The Hoppers are one of Gospel music’s best-loved families. They have been given awards and accolades and number-one songs for many years as audiences embraced their powerful harmonies. After 57 years, they are still going strong and pause for a moment to remember the past, live in the moment and look forward to the future during a conversation with SGN Scoops. Excitement abounds as each of the Hoppers speaks of their history, current happenings and possibilities in the years to come.
“I remember when we started; we’d have probably paid somebody to let us sing,” Connie Hopper laughs. “We went to a church one night and sang and got $12.73 in the offering plate.” Needless to say, much has changed since the Hoppers starting performing in 1957. They were then known as the Hopper Brothers and Connie. “In 1970, we quit our jobs and went on the road full time,” she remembers. “It was three of the brothers and me.”
Connie joined the group as the pianist and eventually married Claude Hopper. She began singing when Claude’s brother, Steve, left the group. “We have been so fortunate to support ourselves through the work God has called us to do, and none of that has been by accident, nor any of our own doings,” Claude explains. “Every day that we are blessed to travel is attributed to the support and prayers of each individual audience. We’re like a turtle sitting on a fencepost. You know he did not get there by himself.”
Connie wasn’t the only current group member to come on board as a musician. Claude and Connie’s son, Dean, signed on as the drummer at the age of seven. “The only thing I knew was that I wanted to play drums, and I would do anything I could to play music,” Dean points out. “I had a chance to play all these guys’ big (drum) kits – Mark Ellerbee (of the Oak Ridge Boys), Rick Goodman, Ronnie Sego and Billy Blackwood. That’s when the big bands were the big thing. Everybody had a four-piece band.”
Dean lived the dream. He vividly remembers flying home from Portland, Ore., by himself as an eight-year-old in order get back to school after the group was out on a lengthy road trip. “Dean would sit and watch Ricky Goodman and different ones play the drums,” says Connie. “He’s always been a good boy. He worked and helped his daddy on the farm, but he wanted to travel all the time. But we kept him in school.” Dean began correspondence school after ninth grade and has been on the road ever since. Dean adds, “I played drums for everybody, played on lots of records, and played on stage with everybody that would ask.” He later played the bass guitar and eventually moved into a more visible role as a vocalist when his uncle Will Hopper left the group.
“(Claude) really leaned on Roger Talley a lot. Roger was an incredible part of this ministry for 10 years. Roger said, ‘you need to go ahead and put Dean into that part.’ At that time, I would sing one every now and again.”
When Dean – who is seven years older than Michael – began playing the bass guitar, the door swung open for Michael. Roger Talley and Roger Fortner were also a part of the Hoppers’ band at the time.
“Coming in as a 13-year-old kid, I was fortunate that I arrived when everybody still had a band,” Michael noted. “Every weekend, we would go out, and I could stand on the side of the stage and watch people I respected. I’m thankful.” However, he admittedly didn’t have the same passion for it as quickly as Dean did.
“Michael was a different story,” Connie explaines. “Michael wanted to stay at home and ride his motorcycle and hang out with grandpa. After Dean went out on the road, that just left Michael at home. His guidance counselor called me and said, ‘Michael is smart, but he’s just not doing his schoolwork. I think that’s because you guys are gone.’ We put him in correspondence (school). He was 13 years old when he started.”
Michael adds, “I didn’t envision a whole lot at 13 other than my dirt bike and my grandfather. I just loved spending time with my dad’s dad. I spent a whole lot of time with him. He was my best friend. I’ve been blessed.”
Michael is now singing the bass part during the majority of most concerts. “It seems to be working,” Michael says. “They like us all up there as a family.”
The current Hopper brothers have assumed different and more extensive roles in the day-to-day responsibility of the group. “I am proud, very proud,” Claude emphasizes. “We never pushed them to be a part of this as boys. But now, seeing what they bring to the group and family as a whole, I don’t know how we ever did it without them. Both are very talented in their own right and in very different facets. Where one is weak, the other picks up the slack, and vice versa. They know how to pry the very best from Mother and I, which is a wonderful asset to me as both a co-worker and a dad. God knew what he was doing when he blessed us with them.”
