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Historic Violin Believed Stolen, Yearning for its Return

by Madonna

A plaintive call echoes through Kelowna, B.C. as a seasoned violinist, Mitchell Howanyk, beseeches for the restoration of an irreplaceable relic — a vintage violin believed to have been stolen in the past week. Howanyk, an enduring presence in the renowned Kentucky Eileen band for over a decade, seeks solace in the safe return of the treasured instrument.

The haunting melody of this story unraveled after a performance on the evening of August 3rd, casting a shadow over Howanyk’s musical journey. A vintage stringed companion, cherished for its historical resonance, disappeared from the scene, leaving the musician grappling with its absence.

Tracing the fleeting trails of its potential disappearance, Howanyk’s suspicions gravitate towards downtown Kelowna or the precincts of the Cambium Cider Co. in Vernon, the stage where his symphony was last sung.

It was amidst preparations for an upcoming brewery performance in downtown Kelowna that the disheartening discovery was made. The very instrument that had been an extension of Howanyk’s artistry seemed to have vanished.

In the melancholic notes of his narration, Howanyk recounts the ordeal. “I honestly check [the violin] two or three times every time, and it’s usually on my back. It was midnight [after the performance], and it’s been an exhausting week for me… I think I must have just slipped out of my mind where it was.”

August 9 marked the day Howanyk reached out to the Kelowna RCMP, placing a beacon of hope on law enforcement’s radar. The instrument, an Italian-crafted artifact from the 1840s, carries its history etched in a one-piece back with a distinctive trio of bows — two black and one red.

Evidently, the violin is not just an instrument; it’s a vessel of sentimentality for Howanyk. It entered his life a decade ago, having passed through the hands of a musician friend who has since departed. It’s a reminder of their shared artistic camaraderie.

A symphony of emotions resonates within its strings, forged deeper with each performance across Canada and international stages. It served as an instrument of education too, as Howanyk imparted musical knowledge at a K-12 school in Kelowna.

Amidst the chorus of his efforts to locate it, the violin’s absence weighs heavily. Tirelessly scouring corners of Kelowna and Vernon, the musician’s search thus far remains unrewarded.

The violin’s loss reverberates against a backdrop of heightened crime statistics in the region. In 2022, both Kelowna and Vernon grappled with soaring non-violent crime severity indices, further underscoring the urgency of reuniting Howanyk with his timeless companion.

This composition’s resolution rests in the hands of those who may hold the missing puzzle piece. Mitchell Howanyk, a maestro of melodies, now lends his voice to a plea — a plea for the return of his harmonious partner, an instrument entwined with his soul. A legacy yearns to continue, rekindled through the sonorous notes of a violin whose story is far from over.

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