For Harrison Hosler, an incoming fifth-grade student at Sylvania’s Highland Elementary School, a class assignment last school year turned into something much more than he expected.
At the prompting of fourth-grade teacher Jodi Bostater, he sent a letter to musician Bruce Hornsby. Mr. Hornsby was awarded the Best Artist Grammy in 1987 and is known for the popular hit The Way It Is.
“I like his music a lot,” Harrison said. “My teacher, Mrs. Bostater, was surprised that I was writing to him.”
In the letter, the Sylvania student wrote about music, basketball, and track, which are a few common interests he has with the musician. Mr. Hornsby has two sons, Keith, a basketball player at University of North Carolina at Asheville, and Russell, a track athlete at the University of Oregon.
“His twin boys have a lot in common with me. I like to run and play basketball. I like the University of Oregon because they are really good at track and cross country. Also, that is where Steve Prefontaine ran,” he said. Mr. Prefontaine was an American track legend and middle and long distance runner who died in 1975.
But Harrison never expected what happened next. A few weeks later, much to the surprise of the Hosler family, Mr. Hornsby called. He spoke with the student and when he found out the boy was going to the All Good Music Festival in Thornville, Ohio, he offered to give Harrison and his father passes to the show.
“When my mom told me he called, I thought she was teasing me,” Harrison said. “I didn’t believe her at first. When he called me, I was just walking around talking to him on the phone like I do with my friends, but my parents kept following me around to make sure I was being polite and not talking too much.”
While he said he wasn’t nervous talking to the singer-songwriter over the phone, his nerves kicked in when they got to meet in person. “I was even nervous about what I should wear when I was going to see him,” Harrison said. “I didn’t want to look like a fool. I picked my favorite Oregon Ducks cross country T-shirt, because Russell runs there. Once we started talking, I wasn’t nervous anymore.”
On July 19, the two met in the musician’s tour bus, prior to the show.
“Bruce and Harrison visited for nearly 30 minutes in Bruce’s tour bus,” said his father, Tom Hosler.
That evening, Mr. Hornsby performed with Bruce and the Noise Makers, which includes saxophone player Branford Marsalis and Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir. “Bruce was very gracious and genuine,” Mr. Hosler said.
Harrison agreed that getting to meet one of his favorite singers was a good experience. “Bruce was pretty cool. I know my brothers are jealous that I got to meet him. I think that is pretty funny,” he said.
As for seeing Mr. Hornsby again, Harrison said he hopes to attend another concert in Michigan sometime next month.
“He said to keep in touch and send him letters,” he said.
Contact Kelly McLendon at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-206-0356.