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The Hoppers Bio
With humble beginnings as rural farm-boys, The Hoppers were organized in 1957 by founding member and owner Claude Hopper along with brothers; Will, Steve, Paul, and Monroe. The Hoppers memoir, After All These Years, tells the heartwarming story of how the group later came to be known as The Hopper Brothers and Connie. In the summer of 1958, Claude Hopper took a lunch break from his part-time job at the A & P Grocery store in Madison, NC, taking a walk to the corner. Connie Shelton was driving in the little downtown section of Madison and drove up to the light at the corner, saw Claude, and glanced over his way. "It was my big chance to ask her to play piano for us!" says Claude. Smiling from the corner, Claude motioned for Connie to roll her window down and hollered: "Hey, Connie! My brothers and I are singing together in a gospel quartet. Would you be interested in playing for us?" Connie answered, "I'll have to think about it." Then, the light turned green and she found herself blurting out: "Uh-oh-okay!"
Over the years, the Hopper Brothers and Connie (now known as The Hoppers) welcomed and mentored many musicians and singers who have gone on to their acclaimed service in Christian music. Connie and Claude's two sons, Dean and Michael, joined the group full-time as lead vocalist and drummer/vocalist and business leaders in the industry.
Claude and Connie Hopper celebrated 50 years of marriage this year and were recognized on the Harmony Honors television show broadcast on TBN. In September 2011, the SGMG board recognized Claude and Connie's significant contributions to the music industry business with the SGMG Lifetime Achievement Honor presented by Clarke Beasley during the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, KY.
In 1981, The Hoppers performed gospel music at the Religious Inaugural Celebration for President Ronald Reagan.
While The Hoppers achieved tremendous success through the first three decades of ministry, the era of the '90s began a new leg of their journey with the addition of Dean's wife, Kim, as soprano and a streak of number one songs including: "Milk and Honey," "Here I Am," "Anchor to the Power of the Cross," and "Mention My Name". The pace of the group, with God's help, was hitting new strides. In addition to radio success, The Hoppers have received numerous accolades including Mixed Group of the Year from the Heart's Aflame Awards, Diamond Awards, Singing News Fan Awards (12 times, including this year 2011), and the SGMA; as well as multiple Dove Award nominations. In 1998, Connie recognized with the prestigious Marvin Norcross award, given to those with excellence in "devotion to family, service to church, and contributions to the gospel music industry." Michael received the Musician of the Year award from the Singing News Fan Awards, along with Kim who has received the title of Female Vocalist and Favorite Soprano for well over a decade, including this year, 2011. Connie Hopper inducted into the SGMA Hall of Fame 2010 Class at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN. Connie authored several books including the story of her healing from cancer. She also writes an inspirational story each month for the Singing News Magazine.
The Hoppers have traveled the world spreading the Gospel while performing favorites like "Jerusalem," "Yes I Am," "Shoutin' Time," "Yaweh," "I've Come Too Far" and many others. The group has always tried to remain stalwart in their sharing of hope and God's unmatchable love, while keeping their faith in Christ and family. Their prayer is to extend this message to all who do not know him, and encourage those who do.
While keeping a full-time performance schedule, they are business leaders in music publishing, concert promotions and part owners in the National Quartet Convention (NQC) working hard to expand gospel music for generations to come.
Known as America's Favorite Family of Gospel Music, The Hoppers are favorites on the Gaither Homecoming series. They are grateful for the popularity that has come to the music they love, bringing a new audience to the lasting message through gospel music and the vision of Bill & Gloria Gaither and the Homecoming Friends.
THE HOPPERS ACCOLADES
Favorite Mixed Group SN 1997-98-99-2000-01-02-03-05-08-09-10-11
Mixed Vocal Group SGMA 1982-83-98-99-2000-01
"Hearts-A-Flame" Mixed Group Award 1995-96-97
Favorite Alto Award Singing News Award 1998-99-2000
Marvin Norcross Award SN 1998
Queen of Gospel Music 1983-84
Person of the year 2005
Female Vocalist "Hearts-A-Flame" 1995-96-97
Female Vocalist SGMA 1999
Soprano Singing News Award
Female Vocalist SN 1999-2000-01-07-08-09-10-11
Female Vocalist Voice Diamonds 1999
Favorite Musician SN 2001-2005
Appeared on "Touched By An Angel"
Favorite Artist Web Site 2005