Sunday, July 10, 2011

Travelling with The Hyssongs - Retro SGM Radio

By Sandi Duncan Clark

With more than two hundred concert dates each year, Dell, Susan, Richard and Kelly Hyssong are rarely home more than a week at a time. The Hyssongs (pronounced ‘his-songs’ and not to be confused with the male trio from Tennessee) are one of the busiest Southern Gospel groups in the industry. They tour extensively throughout the United States sharing the message of Jesus Christ.

While this family hails from the great state of Maine, Southern Gospel has always been their musical style. Dell Hyssong tells us, “Southern Gospel is pretty popular in the north east. I grew up singing with my father’s group, The Harborside Quartet, all around the state of Maine, and I’ve always loved the music.”

Dell is an ordained minister who pastored in the north east for more than twenty five years. He shared, “Susan grew up the daughter of a missionary family in Alaska. She majored in sacred music in college and plays organ and piano. When we met and were married, it was natural for us to minister together. Since we both had a musical background, part of that ministry has always been music.”

During Dell’s ministry his family helped provide music for his church services. “In college I formed a Gospel quartet and continued to sing. I also played trumpet,” Dell said. “I would do both in our church services and Susan would play piano.”

Richard Hyssong is Susan and Dell’s twenty-five year old son who has grown up in the family ministry. “Richard was singing in church when he was just two years old,” Dell said. “He loved music and began taking music lessons at the age of four. He learned to play keyboard and trombone and has always loved people. Performing Gospel music and touching people’s lives is a natural for Richard. He also does our booking and keeps us very busy.”

In 1996 the family was asked to provide music for a four-day service at a sister church. “After that service we kept getting calls to do music for other special events at other churches,” Dell told us. “The more we shared our music and shared the Lord, the more God dealt with us about venturing out more with the music.”

Dell resigned his church and in 2001 the family accepted God’s call into full-time music ministry. They travel all across the United States sharing their music and their testimonies.

In early 2005, Richard met his wife Kelly at a church where the Hyssongs sang. On October 1 of that year they were married and Kelly joined the family ministry. They are expecting their first child in July of this year.

While the Hyssongs’ musical style is traditional Southern Gospel, their arrangements vary, appealing to all age groups. They use arrangements that are appropriate for all events, from church services, to concert stages to fair dates.

Tight family harmony and a smooth blend is their trademark. Dell sings baritone, Susan sings alto and Richard sings lead but they often switch parts allowing each one to be featured on a song. This versatility changes the Hyssong’s sound and adds more variety to their presentation.

Dell, Susan and Richard also bring exciting instrumentals to their stage performance. Richard and Dell play trombone and trumpet, while Susan plays the keyboard on some songs. “Sometimes Richard will join me on the keyboard playing four-hand piano,” Susan stated.

The family has a several recordings and DVDs of live performances to their credit. These include an instrumental CD and two solo projects by Richard. “We have recorded five projects with Shane Roark at Chapel Valley Studio,” Dell shared.

Their new recording, “REJOICE,” was released in February on the Sanctuary label. Each of the group has a different favorite on the project. Susan’s favorite is “The King Is Coming,” while Richard’s is “Stay Close To Me.” Kelly’s favorite is “Living Water” and Dell likes my favorite song on the project, “God Is There.” This powerful song was written by Chris Binion and went out to Gospel radio in mid-March. You should be hearing this song on your local Gospel radio station.
The Hyssongs had a busy, exciting year in 2007. “It’s a thrill for us to travel to so many places and meet so many people,” Kelly said. “We performed on a cruise to Alaska and also one to the Bahamas last year. It was exciting to attend the Southern Gospel Music Fan Fair in the spring and to sing on a showcase at the National Quartet Convention last September.”

This year is proving to be just as busy and exciting. The family is again booked on the cruises and appeared in Chattanooga at Fan Fair. They will again appear on the Artist Showcase in September at NQC in Louisville, Kentucky.

While all of these special events are exciting, Dell tells us that the biggest thrill for him is when they have the opportunity to lead someone to Christ. “During the year we usually see between 100 and 150 people accept Christ,” Dell said.

“My biggest thrill is when we get letters from someone or when we return to an area we have been before and we hear the testimony of how a song from our CDs touched a life long after we are gone,” Susan said.

Richard told us, “I get excited when I hear one of our songs on the radio. It’s exciting that DJs play our music, and that God can use that to reach more places than we can travel each year.”

“We are so humbled that God is using our ministry in this way,” Dell continued. “God gives each of us a unique talent and a unique place to serve Him. Our family wants to use our talent for Him and go wherever He sends us. We always pray that He keeps us focused on His will.”

When you attend a Gospel music event with the Hyssongs you will experience exciting music, hear their testimonies and you’ll enjoy the humor they share as a family. You will experience their heart for the ministry and you’ll come away blessed.

You may have the Hyssongs at your next Gospel music gathering by phoning Richard at 207-236-6461 or visit their web site at

Article originally posted in August 2008

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