Replace Jeff Burke's Stolen Bassoon

February 19th Update:  Today brought great news! 

Whoever stole Jeff's bassoon and other gear eventually abandoned it in a subway station, from which it made it into the TTC's lost and found at Bay Station.  Today, Jeff recovered his bassoon and most of what he'd lost!  The media stories of the past couple of days made a TTC employee reach out and tonight the world is a little better.

With thanks to the 255 generous donors, this campaign is being wound down.  People came together and well exceeded our original fundraising goal.  Jeff is still full of the joy that came from seeing his reflection in the people whose lives he's touched.

Over the next few days, in consultation with Jeff, we'll work out what elements of his musical gear need repair or replacement and prioritize getting that done.  Jeff's friend, Gary, suggested that his 32-year-old student bassoon with its many formal and informal repairs should possibly be retired in favour of a newer, good quality second-hand one on which someone has offered an excellent price.  

The plan is to use the funds first to repair/ replace Jeff's instruments and then to address the fiscal aspects of his life that need attention. He hasn't been able to busk for more than 7 weeks because of the loss of his bassoon, and depression nearly cost him the roof over his head just before New Year's.  Mara work with Jeff to come up with a plan that makes sense so that he gets the best advantage of the loving help he's been given by all of you.

Special thanks to the CBC and Global News -- and to all the people who shared this. 

This isn't where we thought this would end -- it's 100 times better! 
Thanks for all the love you've shown Jeff! 


Update on the campaign to replace Jeff Burke's bassoon:

First and foremost:  Thank you all for your incredible generosity!  There are not that many moments in life (thankfully!) when you get to see on a leader board how much people care.  Jeff is having that moment now.  And he is heartened and grateful to everyone who is helping to put him back in a place of making music. 

Help has extended beyond this campaign to practical offers of replacement equipment and other assistance.  Thanks from Jeff and from us for that as well.  This is making it possible to make the funds raised go even farther for him.  As well, the offer of a loaner bassoon by Gary Armstrong while the replacement is being purchased is helping to put Jeff back in work even sooner.

The original story we told you here turned out to be factually inaccurate in two points:  The loss occurred Jan 5th v Feb 5th, and all the musical gear he was carrying that night (not just the bassoon) was stolen.  Jeff has been dealing with some serious depression and this event was very hard to absorb.  

Some of you have seen the list that Pippa posted on Facebook.  It has grown by a few items he has remembered in the process of getting the police reporting taken care of and is now this:

A black -synthetic/polypropylene Fox (Renard) Model lV Bassoon with a broken neck strap ring, a weld on the low B key, no whisper key & no hand rest.
Also in the case, a modified Sound grabber II PZM pickup used for amplifying the Bassoon
& a Sm58 microphone (without silver ball screen)

One Moog Etherwave Standard Theramin with Ash Cabinet
One Roland Cube 10GX Guitar Amplifier
A Blue Digitech JamMan Looper/Phrase Sampler Pedal and power supply
MotoMaster Elimintor PowerBox 2000 and power charger
6 Penny Whistles
1 Mic Stand
1 Bassoon Case
1 large Duffle bag

Yesterday we set up a Trust account for him at the Latvian Credit Union in Toronto, and Mara Leja will manage disboursements to make sure we come as close as we can to replacing all that he had.   Any residual amount will be used to cover his general outstanding expenses; he has been without the means to earn a living for more than six weeks.

Also yesterday, Jeff was interviewed at Long and McQuade, by the CBC.  That should air Sunday and then be available online.  We will keep you posted.  

Once again, thanks for the incredible love and support you are showing Jeff!


Most of you will know that our friend, Jeff Burke, makes his living as a musician -- playing bassoon, theramin and anything else he can get his hands on as a street performer, a subway busker and a member of several bands.  This week someone stole his bassoon from his porch while he was carrying his things in after busking.  Jeff's bassoon is the principle tool of his trade but it is also a fundamental piece of his identity.

Jeff is not just a brilliant musician, he is a wonderful friend and a fine human being.  As soon as people heard that someone had taken his bassoon, they started to ask whether anyone was collecting -- and to send or hand funds to a couple of us. 

This gofundme page is intended to help focus the love we all have for Jeff to help put this right.  A bassoon of the sort he had could run anywhere from $6,000 -- $11,000.   Please give what you can to help.

If you know of anyone with a bassoon they could loan Jeff in the short term, please reach out, either by posting on his facebook page or otherwise contacting him or Tom Elmer or myself. 

Thanks for helping to make this better!
  • Juliann Sliwa 
    • $33 
    • 43 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
  • Alicia Reid 
    • $25 
    • 43 mos
  • Ross Weaver 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos
  • Jim Strickland 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Leo Nelson 
Scarborough, ON
Mara Leja