Michael Vecchio playing his cherry Guild Starfire at a family Christmas gathering in 2014. (Connie Vecchio photo)

Michael Vecchio playing his cherry Guild Starfire at a family Christmas gathering in 2014. (Connie Vecchio photo)

Kelowna woman seeks missing guitar that helped dad with dementia be ‘himself again’

Connie Vecchio says the vintage guitar has gone missing from her father’s Castlegar care home

An instrument can mean the world to the musician who plays it.

For one B.C. woman, a vintage cherry red Guild Starfire was a reminder of the man her father used to be. But now, that guitar, and the connection it revived, has gone missing.

Michael Vecchio struggles with dementia. Two years ago, the now-75-year-old asked his daughter Connie Vecchio to bring his prized guitar, which he’d owned for almost 50 years, to his Castlegar care home, Talarico Place.

Connie, who lives in Kelowna, did so without hesitation. Michael would pick up the guitar to play during subsequent visits, and Connie said he’d become “himself again.”

“He sees the guitar… And then he’d sort of start bobbing his head, and before we know it, we’re in a moment,” Connie said.

The last time Connie visited her father in his room was February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic changed visitation protocols. The guitar sat on a stand in the corner of his room beside two amplifiers.

Care home staff recently informed Connie they couldn’t find the guitar. Checking a basement storage area, staff located the amps and the stand, but no trace of the guitar.

Not knowing what to do, Connie posted her story to Facebook. She said the community response has been immense, with people even offering to give Michael a new guitar. But, “unless it’s a cherry Guild Starfire,” Connie said it just wouldn’t be the same.

“That’s the guitar,” she said. “… It’s that thing that brings somebody back.”

* VINTAGE GUILD STARFIRE GUITAR MISSING FROM CARE HOME IN CASTLEGAR *
RCMP FILE # 2021-719

Thank you to the community…

Posted by Connie Vecchio on Thursday, March 11, 2021

Michael bought the guitar in the ’70s off of Nick Keraiff — better known as Buddy Marr, the frontman of a popular Kootenay band called the Versatiles. Ever since then, he’s kept the guitar in impeccable shape. Guitars of a similar ilk have been listed in online marketplaces for more than $2,000.

Connie has filed a police report and is offering a no-questions-asked $1,000 reward for the guitar’s safe return. Those with information can reach out to Connie on Facebook or the guitar can be dropped off at Johnny’s Gas in Robson, B.C., which is owned by one of Michael’s friends.

“I’m so hopeful somebody will just return it to my dad and help him have some happy moments in his last chapter.”

READ MORE: COVID vaccination party at North Okanagan retirement community

READ MORE: COVID-19 vaccine protects health staff, seniors best after three weeks

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Seniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nav Canada will not be closing the tower at West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada tower to remain open at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization was considering closing the tower

Dresses hang outside Nelson city hall as part of the REDress Project by Métis artist Jaime Black. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson’s REDress Project exhibit vandalized

The REDress Project brings attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

Dr. Katherine Oldfield is a naturopathic physician, mother, and active member of the Nelson-West Kootenay chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Photo: Submitted
COLUMN: Restore our Earth, restore our health

Katherine Oldfield marks Earth Day by writing about the priorities we need to have

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read