Clarence Roosendaal

Clarence Roosendaal celebrated his 80th birthday by singing a few of his favorite country songs Saturday, Jan. 11 at the Sunnyside VFW Post. Also pictured is Clarence’s favorite karaoke DJ Duane Carpino, the musical host at the VFW and Sunnyside Eagles once a week where Clarence can be found most Wednesday and Thursday nights.

SUNNYSIDE — A longtime city parks worker, Clarence Roosendaal never thought singing would become an all-consuming passion.

Since he learned about karaoke; the tall lanky man was smitten.

Saturday, Jan. 11, he shared his talent with his family gathered at the SunnyView VFW Post to mark his 80th birthday.

He had originally intended to just sing a few of his favorite songs − all in his favorite old-time country western style − but he soon found himself giving a mini concert. Even taking requests from those gathered to share their favorite “Clarence” stories.

While the only song he didn’t sing was the traditional “Happy Birthday” song, he sang such as “Ring of Fire,” “Waltz Across Texas,” and “Folsom Prison Blues.”

“Well I did sing happy birthday to my oldest daughter Sandy, since Jan. 11 is technically her birthday. Mine isn’t until Jan. 28,” he smiled.

“Clarence is a karaoke night regular,” local karaoke DJ Duane Carpino said. “He does a great job on those old-style songs,” he added.

Clarence sings at the local Eagles Lodge on Thursdays, and the VFW Post on Wednesday nights.

Now he has added a new ‘gig’ to his line-up. “I’m going to be singing at the Sunnyside Assisted Living once a month. My first time there will be on Jan. 21 from 2-3 p.m.,” he said with a hint of excitement in his voice.

“I love to sing,” he said, adding he has only been at karaoke for the past four years.

“I’ve always sang in the shower. When I discovered karaoke, I found out I love singing,” Clarence explained. Now he sings every chance he gets.

A few years ago, he took to a local studio to record his own CD of some of his favorite songs called “C.R.’s Keep it Country.”

Sometimes, his wife of 59 years, sings with him, but usually it’s Clarence at the microphone.

“I plan to keep singing as long as I’m able,” he grinned.

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