Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 1, 2013

SALISBURY — Musical puppets entertained both the young and the young at heart during a lunchtime show Wednesday.
The puppet ministry at Carmel Baptist Church brought its lively performance to John Calvin Presbyterian Church on Brenner Avenue.
A group of senior adults gathers there every day for one of the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center lunch clubs. They enjoy a hot meal, each other’s company and sometimes a bit of entertainment.
Also in the audience Wednesday were about two dozen children from Partners in Learning Child Development and Family Resource Center.
The puppets lip-synced to a set of fun and faith-based songs, ranging from a tune about wheels on a big rig to “Amazing Grace.” Some were bright and fuzzy “monsters,” while others represented a variety of human characters.
One group of puppets, wearing beards and going by the name “Carmel Dynasty,” performed a silly tribute to dollar stores. Another high-energy gospel song got the audience clapping and singing along.
“It was fun. It was great,” said Cindie Irvin, who works at the resource center. “I think the kids enjoyed it. I certainly did.”
Gracie Osborne, 3, seconded that opinion.
She said what she liked best about the puppets is “that they were happy.”
Crystal Boyd, one of the directors of the puppet ministry at Carmel Baptist Church, said the group has been performing since 2008.
“My grandmother comes to this meal site to eat,” Boyd said. “We came here one other time, and she invited us to do it again.”
Another member of the group, Kenzie Smith, said the puppeteers aim to get out the message of God in a way that’s fun for kids and easy to understand.
At Wednesday’s show, many of the adults were smiling and laughing just as much as the children.
Linda Hurd danced to her seat as she came in late to the performance. At the table, she sang and clapped to the songs she knew.
“I like to be young all the time,” she said. “I enjoyed it very much.”
Shirley Corriher said this is the second time she’s seen the puppet show, and she thinks it’s gotten better.
“It’s wonderful,” Corriher said. “You’re never too young or too old.”
She said she comes to eat lunch every weekday at the meal site.
“It has really good food,” Corriher said. “It’s a well-balanced meal.”
Site supervisor David Carman said seniors in the lunch clubs enjoy entertainment and activities a few times a week. Recently, the John Calvin Presbyterian Church meal site has been using a projector and sound system to show episodes of “The Honeymooners.”
He said he thinks Wednesday’s puppet show was excellent, and he had been trying to invite the group back for a while. Carman’s sister works at Partners In Learning, he said, “and we thought it would be good to mix up the generations here.”
“Thank you for coming,” he told the puppeteers, “and for reminding us that there’s a child in all of us.”
For more information about the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center lunch clubs, visit or call 704-216-7702.