Connie adds, “We never said, ‘this is what you’re going to do.’ At this point, if one of them were to say ‘this has been great, but I’m tired of this road,’ that would be fine with me. I thank God for them. They’re just great, and they’re talented.” Read more »
Tags: Claude Hopper, Connie Hopper, Craig Harris, Dean Hopper, Karlye Hopper, Kim Hopper, Michael Hopper, sgn scoops, The Hoppers
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On this week’s edition of SGN Scoops Radio with Jonathan Edwards, we have great gospel music from the Hoppers, Adam Crabb, Wilburn and Wilburn and the Pine Ridge Boys, as well as bluegrass music from Canaan’s Crossing and the Isaacs, plus much more. Jean Grady of Gospel Music Today has a CD review of Carla Bragg. We introduce you to a group from Missouri called The Ascension Quartet. Make sure to join us for two hours of great fun on SGN Scoops Radio. The Ascension Quartet has a new CD release! www.ascensionqt.com
SGN Scoops Radio can be heard on the following stations:
WVSG Radio: wvsgradio.com, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4:00pm EST.
Radiocia: www.radiocia.us on Tuesday at 10:00 am and 9:00 pm CST and Saturdays at 8:00 pm CST.
Gospel Hour Radio: www.gospelhourradio.com on Saturdays at 3:00 pm CST and re-airs on
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:00 pm CST.
WTGF 90.5 FM, in Pace, Florida, Saturdays and Sundays at 9:00pm EST.
WPIL 91.7 FM in Heflin, Alabama, Fridays from 10:00am -12:00pm CST.
KJSL106.7FM Fort Smith, Arkansas, Sundays at 4:00pm. and streaming on our website, kjslradio.com
WUCG 93.1FM Blairsville, Georgia at 8:00 am Sunday morning and 9:00pm Sunday night.
Cowboy Gospel Radio internet station http://www.cowboygospelnetradio.com/ 8:00 am Sunday morning
and 9:00pm Sunday night.
Contact Jonathan to bring SGN Scoops Radio to your station: email@example.com.
About Jonathan Edwards: Jonathan Edwards began his radio career on KWFC 89.1 FM in Springfield, Mo. At KWFC he worked in news, sales and was an on air personality, creating the very popular Ozark Gospel Showcase. He has been nominated for 2 Singing News Fan Awards and garnered the coveted Paul Heil Award from the 2012 Diamond Awards. He travels full time with Faith’s Journey and currently hosts the syndicated radio show SGN Scoops Radio.
For more information and free music, click on to http://www.sgnscoops.net
Tags: Ascension Quartet, SGN Scoops Radio With Jonathan Edwards, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel Radio, The Hoppers
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Grammy Winner Jason Crabb Leads Two Day Event Including The Hoppers, Karen Peck & New River, Brian Free & Assurance and more at Country Legend’s Historic Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN
Nashville, TN – The Loretta Lynn Ranch is preparing to welcome Gospel music fans from allacross the country to the second annual “Loretta Lynn’s Gospel Music Festival” held at herHurricane Mills, TN ranch September 13-14, 2014. The inaugural event last year was a huge success and organizers are anticipating another wonderful weekend.
Tags: aaron wilburn, Archie Watkins & Smoky Mountain Reunion, Brian Free & Assurance, Jason Crabb, Karen Peck & New River, Michael Combs, Rambo McGuire, Singing Cookes, southern gospel, Southern Gospel News, the booth brothers, the freemans, The Hoppers, Tony Gore & Majesty
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The weekend will be filled with great gospel music, chapel services, special matinees, a special breakfast club, comedy showcase, and more – all designed to bring the attendees up close and personal with the artists.
The Great Western Fan Festival Talent Contest, held on Saturday morning, will award a Grand Prize of a recording package to one winner. A 1st place winner will be selected in three categories – soloist, duet/trio and group.
An all-star lineup of gospel greats will perform during the weekend including The Hoppers, Triumphant Quartet, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, The Martins, The Browns, Tim Lovelace, Kim Hopper, TaRanda Greene, RSV, California Melody Boys, and Liberty Quartet.
For tickets, more information and to connect with the festival, call iTickets at 1-800-965-9324 or visit the following sites:
Tags: California Melody Boys, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, great western fan festival, Greater Vision, Kim Hopper, legacy five, RSV, Southern Gospel News, Taranda Greene, The Browns, The Hoppers, The Martins, Tim Lovelace, triumphant quartet
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Harrisburg, Illinois James Rainey Productions announced today that his company is embarking on a new chapter in their line of quality Gospel Music with a brand-new recording studio and label in Harrisburg, Illinois. James is enthusiastic about the future of this studio, and the artists that currently are recording at this amazing facility. The mission of James’s studio is to provide excellence and professionalism in recording while at the same time making the their efforts cost effective to Gospel artists.
