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Versatile Teen Musician Honored
Thirteen-year-old Stephen Hutchins is quite the musician. He plays not just one or two instruments but five and is currently learning another. A student at Cardozo Middle School, he plays the piano, trumpet, baritone, tuba, French horn and is learning the banjo.

Introduced by his principal Alice Solis and music teacher Dave Howard at a recent Riverbank Unified School District meeting, the eighth grader was recognized also for his scholarship, citizenship and contributions to the community.

"I started the piano when I was six and took lessons for five or six years," he said in an interview. "I was in fourth grade when I learned the trumpet to play in the junior high's band. Now my grandfather is teaching me the banjo."

The baritone, he added, resembles a small tuba.

Hutchins allowed he would be interested in becoming a professional musician but what he really wants to do is "go into composing."

One of the four children of Doug and Polli Hutchins, he has a sister and older brother who are also musicians. His mother encourages his musical talents while his father has gotten him interested in science and math.

Playing with the Eagles Band from the sixth to eighth grades, he joined the band's reward trip to Disneyland in sixth and seventh grades and will probably go again this school year. He was co-captain of the drum line in seventh grade and is now captain besides being its representative on a music council, according to Howard. He also dabbled in a school drama club production last year.

Besides playing trumpet and French horn for the Cardozo Eagles, this year he is marching with the Riverbank High Band because the Bruins needed a tuba player.

On the science side, he participated in the Dinner with a Scientist program during his seventh grade year and took the Challenger Space Center field trip. This past summer he took an out-of-school electronics/robotics course at Modesto Junior College.

The list of achievements goes on. In sixth grade he had only two Bs and in seventh grade scored straight As. He has the same record so far for his eighth grade year.

Outside of school he took martial arts classes in sixth and seventh grades. Last year and this he has served on the city-sponsored Teen Youth Action Committee that has been working on the Teen Center design.

"This is a student who breaks the curve, exceeds the curve," said Solis in introducing Hutchins. "He played trumpet in his first year with the band. Next year Mr. Howard said he needed a tuba player so he learned that but said what he really wanted to play was the French horn. So he did that too. And now he's playing tuba for the high school band and learning the banjo. He's an award winning, outstanding student."