads and on the xylophone. 

“Tom Sawyer” personally resonated with Hunter, though, because of his particular admiration for Rush’s drummer: Neil Peart. The song also holds a special place in his dad’s, Jason Hunter, heart, being one of the favorites to hear Hunter play.  

“I’d say [Peart is] one of the greatest drummers of all time,” Hunter said.  

Neil Peart’s attention to detail in “Tom Sawyer” proves the song a fan-favorite, a solid pick for Hunter’s sterling scholar.  

“Neil Peart is Brecken’s drumming hero, and one of the greatest drummers of all time,” Hunter’s mother, Gabriella Hunter, said. “So, to hear Brecken be able to navigate through all of the complexities of the song is amazing.” 

Similar to his aspiration, Hunter started drum lessons in his elementary age. After a few piano lessons at six-years-old, Hunter realized he needed something a little more intense. 

“I love fidgeting with things and I’d tap all of the time,” Hunter said. 

At his seventh birthday, Hunter was gifted drumsticks from his grandparents. He stuck with it and has loved it ever since.  

After many years of lessons, Hunter joined two bands to perform and produce music for an audience to hear.  

Just like every band says, Hunter and his drums are the backbone of bands Silica and Blue Rain Boots. He’s the rhythm every musician must follow—he sets the tempo and the mood. Hunter provides songs with just the right amount of beat. Blue Rain Boots’ “Hold Me”, released just this year, maintains a steady drum throughout the catchy song, all thanks to Hunter’s talent. Others like “Ladies and Gentlemen”, where Hunter has a bold and strong beat, and “Parties”, capture the perfect amount of rock mixed with alternative.  

He’s been continuing lessons, aiming for even better than he already is.  

So Hunter was picked from violinists, pianists, and other talented musicians. Hunter’s percussion pieces triumphed all and won the beneficiary award.  

And while Hunter literally rocks the drums, he’s just as talented when it comes to metal work, making some mean pieces in Highland’s welding program.  

“Drumming is definitely my biggest talent. Outside that? I’m pretty good at welding,” Hunter said. 

With the metal work and drumming taking up much of his time and interest, many would doubt Hunter has time for a job, but he continues to impress. 

“{Drums are] definitely the biggest part [of my day], but other hobbies? I work for a contruction company  and I like just doing stuff with tools, like building stuff,” Hunter said.  

Additionally, Hunter is an overall positive person to be around, and he knows how to throw a kind gesture towards those that care about him.  

His mother reflected on a memory from a few years ago, pleasantly remembering the sweet gesture her son had made.  

“Brecken surprised me with playing Sampson and Delilah by the Grateful Dead, one of my favorite songs,” Gabriella Hunter said. “It’s a very challenging song for one person on drums because it is played by two drummers in the Grateful Dead [ . . . ] I was so surprised and impressed by him that I cried ugly tears.” 

Whether it’s playing for an audience at Kilby Court or for a more personal audience of his family, Hunter brings emotion to the music he’s playing. 

Despite his already impressive high school success, he’s focusing on finishing up this year, ready to get on to the next step: college. 

“I hope Brecken continues to dream big, challenge himself, and accomplish all of his musical and collegiate goals that he has set for himself,” Gabriella Hunter said.  

The University of Utah took special notice of Hunter, and he’ll be attending the U next year. While there, he’ll continue his passion and enroll in different music courses to deepen his knowledge and talent. 

Maybe in the near future, we’ll all recognize Hunter’s face and be buying tickets for his next upcoming concert. Or, maybe we’ll see him marching on the U’s football field with his quads, drumming up a victory song, all in credit of his hard work and raw talent that he delivered during his years at Highland. Maybe he’ll even inspire a kid to pick up some sticks and start drumming and create the next Brecken Hunter.