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Merry Christmas 2008 from Orleans! (blog: Dec. 24 ’08)

Merry Christmas 2008 from Orleans!

Merry Christmas … all around the world!

It’s Christmas Eve and, whether or not your belief system celebrates the Holiday as such, you can’t help but be affected by the “peace on Earth, goodwill towards men” feelings it brings with it. Nations lay down arms and even the most “dysfunctional” of families do their best to get along for at least ONE day out of the year. 🙂

As for the Hoppen clan … we three (and our sister, Lynda) were raised in a “mixed marriage” household.

Lane, Lance & Larry – 1960. Shapes of things to come!

Our father was a 1st generation American. His parents were Polish Jewish immigrants who came though Ellis Island in the great wave circa 1910. Our mother’s family descended from Western European aristocracy (believe it or not). Some arrived in the early days of colonization and were, of course, Protestants.

Our father was, in reality, an Agnostic … a really warm and good man who didn’t happen to believe in God as such. So, by default and some agreement our parents must have made early on, we were all raised Episcopalian. Still, we had an equal number of Jewish and Christian cousins, observing Christmas in our home but honoring Hanukkah as well.

As adults, we each now walk our own individual Spiritual paths. Of course, ALL of the major religious celebrations this time of year align with the occurrence of Winter Solstice which, in and of itself, is all about rebirth … as the days begin to lengthen and the Light reappears.

All of which is my inadequate way of saying, no matter how you specifically celebrate, we wish YOU a very Merry Christmas and the happiest and most prosperous of New Years in 2009. Even in these globally troubled times, surely there is so much we have to be grateful for. Finding THAT essence and sharing it is, to my mind, the Joy of Christmas awaiting each of us.

Our Mother’s Christmas Gift to YOU!

If some of you think the Hoppen boys can sing … well, none of us can hold a candle to our truly gifted mother’s voice. Jane Claire Tilley Hoppen, (1924 – 2001) may she rest in peace, was a classically trained pianist and a world-class singer. Whether the classics or the standards of her day, she could hold her own with the best of them.

Thank God that Dad had the presence of mind to capture some of that on one of those cheap hand-held cassette decks with the built in microphone, or we would have missed this timeless and classic performance of Ave Maria. I don’t know the exact year, but I’m guessing late 70s … which would have made Mom about 50 years old.

Thanks to some modern technology, this audio has been enhanced … but the real beauty of it is in the singer herself. Please take just a few minutes to turn down the distractions, turn up the volume, light a candle, and breathe this in to your being. You will be blessed by the experience.

Jane Hoppen singing \”Ave Maria\” Thanks, Mom. 🙂

May the “Peace that passeth all understanding” be with you and yours this Christmas Day and beyond.

May God bless you all,

Lance Hoppen

on behalf of ALL of us at Orleans Central … Larry & Lane Hoppen, Charlie Morgan, Fly Amero, Andy Broady, Mike Malfesi and John Marsden)


Happy Holidays from Fly, Larry, Charlie, Lance and Lane!


9 Responses to “Merry Christmas 2008 from Orleans!”

Roger Says:
December 26th, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Your mother had a terrific voice! What a great performance of “Ave Maria.”Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Lance Says:
December 26th, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Thanks for leaving that reply here, Roger. Almost all of the many responses we received (except yours, of course) came via email replies. So, in the interests of having someone other than me be able to read them, I am repeating them here.

(NOTE — YOU are always welcome and requested to leave your comments HERE, for all to enjoy.)

— On Wed, 12/24/08, Barbara L Stratton wrote:

That was a beautiful recording by your Mom. Thanks for sharing.

We got the new CD and Bob loved it, as well as the signed greeting that was enclosed. I had erased that message from his computer so it was a total surprise.

Merry Christmas to you all and I hope we will get to see you again next time you are in the Boston area. (You wouldn’t want to be here now, though!)

Barb Stratton

— On Wed, 12/24/08, Jerry Fortenberry wrote:

What a beautiful voice your mother had. I close my eyes and a feeling of peace comes over me. You are such a talented family. Thanks for sharing with us. BTW, I really enjoyed the new CD. You guys still have the pipes and the chops.

Jerry Fortenberry

— On Wed, 12/24/08, Terry Pinkham wrote:

EXACTLY AS DESCRIBED: ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKINGINGLY BEAUTIFULLY MOVING! Thank you for sharing that! Chills, tears and all! I can’t imagine what it must do to you boys to listen to that voice and remember your sweet mother…incredible…again, THANK YOU FOR SHARING SUCH A SPECIAL GIFT.

Terry Pinkham

— On Wed, 12/24/08, Louise Sweet wrote:

Hi and Merry Christmas!

I was very moved by your mom’s performance of the Ave Maria, she was even accompanying herself, wasn’t she? Very beautiful indeed. It was nice of you to share…

Louise (Sweet)

— On Thu, 12/25/08, Janet Osen wrote:


I just listened to your mother’s beautiful rendition of Ave Maria and it was a lovely way to ring in Christmas morning. Thank you so much for sharing it.

I hope you’re doing well and having a peaceful, happy Christmas.


— On Thu, 12/25/08, Bob Halligan wrote:

Holy SHITE, yer Ma could sing!!!! This explains a LOT!!!!!!

Love & Merry Christmas…….

Bob Halligan, Jr. & Ceili Rain

— On Thu, 12/25/08, Richie wrote:

Hey Lance,

Thanks for that !! Your mom was amazing !! It’s no wonder you guys do what you do. Thank God for her.

Merry Christmas.

