By MARIA CASTELLUCCI
The 23rd Annual Chosen Few Old School Reunion, a daylong celebration of house music hosted by the Chosen Few DJs, will be held July 6 at Jackson Park.
The huge event has performances by the Chosen Few DJs, a group of popular house music deejays who came together in the 1980s with founder Wayne Williams, performances from other talents, food and a welcoming family atmosphere.
What started out as a small reunion picnic with the members of the Chosen Few DJs has grown into a huge annual celebration of music attracting thousands of people.
Tony Hatchett, a Chosen Few member and former resident of Hyde Park, explained that the picnic began as an intimate family gathering of 75 people on the fourth of July with his friends and family, including his brother Andre Hatchett, also a member of the Chosen Few, at the park behind the museum.
“It started as something to do on the Fourth of July,” Andre Hatchett said during a phone interview with the Herald.
However, it gradually grew. “The second year, instead of 75 people about 150 people came out there,” Tony Hatchett said.
Now the celebration attracts more than 30,000 people.
Andre Hatchett explains that this is not something they planned at all.
“We didn’t know it was going to happen like this. We didn’t know what we started here,” Andre Hatchett said. “All the years I’ve been doing this I’m totally amazed to see all these people.”
Alan King, a member of the Chosen Few and resident of Hyde Park, said the picnic just grew by word of mouth.
“It’s an amazing thing. It started really small … Its been amazing how its grown really organically through word of mouth … and [through] social media,” King said.
Chicago is seen as the birthplace of house music and the annual reunion picnic by the Chosen Few DJs attracts people from all over the nation and world to hear authentic house music.
“[The picnic] is authentic house music in the sense that you have DJ promoters who were there from the beginning. It’s sort of an authentic experience,” King said.
The Chosen Few members are brothers Tony and Andre Hatchett, King, Williams, Jesse Saunders, Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn. All grew up on the South Side of Chicago and were deejays around the city.
Their strong roots of deejaying in the ‘80s in the South Side, specifically Hyde Park, is what drives the Chosen Few to keep the annual reunion in Chicago and close to Hyde Park.
“It’s always been important to stay in Hyde Park,” King said.
Tony said, “One thing we never considered was moving from the South Side. Our roots are deejaying. We brought house music to the South Side of Chicago.”
Tony Hatchett said that the show offers something for everyone and is a unique experience, embellished with authentic house music and family atmosphere.
“If you want to hear or be a part of something that’s never been done before in house music you come to this picnic,” Tony Hatchett said.