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Bob Hoose And His Orchestra
Bob Hoose And His Orchestra
- Directed by Frank Derrick
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Damon Higgins / Staff Photograph: Palm Beach Post - February 27, 2002
Palm Beach Post: February 27, 2002
Damon Higgins
Staff Photographer
Lauren Gold / PBPost Staff Writer
Singer's act plays homage to musical icon
Bob Hoose remembers passing by the television once, when he was 10 or 11 years old, and glancing at the singing man on the black-and-white screen.

And pausing.  And listening.

"Hey, Ma, come over here - this guy's really good," he said

Out of the mouths of babes.  The man on the screen was really good.  His name?  Frank Sinatra.

Sinatra was the background music to Hoose's childhood in Middletown, NY.  Still, he didn't give it much thought.  He wanted to play guitar in a rock and roll band.

"I grew up in an Italian family and always heard him, but I never knew how much it influenced me," he said.

Decades later, the western Lake Worth resident still has Sinatra in his blood.  And, it turns out, in his vocal chords.

He used to sing occasionally, just for fun, in clubs when he was out with his friends.

"As a joke, I would do a Sinatra tune."

His friends told him it was like listening to Ol' Blue Eyes.

"I just kind of brushed it off," Hoose said.  "I never thought I sounded like him.  It's my natural voice."

When he got fed up with the rock and roll scene in the '90s, though, he needed a new musical outlet to supplement his day job as computer operator for Palm Beach County.  His wife, Janet, said "You do sound like him, and you ought to do something about that."

He thought about doing a Sinatra act, but he was hestant.

"I wondered if (Sinatra) would like it.  When he was alive he didn't like impersonators." he said.  "There are a lot of impersonators out there.  I don't want to be one of those."

So Hoose looked for advice - to the Chairman of the Board.

On a trip to Palm Springs, Calif., with Janet two years ago, Hoose stopped by Sinatra's grave to pay his respects.  He was thinking about his quandary when he heard Sinatra's voice.

"That's where I just got this overwhelming feeling to go ahead with this.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood up  ....I just got the feeling he would approve."

Hoose said he heard the words, "Go ahead, kid."

"I said, you know, if I end up doing this, I want to do it with a full orchestra.  I want to do something that really makes them say 'Wow.'  I wanted to recreate everything the way it was meant to be done," he said.  So he set out to do just that.

Hoose and his 16-piece band, made up of members whose careers have included playing with big band leader Woody Herman and Sinatra himself, play every other Thursday night at Christine's restaurant in Jupiter.

"Nothing has ever come together so quickly and easily.  It feels like it's meant to be.  We've really gelled as a group," he said.  He doesn't consider himself an impersonator; he's just paying homage to an icon.

Hoose is content with the arrangement, but said he expects his career to take more turns in the years to come.

"One of these days I want to come out of the other end of the tunnel as 'Bob,'" he said.  "The more I do the songs, the more of me comes out.  We just try to do things as natural as we can."
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