Richie & Lisa

— On Thu, 12/25/08, Marli Stahler (Halpin) wrote:

Thank you, Lance. Peace be with YOU and yours, too!!

xxx marli

— On Thu, 12/25/08, Jeannie Daniels wrote:

Thanks, that was an amazing performance by your Mom. Now I understand where you all got your chops.

Merry Christmas to you little scallywags!!

Jeannie Daniels

— On Thu, 12/25/08, Bill Holloman wrote:

Thanks Lance!
That recording of your Mom is truly great.
Best wishes for the holiday season and I hope we hook up and play together again sometime soon.

Bill Holloman

— On Fri, 12/26/08, Rick Amund wrote:


Mrs. Hoppen’s vocal ability is incredibly obvious, just as it is obvious that the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Thanks for sharing her wonderful voice with us. In a word, the performance was “AWESOME”. We have shared the new Orleans “Obscurities” with several family members, and can’t wait until you visit SW Florida again. Larry, thanks to you, as well, for the wonderful signed note thanking us for our order. It has been laminated, and it will go on our wall above my Yamaha upright, alongside Kenny Loggins, Dan Fogelberg, Jim Messina, the Carpenters, Brian Wilson, and, of course, a picture of Orleans. Here’s wishing on the Ticonderoga Moon that you all have a very special holiday season. Thanks for your friendship, and you wonderful gift of music.

Rick, Vanessa and Christina

nancy endres Says:
December 27th, 2008 at 4:04 PM

Best Wishes for the Holiday Season!!
You Mom was amazing ! what a voice ! thanks for sharing such a gift ! … and what a talented family ! (les chiens ne font pas des chats!!!)
…Guys you are just cute on the picture of 1960 !
I get my cd’s order “on time” ! thanks. My brother (drummer) was very very very happy to discover “Obscurities” like me of course.
XXXX from Switzerland

doremi9642 Says:
December 27th, 2008 at 4:54 PM

What a treat to hear this beautiful rendition of the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria. (The best one, in my opinion.) :0) Your Mom had a beautiful voice. And YOU THREE….how blessed you are to make your beautiful music together, for all these years. I have always been so awed by your talent, as well as your abilities to connect with your audience. It’s been a while since you came to Bethlehem, PA. On your first trip tp Godfrey Daniels we came to the early show, then went home and got our kids and came back for the second show. I’ll be the first one in line next time you’re here! Thanks too, for this connection. Hoping to see you soon.

Lance Says:
December 27th, 2008 at 6:03 PM

More emailed responses —

— On Fri, 12/26/08, Sonny Speed wrote:

Lance, Larry and Lane,

Loved the shot of your guy’s at the tree a true classic, and I always remembered you guy’s said your mom had a great voice but this is the first time I heard her, Wow, perfect!

This was a very nice look back to Bay Shore life. thanks for sharing the memory.

Sonny Speed

— On Fri, 12/26/08, Angelica Cory wrote:

Merry Christmas Lance,

What a de-light it was learning of another aspect to your rich childhood. I knew your mother was musically inclined although I had no idea that she had a voice like an angel, thank you for sharing. I pray your Christmas holidays are magical and the girls are both home with you.

Blessings, Angelica

— On Sat, 12/27/08, Barbara Lerner wrote:

Greetings to all

The recording of your mom singing brought tears to my eyes. So very beautiful. It is so special that you can still hear her wonderful voice. And I want to thank you for sharing this.

Living in a “mixed household” (my Valley Stream friends were Episca-Yids too) we also celebrate all wonderful holidays, especially the Winter Solstice. It is a truly spiritual way to welcome the return of Light through celebration, contemplation, meditation or just sending good vibes through the air waves to the rest of the world. I do believe it can make a difference. This is kind of a cool sight if you’re into the spiritual side of things. http://www.eilight.com/pages/solsticewinter.htm

Thank you for all your good works giving back and everything you have shared this year. The links are wonderful, especially the ones at Thanksgiving (42 days) And I wish all of you and the ones you love, a joyous and peaceful New Year.

Best wishes
Barbara Lerner

Donna P. Says:
December 27th, 2008 at 8:53 PM

Thanks, once again, Lance for sharing something beautiful! Your Mom’s voice was absolutely incredible and can see now where you all get your amazing vocal talent. This rendition of Ave Maria, I think, is the most beautiful and also the most difficult to sing but, she sang it to perfection.
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing all of you a Happy New Year!

Donna Payne

Doug Moncrief Says:
December 28th, 2008 at 5:16 PM

Hey Lads….

Happy Holidays to Y’all! Your Mom sounds amazing….. Thanks for sharing that with all of us this Xmas. Proof that the gift of music DOES travel down through the family. My mom sang tunes on the radio and my Grandmother played organ in church, piano for Silent Movies and played gigs in a trio – piano sax and drums during the depression. Music is the gift that heals all….. and it only works when its shared……

Peace Mi Amigos!

Doug Moncrief

BarbaraM Says:
December 28th, 2008 at 5:36 PM

Thanks so much for allowing us the incredible pleasure of listening to your mom (may she rest in peace) sing. First came the goosebumps, then the tears. You must have been very proud of her, as she surely was of you.

As always, thank you for sharing a little bit of your lives with your fans, and for continuing to make wonderful music.

Have a happy and healthy New Year and may all good things come to you in 2009.

Best wishes (LOVE that bathrobe pic! ;o)
Barbara Meyer

Lance Says:
December 28th, 2008 at 8:53 PM
— On Sun, 12/28/08, Lois Meyer wrote:

Listened to the audio; how incredibly beautiful… Lois

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