Christmas Angels from Across Country Help Bring Stolen Viola Home to North Bend Musician

Eva Sheie Kiser, wife of Snoqualmie Middle School science teacher Woodroe Kiser, warns, “Never leave anything that you care about in your car, even for a minute in a place you think is safe.”

She learned that lesson the hard way (the REALLY hard way) in October when the professional musician’s livelihood was stolen from a locked car, in a safe neighborhood, just around the corner from a crowded Texas restaurant where she and a friend were eating.

Eva, who lived in Houston for 10 years, had returned there for a funeral.  She has a ritual each time she travels back to Texas, which is heading straight to her favorite taco stand for fish tacos. So when her best friend asked her if she wanted to first drop her luggage at her house, Eva said no, it would be okay, and the two friends headed out for her ritual, “return to Houston” meal.

Not more than 30 minutes later, all Eva’s things were gone, the back car window shattered.  Included in the stolen items was Eva’s beautiful (and very valuable) viola, with which the professional musician makes her living, and an irreplaceable 16th birthday gift from her parents.

Eva began playing the viola when she was 5.  She now plays with the Northwest Sinfonietta and an experimental orchestra called Scrape.  After the Texas funeral she was to travel to Phoenix to play a Northwest Sinfonietta concert.

After filing a police report, Houston officers actually advised Eva NOT to call area pawn shops looking for her missing viola; the reason being if pawn shops know the viola is stolen, they won’t accept it.  Eva was told the best chance of getting her viola back was to wait – because the thief would probably pawn it and eventually the viola would find its way to a real violin shop… someday.

After she played in the Phoenix concert with a borrowed instrument, Eva returned home to North Bend Eva and went to work, emailing an in-depth description of the stolen viola (and two bows in its case) to every violin shop in Texas and neighboring states.  She sent the information to anyone she could, casting the biggest net possible.  Somehow, she included the email address of a Philadelphia violin shop on her distribution list.

Enter Lloyd Ernstes, a music store owner who purchased Eva’s viola in a Missouri City Texas pawn shop for $107.  Knowledgeable of musical instruments, Lloyd suspected the viola was “extraordinary” and googled the name “Mt Airy Violins,” which was stamped on one of the viola bows.

Enter fate. Mt Airy Violins just happened to be the Philadelphia violin shop Eva had somehow included on her lengthy stolen viola email distribution list.

When Lloyd called Mt Airy Violins, owner Elizabeth Shaak immediately remembered Eva’s email about the stolen viola.  She forwarded that email to Lloyd and two days ago he called Eva with the good news – and that he is shipping it home to her.

Eva said she knows it sounds cheesy, but she feels like Lloyd and Elizabeth are her Christmas angels – a true Christmas miracle.  She elaborated, “There are still good people in the world, and at a time when terrible things are happening, some good can still be found.”

You can see the feel good story yourself because it made the Houston news yesterday. Click HERE to watch the story.

Merry Christmas Snoqualmie Valley!

eva and violin

Eva with two of her favorite fans, Claire and Jane Livingston

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