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Kermit Burns left one dream to build another

Kermit Burns and his group sampling a restaurant in N.C.

When Kermit Burns was in college and graduate school majoring in vocal performance, he had dreams of becoming an opera star. Instead, he has been the minister of music and senior adults at a variety of churches for the past 38 years and has also worked with church youth.

“God had different plans,” Burns said.

The Berea Baptist Church in Mooresville, N.C., is where Burns leads a variety of choirs and senior travel today. Mooresville, dubbed Race City USA, is a bedroom community to Charlotte and home to the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame.

Burns, who quipped he was not only the group travel leader for the church’s senior adults but also the driver and tour director, considers Mooresville an ideal hub for travel.

“We are lucky to live in this area where there is so much to do, from ‘leaf looking’ along the Blue Ridge Parkway to several dinner theaters in Virginia to scenic treasures like the beautiful churches near West Jefferson, N.C. We also take advantage of the great baseball parks in Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Hickory,” he said.

Burns describes his social flock this way: “There are really two groups: Those who are very active and those who can’t travel. We try to accommodate everyone with occasional extended trips to places like Niagara Falls and the Pennsylvania Dutch country but mostly day trips to the many nearby attractions.”

Those active folks include 80-year-old fun-lovers who enjoy more than just a little excitement. “I remember one time when we were on our way to Pigeon Forge, we passed a go-cart track. When I heard someone say, ‘That looks like fun!’ I stopped the bus, and our oldest man and woman proceeded to jump on those go-carts and have a ball.

“It was hilarious. When would they ever have the chance to be on go-carts again? Those two have passed on to the Lord now, and I smile every time I think of them,” he said.

Burns’ group also includes the Out to Lunch Bunch, which, on a monthly basis, gathers at the church and heads for one of the many eateries in the area. “It’s a good time for everyone, because everyone loves to eat,” Burns said.

Although Burns didn’t pursue his opera dreams when he was in school, he did pursue his accompanying pianist, Connie. Married for 38 years with four children and a menagerie that includes four dogs, one cat and one horse, these two musicians like to do a little cruising on their own.

He fondly described these personal travels. “Almost three years ago, my wife and I gave in to our second-childhood urges and bought a little blue Miata convertible. One of our favorite pastimes is taking Saturday road trips as far as we can go and return in a day — sometimes we do an overnighter.

“We’ve seen some great scenery, eaten at some neat places, and I’ve found some destinations for my senior adult trips. The two of us are much like our travelers; we get so excited seeing things for the first time and then sharing those places with others.”

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