James has had over 25 years experience in Gospel Music as the pianist and arranger for such groups as The Singing Americans, The Trailblazers, The Hoppers and The Greenes. This new studio promises to deliver innovative recorded product from a plethora of gospel music’s developing artists. Another aspect to his production studio is the inception of a brand new recording label: Declaration 212 Productions. Some may ask, ” What does that mean? ” Declaration of course is making a statement . 212 – At 211 degrees, water is just hot. At 212, it produces steam. And with steam you can power a train. James believes that the extra degree makes all the difference. We declare that we are that one degree – we will not stop with 211, but push to achieve that extra degree.
Headlining the new label is Steve Hess and Southern Salvation. This trio promises to be one the greatest trios ever to hit the southern gospel market. With a name like HESS, it doesn’t get any better than that.
Also, John Nimmo is finishing up what looks like to be the most unique Christmas CD ever. John and James have combined some of music’s greatest moments into traditional Christmas songs, giving them a total new flavor. There is even a sax solo on one of the songs from the great Phil Kenzie, who has played for the Beatles, Rod Stewart, The Eagles, the famous baker street sax solo, and much more. The drummer is Tim Horsley who has played for many of country’s greatest stars. Miss Natalie Cameron, friends with Vince Gill, is doing the background vocals.
The label is accepting demos from new and upcoming artists. You can contact James about this exciting new studio and label. Phone 304-421-1278 firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: james michael rainey Website: theraineysmusic.com
Tags: gospel music, James Rainey, Southern Gospel News, The Hoppers, The Singing Americans
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LIMITED TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR ‘A NIGHT OF HONOR’ FOR CLAUDE & CONNIE HOPPER PRESENTED BY ABRAHAM PRODUCTIONSWritten by SGN Scoops Staff on October 8, 2013 – 8:50 am -
(Nashville, Tenn.) – A limited number of tickets are still available for ‘A Night of Honor’ for Claude & Connie Hopper set for October 11, 2013 in Greensboro, NC at Crosspoint Church. The concert, presented by Abraham Productions, will feature an all-star line up set to pay tribute to Claude & Connie for their years of dedication and faithfullness to the call of God on their lives.
Set to perform during the evening are Ivan Parker, Karen Peck & New River, Talleys, Whisnants and The Hoppers.
For more information on available tickets, please CLICK HERE.
The Hoppers were formed in 1975 in Madison, NC and have grown to become ‘America’s Favorite Family of Gospel Music’ traveling the globe presenting the Gospel message for over 55 years. Showing no signs of slowing down, today the line-up consists of family members Claude & Connie, son Dean and his wife, Kim, and son Mike Hopper.
The Hoppers are members of the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame, SGMA Hall of Fame and have been honored with multiple Gospel music industry awards.
Their latest project, Count Me In, was released earlier this year and contains 11 songs including “I Wish We’d All Been Ready’ to which they recorded a concept video. (CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO)
Connect with The Hoppers:
Tags: Crosspoint Church, Gospel Music Hall of Fame, ivan parker, Karen Peck & New River, SGMA Hall of Fame, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel News, talleys, The Hoppers, Whisnants
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(Nashville, Tenn.) – A limited number of tickets are still available for the inaugural Loretta Lynn’s Gospel Music Festival set to be held September 28 – 29, 2013 at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in historic Hurricane Mills, TN. Organizers report the event is nearing SOLD OUT status!
Scheduled to appear during the two-day event are Mark Lowry, The Hoppers, The Isaacs, Karen Peck & New River, Gold City, Rambo-McGuire, The Singing Cookes, The Freemans, Brian Free & Assurance, Michael Combs, Archie Watkins & Smoky Mountain Reunion, and The Sneed Family.
Loretta Lynn will appear on Saturday, September 28, 2013 performing a rare set of Gospel music flavored with some of her biggest hits. The hills will ring with the glorious sounds during the two-day inspirational event as music lovers converge onto the ranch.
For those arriving early on Friday night, September 27, 2013, there will be a special bon-fire and sing-a-long beginning at 8:00 PM.
Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN is the perfect destination for this amazing weekend of Gospel music. The full service RV park features primitive camping, pools, canoeing, paddle boats and more. Guests can also tour Loretta’s plantation home, the Butcher Holler Home Place, and her brand-new 18,000 square foot “Coal Miner’s Daughter” museum.
