Tyrone Area Historical Society

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Q ~ Arguably the most famous native of Tyrone,
who was the man who “taught America how to sing?”

  A ~ The man “who taught America how to sing” was Frederic Malcolm Waring (Fred Waring). He was born June 9, 1900 in a small, seven-room house on Washington Ave., in Tyrone, and was reared in a 27-room house on Lincoln Ave. In 1919, Waring started a band while attending Pennsylvania State College (now Pennsylvania State University) that grew in popularity and in size. 
    Known as Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, the band was a major attraction in vaudeville in the 1920s and pioneered in radio in the ’30s. By the 1940s, the group of 61 singer-instrumentalists had a daily radio show every week and in the ’50s, became an award-winning TV program. 
    Waring and his group combined voices and instruments in a style with youthful zest that never had been heard before. 
    Waring died July 29, 1984 after 67 years as a band/chorus leader.

Fred Waring Jr. appearing with his father's band, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.
On the NBC television program, the “Chevy Show,” on July 24, 1956, Fred Waring Jr. appeared with his father's band, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.
From left: Poley McClintock, drums; Fred Waring, banjo; Tom Waring, piano; and Fred Waring Jr., banjo.
 Fred Waring historical marker
The commemoration of Fred Waring by means of a historical marker from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has been long overdue. In 2004, the Historical Society nominated Fred Waring to the PHMC and sponsored the installation of the marker; however, it was Pete Kiefer, coordinator of Fred Waring's America Archives in the Special Collections Library at Penn State, who had encouraged the Society’s board members to propose the nomination. This official historical marker was placed on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and 11th St., Tyrone, in October 2005.

    For a short biography of Fred Waring, visit the Pennsylvania State University’s special collections library site on the Web, “Fred Waring’s America,” at http://www.libraries.psu.edu/waring/fwbio.html. A discography, along with a listing of music in the Fred Waring collection, also is provided on other Web pages of that site.

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