10/02/13 — Seniors show off talents at the fair

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Seniors show off talents at the fair

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 2, 2013 1:46 PM

Jesse Lumpkin likes the sound of the mandolin being played during the theme song to the movie "Dr. Zhivago," so that's what he chose to do at the senior citizens talent contest at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair on Tuesday.

"I just thought it would be something different," he said.

He's been playing the mandolin for 70 years, having picked it up at home with no lessons at all. And he's been singing just as long.

But playing the mandolin does something to him.

"Sometimes it makes chills on my arms," the 84-year-old said. "I just like the sound of the mandolin."

Jesse has played at the Big Barn Theater in Grantham with a couple of different bands and in jam sessions all around the county.

And he has no plans to quit anyway soon.

"I think the senior talent contest is a good idea and I like it," Jesse said.

Candy Smith belted out a lively tune, "Jesus is Alive and Well."

"Singing is what I do," the 64-year-old said. "I am in the church choir at New Hope Friends. I used to sing with III Century Singers for 22 years and I sang with Wilson Chorale for eight years. I've been with Encore since 2004."

Candy said she felt proud to be one of the participants.

"I think I did all right," she said. "I scrambled a couple of words, but everybody said they couldn't tell. But I knew it."

She said there's nothing in the world like singing. "I can't imagine not singing, and I hope the Lord will give me my voice to sing until I die."

Candy has been singing in front of people since she was 5.

"My dad got me singing and I started singing in church and different places," she said. "My sister and I used to sing together a lot."

She said the senior competition is a wonderful thing to have at the fair.

Playing guitar and singing a bluegrass/gospel song, "The Dream," was Bruce Newcomb.

"I like the song and that's why I chose to do it today," the 70-year-old said. "But I was not that much prepared for it though. I didn't know what I was getting into with this contest."

He said it was a compliment to be asked to participate.

Bruce has been singing and playing the guitar for 20 years. He got started by going to jam sessions. Now he plays at different places around the county, wherever he can find a place to play.

"Singing and playing makes me feel good," Bruce said. "That's what I really enjoy."

Senior contest director Marjorie Wooten said the event is held each year to honor seniors in Wayne County and to entertain them.

"That's what it's all about, entertaining the seniors," she said. "In past years, we had seniors tap dance and portray another character, but singing seems to be the most popular."