Tickets are on sale now and more information can be found online at LorettaLynn.com or by calling the ranch at 931-296-7700.
Tags: Archie Watkins & Smoky Mountain Reunion, Brian Free & Assurance, gold city, Karen Peck & New River, Loretta Lynn, Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, Mark Lowry, Michael Combs, Rambo McGuire, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel News, the freemans, The Hoppers, the isaacs, The Singing Cookes, The Sneed Family
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Louisville, KY – The 56th Annual National Quartet Convention is now in the history books. For seven consecutive days, Southern Gospel Music fans from more than 40 states and at least a half dozen countries experienced the city of Louisville, KY, one more time. The week-long event officially concluded on Saturday, September 14, as production trucks were packed, exhibit booths disassembled, cars, vans and buses loaded, and the Kentucky Fair & Expo Center silent once again, marking the end of an era – the end of the National Quartet Convention in Louisville.
Southern Gospel Music’s premier event first moved to Louisville from the city of Nashville in 1994. There were those who were not in favor of the move from Music City USA. Even Convention Board members admitted that the move was quite bold. Louisville’s Freedom Hall held twice as many seats as the Muncipal Auditorim in Nashville, TN, which had been the NQC home for more than a decade. Fortunately, for the NQC Board, fans, artists and industry members, the move proved to be the right one, as the 1994 NQC set record attendance figures, with evening concert attendance more than doubling and the exhibit area nearly quadrupling. Since arriving in Louisville, the Convention has experienced unprecedented growth, with many special events taking place over the past two decades.
Many Convention attendees, including artists and fans have enjoyed all 20 years in Louisville. While bittersweet sentiments could be felt throughout the 2013 NQC, an air of excitement was also present. Memories of Louisville will forever remain in hearts; nevertheless, eager anticipation awaits for those who make preparations to converge upon the city that will soon be the NQC’s new home. According to Clarke Beasley, NQC Executive Director, the final year in Louisville was a great success. “This year many nights had greater attendance than last year, and our subscriber based webcast set an all-time record,” Beasley stated. “Fans attending enjoyed another wonderful year in Louisville, but there is obviously eager anticipation for next year in Pigeon Forge, as advances for next year’s seating and hotel reservations set advance sales records. So we are very excited as the NQC begins a new era.”
The 2013 Convention provided many special memories during it’s final year in Louisville. Many of Gospel music’s most popular recording artists were featured at this year’s event, including multi-award winning recording artists like The Gaither Vocal Band, The Gatlins, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Jason Crabb, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, The Isaacs, Gordon Mote, The Booth Brothers, The Kingdom Heirs, The Hoppers, Greater Vision and The Mark Trammel Quartet. Additionally, the event featured noted speakers such as Ken Davis, Dr David Jeremiah, Dr Johnny Hunt and Dennis Swanberg. As attendees reminisced about the past 20 years in Louisville, they look forward to making many new memories in Pigeon Forge. “I am really excited,” one long-time Convention attendee stated. “I’ve been to Louisville every year, and I attended the Convention in Nashville before Louisville. In fact, I haven’t missed a year since 1983, and I don’t plan to miss being in Pigeon Forge in 2014. Wherever the music is, I plan to go!”
The 2014 National Quartet Convention will take place at the Leconte Center in Pigeon Forge, TN, as Gospel Music’s premier annual event will take place the week of September 21-27, 2013. Visit www.nqconline.com, or call 1-800-845-8499 for complete information.
Tags: Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Dr Johnny Hunt, Dr. David Jeremiah, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Gaither Vocal Band, gordon mote, Greater Vision, Jason Crabb, Ken Davis, Kentucky Fair & Expo Center, national Quartet Convention, southern gospel, Southern Gospel News, the booth brothers, The Gatlins, The Hoppers, the isaacs, The Kingdom Heirs
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SGN Scoops is on location at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville Kentucky all this week. Rob Patz and Rhonda Frye invite all attendees to visit their booth at number 247, talk to them about the magazine and see who is being interviewed for a live Scoops TV taping or the next magazine issue.
Already this week, the Scoops booth has been home to a visit from Guy Penrod, Karen Peck and New River, The Hoppers, The Nelons, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Greater Vision, Brian Free and Assurance, and many others.
