FORT LUPTON, Colo. – Barry Manilow's "I Write the Songs" may begin with the line, "I've been alive forever,"' but for noise ordinance violators, listening to Manilow may feel like forever.
Fort Lupton Municipal Judge Paul Sacco says his novel punishment of forcing noise violators to listen to music they don't like for one hour has cut down on the number of repeat offenders in this northwestern Colorado prairie town.
About four times a year, those who plead guilty to noise ordinance violations are required to sit in a room and listen to music from the likes of Manilow, Barney the Dinosaur, and The Platters' crooning "Only You"
"These people should have to listen to music they don't like," said Judge Paul Sacco for a segment about the program that aired Friday on Denver's KUSA-TV.
Sacco began the program years ago when he noticed that many of the repeat offenders simply showed up at his courtroom to pay their fine with cash.
"Most kids don't want to hear somebody like Glen Close trying to sing opera," he said.
Video of a recent class showed teenagers with long faces shifting in their seats or looking up at the ceiling.
"You can't fall asleep," said teenager Rueben Fuentes right before letting out a bit of a sigh.
Members of a garage band were at the class after playing music late at night in their backyard.
"The cop station was two blocks away," said band member Robert Mort. "People who were at the party loved it. I'm not sure the cops did."
"Too much music, too loud, too late," added band member Harrison DeRuiter.
So what does Sacco think of Barry Manilow?
"I actually don't think Manilow's too bad," he said.