In 1957, a group of farm boys in the Hopper family left the fields and began touring as the Hopper Brothers Quartet. In 1958, Connie Shelton joined the group, which toured as the Hopper Brothers and Connie. Of course, Connie went on to marry Claude Hopper and they had some little ones, leading to the forming of the modern Hoppers, one of the most popular groups on Gaither Homecoming videos and Southern Gospel stages around the world.
Now, Claude and Connie's sons Dean and Mike are continuing the legacy with the formation of a new quartet, Hopper Brothers 2.0, whose same-titled debut album released at the National Quartet Convention in September. Dean and Mike, singing lead and bass respectively, are joined by Matt Griffith and Nathan Kistler.
On baritone is Matt, known as “Matty G.,” who joined the Hoppers in 1996 as a roadie and has worked for countless Southern Gospel artists since then. Singing tenor is Nathan Kistler, a pastor’s kid who has been part of mission work in 27 countries and has been a vocal coach for contestants on “The X Factor.”
Dean says that this all came together last fall when Connie and Kim Hopper were both off the road. One weekend in November, they had bus problems and Matt, who had worked with them in the past, said he would help. He brought the bus to Indiana and drove the rest of the weekend.
That Sunday night, Karlye Hopper and Nathan Kistler were both filling in for Connie. The plan was to sing the Gaither song, "I believe In A Hill Called Calvary," but the pitch was not right for Karlye's range. Matt volunteered to sing it with them, and Dean was relieved, knowing he could "sing like crazy." Matt went to the bus and found the song on YouTube to rehearse during the intermission, then the group performed it.
Dean reports, "By the middle of the song the people were on their feet not for us, but praising God. It was really incredible that first night and has been every night since. Kind of a God thing from the beginning!"
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