Tyrone student shines as a performer for Tyrone Senior Center

Most people would not expect to walk into the Tyrone Senior Center to find a 13-year-old boy playing the guitar and singing in a country and western band to a packed audience.
However, the last Friday of each month between 10:30 a.m. and noon, that is what anyone can expect to see as Clayton Hoover sings and plays the guitar in a band that is named after him, the Clayton Hoover and the Western Band.
“At first it started out as a joke and then it turned into the actual name,” said Hoover of the origin of the moniker.
Besides Clayton, other members of the band include: founder of the band, guitar player and Clayton’s father, Jim Hoover; Mike Ruggiere, harmonica; Jim Ruggiere, mandolin; Paul Shaw, guitar; Claudia Wilson, bass guitar and Jim Hall, violin and fiddle. All the members of the band take turns singing. The band has been playing together for four years, and the 87th show was on Friday at the Tyrone Senior Center. Hoover started performing with the band when he was just nine-years old, and he is now 13.
“Well, my Dad’s friend asked if he wanted to come in and sing a couple of songs, and it just started from there,” said Hoover of the beginning of the band and how the members started to play at the senior centers.
Over the past four years, the band has gathered quite a following, and its members play old-style country and western music such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Hank Williams.
“They bus the senior citizens in from all the Blair County senior centers. Sometimes there’s close to 100 people here,” said Clayton’s mother, Susan Hoover. “They play old-style country and western. It’s not the new stuff that’s out today. It’s stuff from the 40s and 50s that they play.”
The band also plays at several other nursing homes and senior centers. The members have played at places in Bellwood, Hollidaysburg, Petersburg, Huntingdon, Altoona, Sinking Valley and Birmingham. The next function that the band is scheduled to play at is the Walk-A-Thon at the Logan Valley Mall on March 15 at 10 a.m. The money raised at this event will go towards the Blair Senior Center’s busses.
The audiences at the senior centers and nursing homes enjoy to see Hoover perform because he is so young.
“They really enjoy him,” added his mom.
“I like making these people happy because there’s really not that many young people interested in country music,” said Hoover.
The band performs for the fun of it and doesn’t charge a fee. Sometimes other people from the audience bring their own instruments in and sit with the band to play, which adds a sense of community to the performance.
Hoover attends Tyrone Area Middle School and plays the electric guitar in the middle school band. When the school jazz band starts, he would like to perform in that as well. He plans on continuing to perform in the Clayton Hoover and the Western Band, and in the future he would like to do something involving music.
“I just want to be performing and up on stage singing,” said Hoover.