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Dean Hopper was born into the Southern gospel way of life

Posted: Mar. 6th, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Gospel Music Festival

February 28th marks the start of a Gospel Music Festival in Phoenix, Arizona. Drawing from the cultural and religious heritage of the south, an organizer named Landon Been describes Southern gospel as a fusion of progressive and inspirational styling. The event mirrors a similar event in California, and performers take great pride in upholding their traditions.

His father, Claude, formed the Hoppers in 1957 with brothers Will, Steve, Paul and Monroe. A year later, Claude Hopper invited Connie Shelton to play piano for the group that went on to be billed as America’s favorite family of gospel music.


Claude and Connie were married and had two sons, Dean and Michael, both of whom grew up to join the Hoppers, one of several acts bringing the gospel of, well, Southern gospel to the Valley for the Southwest Gospel Music Festival.


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