This week, staff writer Victoria Bowlin sat down with Richard Hyssong of The Hyssongs and did a quick interview.
Victoria Bowlin: Your family has been making its mark recently on the “Southern Gospel Music Scene.” We’d like to get to know you better. Tell us a little bit about your family. What are your names, and what are the artists relations to each other?
Richard Hyssong: Our family has been singing together for 21 years. We were noticed by the Southern Gospel scene when we received the Singing News Fan Award – “Favorite New Trio” in 2014. We are a family trio. The group consists of husband and wife, Dell & Susan; and their son, Richard. Yes, Hyssong really is our last name. Along with our family vocal harmonies, Dell plays trumpet, Richard plays trombone, and Susan plays piano. We use all of these instruments in our concerts.
VB: Where are you from?
RH: Our home is in Rockport, Maine. We have some deep southern roots, but came to Maine in 1993 when Dell was called to pastor a church. When we stepped out in faith and left the pastorate, we kept our homes and travel throughout the United States and Canada.
VB: I know that you are Chapel Valley artists. When did you get on board with that record label?
RH: We joined the Chapel Valley Music Group over 15 years ago. We have really appreciated the song writing and producing of Shane Roark. The record label and Chapel Valley have been incredible to our family.
VB: I saw where The Hyssongs received a Singing News Fan Award recently. Tell us about that. How did it feel?
RH: We’ve been awarded or nominated for the following:
2014 Singing News Fan Award – Favorite New Trio
2015 Singing News Fan Award – Nominated Top 10 Favorite Trio
2016 Singing News Fan Award – Nominated Top 10 Favorite Trio
2017 Singing News Fan Award – Nominated Top 10 Favorite Trio
2017 Singing News Fan Award – Nominated Top 10 Favorite Album of the Year
We don’t sing for the awards, but it is always an honor to be nominated by the fans. We were thrilled and humbled when we received the Favorite New Trio award.
VB: You are being played on the radio a lot, and I understand that you have just received your very first #1 song! That’s exciting! What’s the title of the song, and who wrote it?
RH: Radio has been great to our family. Our goal has always been to sing, record, and release songs to radio with a strong and timely message. Over the last several years we have had several top 10 songs and two top 5 songs on the Singing News charts. We just received the news that our song “Let the Hallelujahs Ring” just hit #1. It was written by Kenna Turner West and Lee Black. Our favorite words in the song say, “Open up and tell someone great things that He has done.” We appreciate the talented songwriters in our industry.
VB: Where’s your favorite place to minister?
RH: Each place is unique in its own way. We love people and love to sing. Wherever God opens the door, is our favorite place that day.
VB: What’s it like traveling with your family? Are you a full time ministry?
RH: This is a full-time ministry and we sing at least 220 dates each year. We have three generations that travel everywhere we go. Richard’s wife and two children are with us 99% off the time. We genuinely like traveling together. Even if we have a disagreement, we know we are going to have Christmas and Thanksgiving together. When we travel, everyone is working on computers and telephones while the kids are playing.
VB: Do you have a favorite restaurant or place to shop on the road?
RH: Here is where the debates begin. Dell and Susan like steakhouses and Italian food. Richard and Kelly like Mexican and pizza, so we have to come to an agreement as we travel. Richard loves Chuy’s Mexican and Dell likes Texas Roadhouse. So if you see us pulled into one of these, you’ll know who won.
VB: What has been your funniest and most rewarding moment while traveling?
RH: We have had so many memorable and rewarding moments in our ministry. One that comes to mind today is something that happened a few years ago. Following a concert, a man, who was an RN, came forward with a desire to accept Christ. Two years later we returned to the same venue and that man came early to let us know he was heading to the mission field to serve God. Wow! What a moment.
Our family loves to laugh. We see humor in almost everything, but sometimes not when it actually happens. We always enjoy singing at Silver Dollar City and Dollywood each year. The crews always help load in gear and show the artists to their dressing rooms. One years as Richard was getting dressed, the door of the dressing room burst wide open. Richard, with his shorts on and pants and hanger in hand, looked up as a family of four was walking in. Instead of turning around and leaving, the father said, “We have heard you many times on radio, but never seen you in person.” Richard was not humored until later. From then on, he always locks the dressing room door. We are always glad to see people, but not in this way.
VB : How can people find out where you will be so they can be a part of one of your services/concerts?
RH: Friends and fans can find us at the following:
Facebook: The Hyssongs
Dominion Agency: Schedule