What started as an ordinary summer day in 1958 became the start of “America’s Favorite Family of Music.” As Connie Shelton stopped at a traffic light, Claude Hopper knocked on her window and asked her to join he and his family as the Hopper Brothers’ pianist. In the time needed for the light to change from red to green, Claude got the answer he was looking for.
Once Connie came along, the group added her name to theirs and began travelling as the Hopper Brothers and Connie. The two were married a short time later and are now known the world over simply as The Hoppers. Through the years, The Hoppers have seen artists like members of The Talleys and Janet Paschal join their ranks before continuing careers elsewhere. Soon, Claude and Connie found the musicians they needed living under their own roof.
As sons Dean and Michael grew, so did their desire to join the family business. Both joining the group as drummers (Dean would eventually move to Lead as Michael became the full-time percussionist), the Hopper house at one time was simply described as “loud”. The final member of the group joined in 1989. Kim Hopper had been singing with her own family group for ten years before marrying Dean. Now, many people look back at Kim joining The Hoppers as a pivotal point in their history.
Accolades for the group began pouring in during the 90’s. For the first time in their careers, The Hoppers had #1 songs on the radio, award nominations came in, and the group was widely considered as the best in the business. Over time, the group and its members have received more than 60 awards and countless nominations – not including their induction into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame coming in August 2012.
The current lineup for The Hoppers has been together for 23 years and there are no signs of slowing down anytime soon. As Michael put it, “We’ve all signed lifetime contracts”. Although such statements can be said tongue-in-cheek, many Southern Gospel fans are hoping those words ring true. In fact, the group has just announced (see video below) a new project set for a release this fall – just in time for National Quartet Convention in September – and a brand new single, “Count Me In”. In addition, they will also release their first-ever concept video in October.
As veterans of NQC, The Hoppers are undoubtedly one of the must-see artists during the week. While fans are excited to hear them perform and stop by their booth to say hello, the group seems just as eager to spend a week in Louisville, KY. While touring in Georgia, the family found time to share their history, a little bit of family life, and tell you what makes NQC so different.
Follow along with The Hoppers by visiting them here: