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Lost: Yellowknife musician's treasured fiddle

Wesley Hardisty is offering a reward for the return of his beloved fiddle, which was given to him when he was a teenager.

Wesley Hardisty's fiddle went missing last week while he attempted to break up a late-night brawl

Yellowknife fiddler Wesley Hardisty's beloved fiddle of 10 years has gone missing. (Wesley Hardisty/Facebook)

A Yellowknife musician has lost his treasured fiddle, and is appealing to the public for its safe return.

"I consider my instrument a good friend. I've had it for a little over 10 years," said Wesley Hardisty.

The musician has been playing the fiddle since he was 13 years old. He counts performances at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission national event in Inuvik, N.W.T., and in front of royal couple Will and Kate, among his credits. 

The lost fiddle was a birthday present, given to Hardisty by his parents and former fiddle instructor when he was a young teenager.  

"I've done all my milestone gigs with this instrument. I've done all kinds of travelling," he said. 

That dark brown fiddle, he added, "was my passport to connect with people and share what I love to do, and that being playing fiddle music."

I've done all my milestone gigs with this instrument.- Wesley Hardisty

Hardisty last saw his beloved instrument in Yellowknife a week ago.

He and some bandmates went out after a rehearsal. It was around 2 or 2:30 a.m., said Hardisty, and he was about to leave in a cab when he saw a fight break out. 

Some old friends were nearby so Hardisty handed off his fiddle to one of them before rushing over to deescalate the situation.

"I went to go try to break up the fight, [but] didn't make a difference," he said.

Moments later, his buddy was gone — and so was his fiddle. 

"He's having a night of his own," said Hardisty. "And he misplaced it." 

The loss hit hard.

"It was very shocking to know that one of my most valuable possessions has kind of gone out into the city," he said.

Hardisty's fiddle was in a rectangular case along with two recently-rehaired bows, a preamp and quarter-inch cables. (Wesley Hardisty/Facebook)

Since then, Hardisty has been working his leads, posting on Facebook and spreading the word about the missing fiddle.

He said he worked it out with his friend, who paid him for the instrument. With that money, Hardisty was able to buy a backup fiddle and some other pieces of equipment that he needs for his shows that he also lost on that ill-fated night.

Also in the case was a preamp and quarter-inch cables — "so a lot of valuable possessions in there," said Hardisty.

But nothing will replace the fiddle he grew up playing.

That instrument was recently polished and has a pickup in the bridge, said Hardisty. It was in a rectangular case with his name in it, along with two bows that were just rehaired.

The fiddler is offering a reward to whoever returns his goods.

"I don't necessarily have a fixed price point yet," he said, "but it'll be generous."

Written by Sidney Cohen, based on an interview by Lawrence Nayally

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