Southern Gospel Music Association president Arthur Rice says, “As we have been with each inductee class, we are very excited to have another group of Southern Gospel pioneers and leaders come into the Hall of Fame membership. The Southern Gospel Music community has certainly benefited from the work and dedication of these people through the years.”
The newest members of the Hall of Fame are -
- Colbert Croft - He and his wife wrote more than 5,000 songs including "I Can't Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand), "Is That Footsteps That I Hear?" and "Flow Through Me." For more than 25 years, the Crofts hosted the annual Labor Day Singing in Valdosta, Georgia. He passed away on Jan. 1, 2014.
- Eddie Crook - He began his career as a pianist playing for groups like the The Sego Brothers & Naomi and the Happy Goodman Family. He started the Eddie Crook Company in 1977 and became one of the most recognizable producers in the industry. He helped launch the careers of the McKameys, the Bishops, the Perrys and others. He has produced more No. 1 gospel songs than any other producer.
- Claris G. "Cat" Freeman - He is the older brother of Vestal Goodman who joined the Blackwood Brothers in 1948. He sang with Hovie Lister and the Statesman Quartet, Oak Ridge Quartet, Revelaires and several others. In 1990, the Cat Freeman Foundation was established to assist young artists to attend Southern Gospel music singing schools.
- Paul Heil - Heil is best known for "The Gospel Greats" which first aired in 1980 and is heard on more than 200 stations today. He started Springside (the largest online catalog website for Southern Gospel) in 1986. He is a founding member of the Southern Gospel Music Guild and served as its president for nine years. He has received several other lifetime achievement and impact awards in gospel music.
- Claude Daniel Hopper - He along with his four brothers and future wife Connie Shelton started the Hopper Brothers in 1957. The group now consists of Claude, Connie, Mike, Dean and Dean's wife Kim and is known as simply the Hoppers. As "America's Favorite Family of Gospel Music," the Hoppers were given a lifetime achievement honor and then inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Quartet Convention and oversees Hopper Heritage Foundation.
- Warren Lester Roberts - He began producing the popular radio program "Gospel Quartet Time" in 1948 which aired for 40 years. He was the master of ceremonies for the Wally Fowler All-Nite Singing at the Atlanta Civic Auditorium. He did a 30-minute weekly Southern Gospel television program in the Atlanta area and then later hosted a live nationwide program on the Christian Broadcasting Network.
- Faye Ihrig Speer - She married Brock Speer in 1948 and became a part of the iconic Speer Family. She was part of the group's first No. 1 song, "What Sings Are You Talking About?" She was featured on many of the group's recordings and has made frequent appearances on the Gaither Homecoming videos. She has received numerous awards individually and with the Speer Family including a living legend award.
- Francis Jane Crosby Van Alstyne - She wrote more than 9,000 hymns of the church. She became blind at 6 weeks old. She was hired by William Bradbury to write hymns for his publishing company. She is best known for "Blessed Assurance," "Safe in the Arms of Jesus," "Near the Cross," "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior" and "I Am Thine O Lord." She wrote until the time of her death at age 94 on Feb. 12, 1915.
The induction will take place during the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Inductions and tributes for the deceased members will take place during selected evening NQC performances. The Singing News Fan Awards on Thursday afternoon will host the induction honors for the living members of the 2014 class.