After great 2019, looking forward to 2020; Will return to Sand Spring for New Year’s Eve
By John Herndon, KentuckySings.com
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. — Saying that 2019 has been a good year for The Hoppers would be a major understatement.
“Oh yes, it’s been a great year,” Dean Hopper said about 90 minutes before The Hoppers took the stage at Sand Spring Baptist Church Thursday night. “A great year with all the places we have been and we have worked.”
Fans displayed their love for The Hoppers in The Singing News Fan Awards announced at the National Quartet Convention in September.
Favorite Alto: Connie Hopper.
Favorite Soprano: Kim Hopper.
Favorite Young Artist: Karlye Hopper.
The three awards made The Hoppers one of the most decorated groups In the 2019 ceremony, but it’s become the norm for a group that has been singing since 1957.
In addition to the awards, there’s a new CD out, “Grace,” released in conjunction with The National Quartet Convention. “It was released, actually, the week of the convention and has some great songs on it,” Hopper said. “One of my favorites on there is one called ‘Saved,’ that is a very upbeat testimony song.
“Another is called ‘We are America.’ It’s all inclusive. It’s meant for a patriotic tune but it’s all inclusive because we come from all races, creeds, colors, backgrounds, work ethics, but it includes everybody.’”
The Hoppers performed both at Sand Spring with the crowd rising for “We are America” in a show of patriotism.
According to The Hoppers’ website, thehoppers.com, Thursday was the group’s final appearance in Kentucky this year, but they will be just across the Ohio River in Madison, Ind., at North Madison Christian Church on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
With just over two months left in 2019, The Hoppers, and their fans, are looking ahead to big things in 2020. “We have our tours falling in place. And we have our annual Caribbean Cruise that will take place in February. We have an Israel Trip in May and we have an Alaska cruise with Dr. Robert Jeffress that we are joining in July. There is space available on all three trips,” Dean said. “Plus we will have our normal tours and Singing in the Sun in Myrtle Beach (April 20-25) coming up. We have Fan Fest in California (April 30-May 2) coming up. So there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of good things happening.”
Good things were happening Thursday as concert-goers laughed, clapped and sang along with some of The Hoppers’ timeless hits like “Shoutin’ Time” or a tribute to The Happy Goodmans with “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.”
It was a reminder that The Hoppers are still relevant 62 years after the Hall of Fame group began singing. “We serve a relevant savior,” Dean said. “We believe in a relevant gospel. It hasn’t changed. Our bodies might get tired and weary but our message is still strong. It’s what God does through our songs. He changes people you sing to.”
The Hoppers have been, and continue to be vessels to reach the lost and minister to the saved. The lineup of Dean, his wife Kim, his brother Mike and parents Connie and Claude have been singing together for 30 years. Dean and Kim’s daughter, Karlye, joined when she was old enough. She turned 25 Thursday.
The Hoppers continue to build on the tradition of families singing the gospel together. “Family groups have been a major part of this industry for longer than I have been alive,” Dean said. “You can go way back. The quartets are strong but family groups have always played a major part.
“The Speers were the instrument that got this group going. My dad saw The Speers and that was his first concert. That is what inspired him to start this group.
“I don’t know of anyone else that has had the same group together that many years. Whether that means anything or not, I don’t know,” Dean said with a laugh. “We are blessed. It is a good testimony.”
But ultimately the message is the most important thing of a Hoppers concert. “It all begins and ends with the song,” Dean said.
And like 2019, the coming year promises to be one of sharing the message of Christ.
“I am very appreciative of all the accolades that come along,” Dean said. “Those are, I think, God’s way of patting us on the back and saying ‘Good job.’ It’s joy for the journey, if you will, but the real work’s out here in the field and spreading the good news of the gospel and letting people know there is a Heaven to gain.”
Hoppers to return to Sand Spring in 2020
Dean Hopper and Larry Briscoe, who is one of the church members who promote the concerts at Sand Spring, announced that the Hoppers would be returning to Sand Spring in 2020 for a special night.
“We will be here on New Year’s Eve next year,” Dean Hopper said during the concert.
He talked about the date before the concert. “Yes, New Year’s Eve, we are coming back to Sand Spring,” he said. “It’s the first New Year’s Eve we have worked in quite a few years. We were always gone on New Year’s Eve every year up until 10 or 15 years ago.
“This is one place that has always been great for our family. The people are super here. They treat us like home folks. When Larry asked us if we would do that, at first we were kind of hesitant because we have kind of enjoyed being at home on New Year’s Eve after being gone so many years, but we are looking forward to coming back next year.”