Borough residents defend sax player

Hosko charged twice for playing music on Tyrone’s streets

TYRONE — He’s not John Coltrane, but saxophonist Joe Hosko inspired a spirited defense at a Borough Council meeting this week — touching off a chorus of latent sympathy.

Hosko, a person with “special needs” was charged twice in recent weeks by borough police for playing on the street after being asked to desist because of complaints, ought to be given leeway, according to resident Mistey Rhodes.

In the beginning, Hosko was “rather annoying,” but his playing has improved, Rhodes told council.

“He’s a man who wishes to bring joy,” Rhodes said. “But he’s being chased out.”

He likes hearing Joe, said Borough Manager Ardean Latchford.

“I believe every town ought to have a Joe Hosko,” said Mayor Bill Latchford, saying Hosko reminds him of “The Accordion Man,” who roams the streets in State College.

But Hosko has repeatedly ignored police directives based on residents’ complaining that Hosko’s sax disturbs the sleep of shift workers and babies, said Police Chief John Romeo, who said he personally doesn’t mind Hosko’s playing.

Hearings are pending on a summary and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

Rather than trying to muzzle him, the borough should “showcase him,” Rhodes said.

She understands there are laws and isn’t asking officials to “bend or break them,” she said.

But borough officials should consider that residents accept a variety of events — parades, concerts, games, the whistle at the paper mill — that make noise.

“I personally love his playing,” said Councilman Dave Snyder.

But Hosko’s playing is “random,” and those other occurrences are “scheduled,” he said.

Rhodes volunteered to schedule events so that Hosko could play publicly, thus fulfilling his apparent wish to “be noticed.”

“Work with me,” Rhodes pleaded. “Work with him.”

His playing isn’t a problem when it’s farther from residential areas, officials said.

He’s been playing frequently at the railroad station, where the problems have been minimal — though not nonexistent, officials said.

Maybe all he needs is for someone to help him “on boundary issues,” the mayor said.

Or “volume control,” the mayor added.

“If he was on any corner in the borough and playing softly, there wouldn’t be a problem,” Snyder said.

Romeo talked about a damper that can be applied to the sax to reduce the noise.

“All of us have the same feelings for Joe — (at least) in most cases,” he mayor said. “We need to work with him so he has a better understanding.”

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