(Nashville, Tennessee) – October 2011 – Freshly back from sold-out European concerts throughout Ireland, Scotland and Holland, The Hoppers repacked their bags for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – the home of both Dollywood and the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.
With excitement still fresh in the wake of Connie Hopper’s induction last year into the SGMA Hall of Fame, this year’s trip to the 2011 Singing News Fan Awards in Pigeon Forge produced a stunning triple crown win for the family.
The Hoppers’ awards of 2011 included:
• Favorite Mixed Group – an honor The Hoppers have now garnered as a 12th time recipient.
• Favorite Female Vocalist – Kim’s 8th acceptance of this top honor.
• Favorite Soprano Female Vocalist – Kim’s 14th repeat honor in this category.
Claude and Connie Hopper were also this year honored in Louisville during the National Quartet Convention with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Honor by the Southern Gospel Music Guild. SGMG President Clarke Beasley noted at a reception of industry VIP and friends, “Claude and Connie Hopper are the ultimate examples of class and dignity. The impact they’ve had in Gospel Music and in the lives of countless numbers of people is immeasurable.”
Equally exciting as Singing News Fan Awards and new honors for the group was their encounter of the throngs of Southern Gospel fans throughout Europe who eagerly packed The Hoppers’ overseas concert schedules. Many were seeing them in person for the first time after years of following their legendary family history and music. The special blessing of their time with friends new and old who live an ocean away was not lost on group matriarch Connie: “It is amazing that whether we are singing to an audience of Irish, Scottish, or Dutch, the presence of the Lord unites us all. Though we were nearly 4,000 miles from home, we were made to feel ‘at home’ as these wonderful people throughout the Europe tour opened their hearts to us as if we were family.”
Added Dean: “There were so many spiritually overwhelming moments for us. We were touched by the warmth of the people and the love they have for God and the music we were raised on back home.”
Capping the thoughts on their European successes, Claude Hopper – known for his homespun stories and Southern gentleman dialect – might have summed it up ideally: “It’s a big feat for a farm boy to make his way across the ocean! It’s an even bigger feat for that same farm boy to tell his jokes and get such great laughs out of those gracious folks in Europe who might have some trouble deciphering this Carolina dialect. After 54 years and many miles, I got to experience time with people who once seemed eons away – and now have become familiar faces that we love and appreciate.”
The Hoppers are already planning return concerts in Europe, including adding appearances in Norway and Sweden. They are also scheduled to perform in concert in South Africa in 2012