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Chris and Darrell Freeman: Making Love Last

Written by Staff on June 17, 2014 – 12:37 pm -

Darrell and Chris Freeman

Darrell and Chris Freeman

By Lorraine Walker  Once upon a time there were two family Gospel singing groups. A single man from one family caught a glimpse of the single lady from the other and… Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. In the late ‘70’s, The Hinsons were one of the most sought-after artists in Southern Gospel. As co-hosts of The Gospel Singing Jubilee, the line-up of Kenny, Ronny and Larry Hinson with Chris Hawkins had a popular sound that generated many fans across the country. At the same time, The Pathways were traveling the roads, singing Country Gospel and comprised of both Darrell and brother Eddie Freeman with their family. However, real love isn’t like the fairy-tales and the courtship of Chris and Darrell took more than just a glimpse. But only a little more! Darrell Freeman had driven to Tampa Bay for a Foosball Tournament, a popular activity at the time. He heard the sound of a gospel group and went across the building to hear The Hinsons. He saw Chris Hawkins for the first time, but they didn’t meet. “The first time we actually spoke was at the Union Hall in Lorain, Ohio,” says Darrell. “The Hinsons performed that night and I drove to be there and truly met her finally. Sparks flew right away as I was attracted to her personality, what she looked like, her voice and just how wonderful she was and still is.”

Wedding Photo.DarrellandChrisFreemanright“The first time I remember meeting Darrell was at a concert when I was with The Hinsons,” says Chris. “I really loved his smile and thought to myself, ‘I’d really like to kiss him.’ We actually met a couple more times before we officially started dating.” Chris lived in Hendersonville, Tennessee and Darrell lived in Sandusky, Ohio, so ‘dating’ meant a long-distance relationship of three years before they were married on August 2, 1980 in Hendersonville. Chris remembers that the Hinsons were all present at the wedding. “Ronnie Hinson’s daughter Kim was my flower girl and his son Bo was an usher and candle lighter.” 

Chris joined the Pathways and soon she and Darrell were on their way to Nashville to begin The Freemans with Darrell’s cousin Joe. The Freemans family expanded, and as their children Misty and Caylon grew older and began to flex their musical wings, Misty joined the group on vocals and acoustic guitar. Caylon joined as the drummer and also added vocals for The Freemans. Together they have continued their Country-Southern-Progressive sound that has made the group unique. Chris had won “Queen Of Gospel Music” while still in her teens with The Hinsons, and her distinctive vocals have brought The Freemans much success with singles such as, “Going Back” and “Hello In Heaven.” Other top hits have included “He Chose Me” and “Three Rugged Crosses,” along with Misty’s debut tune, “What Judas Didn’t Know.” Many top songs and honors from SGM Fan Fair, Absolutely Gospel and the Diamond Awards have followed.

The Freemans

The Freemans

The Freemans have the right combination of vocal and instrumental talent to keep them at the top of their peer group for many years to come. The relationship between Chris and Darrell still seems to be the glue that holds this wonderful family group together. As they hit the road every week to minister to hundreds and thousands of people, this couple seem to radiate a strong love and respect for each other, even after 30-plus years of marriage and singing.

“Traveling together is a marriage in itself,” says Darrell. “Traveling hasn’t really affected our marriage because we are together most of the time anyway. I believe our marriage is as strong as it’s ever been. I think we’ve raised two great kids and for them to be traveling all their lives, they’ve done well.” 

“Traveling and working together does have its advantages and disadvantages,” Chris adds. “I can honestly say that Darrell is not only my husband and business partner but also he is my best friend and so through the many years of working together we have grown stronger in our marriage. Darrell is the leader of this ministry and head of the household but we always make business and personal decisions together.” Read more »

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