‘I was just flabbergasted’: Community shows support for Toronto busker after bassoon stolen

Click to play video: 'Toronto community rallies behind musician who has instruments stolen'
Toronto community rallies behind musician who has instruments stolen
WATCH ABOVE: Toronto busker Jeff Burke's bassoon, a prized possession, was stolen in January. Erica Vella has details about the incident and how a community came together to rally behind the musician – Feb 18, 2019

It’s been six weeks of despair for Toronto musician Jeff Burke after his bassoon and several other items were stolen in early January.

Burke is a busker and has been playing the bassoon for over 40 years, and he said his instrument has become a part of who he is.

“I speak through it … The bassoon is so much a part of me,” he said.

“Without the bassoon, as much of it being a material object, it’s how I am me.”

On Jan. 5, Burke was at the intersection of Delaware Avenue and Bloor Street West, near Dovercourt Road, on his way to a gig when he left his instrument and several other items unattended for a quick washroom break. However, when he returned his belongings were gone.

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“The first instance was just shock,” he said.

“I started searching and searching and the more frantic I searched – a number of hours going up and down the streets looking for it because the idea it was gone was just not… I couldn’t comprehend it.”

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Burke said he has filed a police report and an investigation is underway.

After hearing about the theft, Burke’s friend Leo Nelson created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the musician to buy a new bassoon.

“This is his living that had just been taken from him,” Nelson said.

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“It’s almost the outlet of his soul. It’s his spirit that he’s giving you through that bassoon through that instrument and if you take that from him it’s kind of like peeling the wings of a bird or a butterfly.”

As of Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe raised over $13,000. Burke said he is shocked by all the support.

“I just couldn’t believe it. I was just flabbergasted,” he said.

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