Hoppers mark Bowlus return

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Courtesy photo
The Hoppers are, from left, Mike, Kim, Dean, Connie and Claude Hopper. The gospel group will be at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center Saturday.

The Hoppers, considered “legends of gospel music,” will be at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center Saturday evening, part of the Southeast Kansas Christian Artist Series.
The 7 p.m. concert marks the Hoppers’ second appearance at the Bowlus. The group last was in Iola two years ago.
“They are a very versatile group and their concerts are a lot of fun,” said Dee Singer, a SEKCAS board member. “I know the crowd here enjoyed their show a lot.”
The Hoppers have been a force in gospel music for more than 50 years. They were formed when Claude Hopper began singing in 1957 with his four brothers, Will, Steve, Paul and Monroe, and his future wife, Connie.
Singers and musicians came and went through the years, but Claude and Connie were the mainstays of the group. Eventually, their two sons, Dean and Michael, and Dean’s wife, Kim, joined.
They gained a nationwide following and were invited to sing at President Reagan’s inauguration in 1981.
Their accolades include being a 10-time winner of the Favorite Mixed Group award from the National Quartet Convention, and six-time Mixed Vocal Group of the Year of the Southern Gospel Music Association.
In addition, Kim Hopper was named Favorite Soprano and Favorite Female Artist at the National Quartet Convention in 2009.
Advance tickets for the concert are $13 for orchestra seating and $11 for the balcony and are available by calling Singer at 365-7496. Tickets also will be available for $14 and $12, respectively, at the door.
The concert will benefit Iola’s Community Pantry.
Members of the Iola Area Ministerial Association will serve as ushers and audience members are asked to bring one nonperishable food item for the pantry.
“The Ministerial Association has always been so supportive of our concerts and we are always looking for ways to help them,” Singer said. “January is always such a slow month for food drives, so we thought it’d be a good way to help.”