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

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Raising more than $1,300 for the KVHS’s dementia home project, Dennis and Brenda Horwood leave Kitimat with a bang and start their new retirement journey together. (Photo supplied)
KVHS thanks local Kitimat couple for their contributions to the dementia home project

Dennis and Brenda Horwood raise $1,360 during a retirement garage sale

No increase in fees will be made by the leisure services department in the summer months. Reviews will be made again in May/June for any recommended fee adjustments in the fall. (District of Kitimat photo)
District of Kitimat halt leisure fee increases until the fall

The Leisure Services Advisory Commission recommended no increase take place at this time

Mount Elizabeth Theatre have been approved for a provision of funding by city council for up to $42,000. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat’s multi-use theatre grant request approved for live streaming equipment

A funding commitment of up to $42,000 was granted from council to the Mount Elizabeth Theatre

Tracy Owen-Best with her husband, Larry Best. Tracy runs both the Nechako Barbershop and Hair Essentials Salon in Kitimat. Diagnosed with cancer in March 2020, she’s kept a positive mindset with the help from a supportive family. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Tracy Owen-Best

Barbershop owner and cancer fighter keeps it positive

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read