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Elderkaraoke

Sometimes Grandpa�s just gotta sing. In a park. In Queens. For senior-center glory.

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Flushing Meadows Corona Park was bustling with seniors last week for the Age in Action 2006 festival, a day’s worth of arts and crafts, mah-jongg, a dance competition, and, of course, karaoke, where some of the city’s spriest crooners competed for prizes for their senior centers. In front of a crowd of more than 200, they took turns on the mike while the crowd sang along. The selections ranged from the Righteous Brothers to gospel, with a few renditions of “You Are My Sunshine” tossed in. Septuagenarian Stan “The Man” Alden, sporting a Members Only jacket and a silky baritone, easily wooed the crowd, and the judges. Surprisingly shy offstage, he merely shrugged at the suggestion of his talent—until he shuffled up to take his $500 prize.


Henrietta Ford
Age: 73.
Lives in: Fort Greene.
Song: “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine.”
Inspiration: “I do what the Lord tells me.”
“I was in showbiz. I sang with a group called the Hearts. I could have made millions, but when I saw the reefer, I said this life is not for me. I decided to make Jesus my choice. I’m so glad to be in the land of the Lord.”


Harold Raynor
Age: 74.
Lives in: Staten Island.
Song: “Unchained Melody.”
Inspiration: Frank Sinatra.
“I’ve been singing all my life but have been really working on it the past three years. I like to see the people. I look at their eyes to see if I can reach them. At home, I have my karaoke machine and my two speakers. Sometimes when I sing, tears come to my eyes. I get all choked up.”


Florence Bricker
Age: 70.
Lives in: Bensonhurst.
Song: “When You’re Smiling.”
Inspiration: Judy Garland. “She had a nice style; she died too young.”
“I wanted to make everyone happy, with bright faces. The world needs a little peace and happiness.”


Stan Alden
Age: 72.
Lives in: Forest Hills.
Song: “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
Inspiration: Bing Crosby.
“I always like to sing, in the shower, in the bathtub—never had any formal training; I just like something with a little emotion.”


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