April 26, 2021, 3:27 PM
Heidi Slyker lost her beloved flute the day before her first rehearsal with a new orchestra. Almost a decade later, she finally got it back.
Nine years ago, Heidi Slyker, a musician from Maryland, USA, left her flute in the back of a taxi.
Slyker – then, Heidi Bean, her maiden name – hopped in a cab in 2012 after an eight-hour gig at a live music bar in Boston, where she played piano, guitar, bass, and battery.
It was 3:30 a.m., and a few hours later she had her first rehearsal with the New England Philharmonic, which she had auditioned years ago but who had finally found a position as a flautist, the New York Times reports.
Her flute, a silver Millennium Brannen Brothers worth $ 10,000 that she allegedly bought as a teenager, had slipped to the floor. As soon as the taxi drove off, Slyker “knew right away” that she had left her flute in the back seat.
She called the cab company and filed a police report, but no one was able to find the flute or the driver.
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Desperate to see her instrument again, Slyker told a local news station that she was “devastated” and would have to leave the orchestra if her missing flute did not reappear. “My whole life has played this instrument,” she told CBS Boston.
The next day she played rehearsal on a flute loaned to her by a friend – but her sound had taken a hit, as the orchestra had made clear to her.
“They were like ‘Flute 2 sounds terrible’. And I was like, I’m sorry,” she told the Times. “I was able to finish the concert, but I was never asked to come back… It was terrible. I finally got into an orchestra and just had to quit.
It took Slyker five years to save on his new flute, a $ 13,000 Aurumite 9K from Powell Flutes.
Then, in March of this year, Slyker got a call from Brannen Brothers, who said a music store in Boston contacted them about a silver flute, which a customer had brought in for evaluation.
An employee at a music store had reported to Boston police a month earlier that the serial number matched the one Slyker had lost in the cab. “I almost passed out,” Slyker told the US publication.
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The instrument was reported by an eagle-eyed woodworker at the store who was suspicious of the customer, saying the way he handled the instrument was not the way a professional flautist might treat it.
In April, police spoke to the customer, who told police he had bought it from a stranger.
He later turned over the flute, now valued at $ 13,000, to detectives so that it can be returned to its rightful owner.
It was later discovered that the client was a cab driver, who was working for the cab company the night Slyker’s flute went missing.
On Monday, Slyker and his beloved instrument were finally reunited. “I’m not a vengeful person, but he really played with me,” she told the Times. “It was so personal and it affected me in so many ways.”