I had the chance to go see the Hoppers on Thursday, Jan. 19 in Monticello, Arkansas at Oak Grove Assembly of God Church. Honestly, I hadn't been a huge fan or listened to their music until I saw them at Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City last year. They definitely won me over then, and continued to when I saw them on Thursday.
We got to the church about 15 before 7, and the church was almost full! I was hoping to get actual pictures from the concert but we were in the back, and it was not conducive to picture taking. However, it was a large crowd for the Hoppers and a great night with plenty of singing. Not being a fan of the group for a long time, I'm still new to a lot of them songs, but I got acquainted to many of them Thursday night. They sang for almost three hours, and I wasn't mad about it!
In the first half, they sang the Hoppers standards like "Yahweh," "Stepping on the Clouds," and "Jerusalem." During "Jerusalem," clips of them singing Jerusalem from various videos were playing on the screen. At one point, I couldn't help but chuckle watching how their mannerisms and movements during the song were the same live as they were from the clips! I'm pretty sure Claude even raised his leg like he does at the same times! :)
I had not heard their rendition of "I Sing the Mighty Power of God" yet, but I loved it. Love how they split up and just had the guys sings some lines and then Kim and Connie sing some lines. The arrangement of the song is great for them! I also had not heard "O It Thrills Me" or "Hope," but loved both of them!
Before Kim sang "That Sounds Like Heaven to Me," she talked about Tony's passing and also the more recent passing of her grandmother. She said that they got to spend time at Christmas with Tony and TaRanda's daughters, Belle and Josie. The girls wanted to go see their daddy at the cemetery. They went up there and sang Christmas songs to him. It was a precious story, and of course I needed a tissue by the end of it.
They started the second half with "I Will Serve Thee" and then sang "Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin," which is one of my personal favorites. Love the message of that song! They then picked up the tempo with "Shouting Time." The night would have definitely been incomplete without it!
The night wouldn't be complete either without funny stories from Claude. He started telling about three different stories and got distracted. Finally Dean and Mike both called him on it, which made for a funny moment. Dean told him to tell the second one that he started, but he didn't want to tell that one, he wanted to finish the one he originally started! Haha!!
Claude sang "If I Can Help Somebody," which I have to say has become another standout Hoppers song for me personally. The song fits Claude so well. Connie sang "I've Come Too Far To Look Back," and it was great as well. Connie had a few words to say after the song, and then had Kim start from "but I'm nearing the home shore" as only Kim can. She reminded me tonight of why she's won so many accolades as a female singer.
The night ended with a chorus of "Oh How I Love Jesus" and they had the audience join in. It was a great night of singing, laughs and even a few tears. This was only my second time seeing them live, but I'm becoming more and more of a Hoppers fan!