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Dean Hopper Speaks from the Heart
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The firstborn son of Claude and Connie, Dean Hopper originally found a place in the family group as the drummer, but moved to the lead vocalist position in 1981. Dean also plays guitar and loves to ride his motorcycle, when he's not touring with the Hoppers or recording projects at the Farm, a full-service studio he opened with his brother Mike. He also stays busy working with the Hopper Heritage Foundation and its annual Golf Classic. And that's all in addition to being Kim's husband and the father of two active girls! But somehow he found a few moments to speak with Homecoming about what has inspired him lately.

Since our current issue of Homecoming is all about the Word of God, can you share a favorite Bible verse with us?

DEAN: Something that really helped me through a time of stress several years ago, back before I was even married, is in Philippians 4: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. Let your moderation be known until all men. The Lord is at hand.” Those verses really did a great thing in my life; it seems so simple, but it just made a difference. I had this hump that I couldn’t get over, and that really helped me to do so.

HOMECOMING: Have you had anything happen on tour recently that really impacted you?

DEAN: We had a girl one night who had just recently given her heart to the Lord—she’s about 15, I think. We’ve got these arm bands that say “God loves you, He always has, He always will,” and Dad walked off the stage and just gave one to this girl.  The associate pastor came to us later and said, “You probably don’t realize what you did, but this girl was sexually abused by her father and her stepfather and she just came clean in youth group the other night. She had just recently given her heart to the Lord, and what you did just gave her a stamp of encouragement.”

Then the same week, I walked back during the break and met a lady who was probably in her late thirties. We were at a Wesleyan camp, and she had met us at the gate when we arrived and welcomed us.  I thought she worked there, but she said she and her family were there for the weekend. That night, I dedicated Kim’s song, “Peace in the Midst of the Storm,” to her for helping us. I noticed she teared up, and later on, I gave her one of those bracelets. Her husband came by and said she had tried to commit suicide two weeks prior because she has depression really badly. He said it was amazing that we sang that song, and that she really related to the line, “I will not be lost at sea.” Then when she got the bracelet, it was like God was just saying that night, “You are important.” It was so targeted to those two individuals, and we didn’t know a thing about it. God picked those two out. In a crowd of 1,000 people, it’s amazing that we would have handed the bracelets out to those two specific people.

Those stories must really be motivating to you, in addition to the group’s success…

DEAN: Well, there’s nothing wrong with the popularity, as long as you use it for the right reasons and not the wrong reasons. But if it wasn’t for things like this that encourage your soul, then the other stuff would wear out and make you burn out so fast. I’ve been doing this for 35-plus years in a fast-paced way, and so every week, I want a new reason to get on the bus. I love what I do—don’t get me wrong! But the things like that are what really give me the satisfaction that “Oh, wow! God’s still using something that we do.”

HOMECOMING: Are there any “bucket list” items the group hopes to accomplish?

DEAN: Well, several friends, like Mr. Gaither and other folks, have helped us achieve some of those “bucket list” items. As far as performing . . . we’ve performed in the smallest of churches — a church in Jasper, Texas, was one. We appeared for a guy who had just come back from Iraq, and this guy who was working over there brought us into his church. He paid all our bills, and we sang to about 48 people. And that’s OK! We’ve done that before. And then we’ve sung with the Gaithers in the big arenas and with Dr. David Jeremiah in the big arenas, with 15,000 people. So those grounds have pretty much been covered. Singing for one of my favorite presidents, President Reagan, was another high point that was pretty overwhelming. So I don’t, at this point, have something like that in mind. We are writing a road map for some goals for the group over the next year or two, but we’ll give more information about that down the road.

We look forward to hearing about that! Any family news to share with us?

DEAN: My daughter Karlye had a 4.0 average last year in school, and this is her senior year in high school, so she’s doing really well.  She’s singing too — had a song on a Hopper album that played on the radio this year.  But she really wants to write — she’s a great writer and has written several things for Homecoming and for the new Gaither Homecoming Bible.  She’s also very quick-witted, and a great cook too! But she’s got such a soft heart. And my little girl, Lexus, stays busy—she’s full of energy! Overall, all is well with the family . . . I’m a blessed individual.

Homecoming: Well, that's great...we wish your family continued blessings. Thanks so much for taking a break to speak with us!

Thank you — it was my pleasure.

Enjoy this special video preview from the Hoppers' latest album, Count Me In, releasing in October 2012!

Click for more articles featuring Southern Gospel and Homecoming favorites, the Hoppers!