The National Quartet Convention 2013 is the place to be for everyone who loves Gospel music to hear and see their favorite artists, purchase all the latest recordings and meet the industry movers and shakers. SGN Scoops is proud to be a part of this event and invites all attendees to drop by the booth to meet the Scoops staff. We would love to meet you all!
Tags: brian free and assurance, ernie haase and signature sound, Greater Vision, guy penrod, karen peck and new river, national Quartet Convention, nqc, NQC 2013, Rhonda Frye, rob patz, sgn scoops, The Hoppers, the nelons
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As the National Quartet Convention prepares to move from Louisville, Kentucky to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, several SGN Scoops magazine staff writers share their memories of NQC past.
Lou Wills Hildreth shares: My family –the Wills Family of Ft. Worth, Texas–sang at the first NQC in Memphis, and many years thereafter. I have only missed one NQC in all 56 years of the event. Howard and I will be greeting friends this year at the Scoops Booth. Praying God’s blessing on every song and testimony!!!!
Dixie Phillips shares: When I was 16, my Mom and Dad started attending church. The new pastor was an avid southern gospel fan. He and his wife invited my parents and me to attend NQC in Memphis. I was so excited when my parents agreed to go. I will never forget when Ben Speer sang “The Brush.” My life was changed forever. I was hooked. Southern Gospel Music is music with a message and I am so honored to be a part of it.
Lorraine Walker shares: I began to attend the NQC when it was still in Nashville. I remember a few highlights as well as the long cement slope to the basement exhibit hall . I remember hearing one of the last times that JD Sumner and the Stamps sang together, the announcement of Kim Hopper Greene joining the Hoppers, Tony Greene’s proposal to Taranda Kiser, as well as what would be the last NQC of Jake Hess, Vestal and Howard Goodman, George Younce and Roger Bennett. I remember watching a new family group called The Crabb Family come on stage with their whole church in one section of the auditorium cheering them on. I am sorry to be missing this last year in Louisville but I know great things are in store for future NQC’s!
Craig Harris shares: Moments and memories are what life in general is all about. They are what make anything that is important to you special. This is my 14th year of attending the National Quartet Convention and it’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. A one-song spot on the main stage on Tuesday evening surprisingly took me back to some of my earliest of days at NQC here in Louisville, which is the only NQC venue that this Southern Gospel follower has ever experienced.
As the Stephens Family stepped out on the stage, I had no idea that the soprano singer – Melody Stephens – was going to lead me on a brief stroll down Memory Lane. Stephens was the soprano for the Nelons when I first started following Southern Gospel music. I didn’t grow up around the genre as so many did. I simply discovered it – with the assistance of a few friends and borrowed CDs – around 1998. But the Nelons were one of those groups that came to the main stage in those early days and just brought it.
I was still learning and understanding the dynamics of Southern Gospel music when I attended my first NQC in 2000. I only stayed for two nights that year. NQC has been a week-long event ever since. That configuration of the Nelons – with Melody, Paul Lancaster (one of my favorite singers) and Dan Clark (who had a pleasant-sounding bass tone that simply fit the group well) – was probably my favorite. Songs like “Where Sin Had Been Pardoned,” “He Called Me Out,” and the vastly-underrated “You Ain’t Seen the Last of Jesus” suckered me in to this genre of music hook, line and sinker. In fact, “He Called Me Out” was on the NQC Live 1999 DVD and CD (along with the Perrys unbelievable version of “When He Spoke”), prompting me to want to make the journey from the Nashville area to Louisville to see what this Quartet Convention was really all about.
The Nelons followed that era up with more great singers like Katy Van Horn Peach and more great songs, such as “He Rolled Back the Stone.” They are still producing great music today and undoubtedly making memories for some person out there who is just figuring out what NQC is all about. The Stephens family brought some memories back to life for me on Tuesday night. I hope that you all are not only having fond remembrances this week but are also making new memories. Don’t waste an opportunity to truly live and experience all that there is to offer. Have a great week and simply enjoy.
Tags: Ben Speer, Craig Harris, Dixie Phillips, George Younce, Howard Goodman, Jake Hess, JD Sumner, Katy Van Horn Peach, Kim Hopper Greene, Lorraine Walker, Lou Wills Hildreth, Melody Stephens, national Quartet Convention, nqc, NQC 2013, Roger Bennett, The Crabb Family, The Greenes, The Hoppers, the nelons, the perrys, The Stephens Family, Vestal Goodman
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