By Earle Hitchner
As the Echo reported last week, five instruments owned by Peter Barnes of the Cathie Ryan Band were stolen between shows on March 5 from the dressing room of a lower Manhattan venue. Taken were a seven-key wooden Irish flute made by Nellysford, Va.’s Patrick Olwell and four ebony and silver whistles made by Chris Abell of North Carolina. Three of the whistles have the serial number 3 on them, while the remaining C whistle doesn’t.
Also taken were Ryan’s wallet, cell phone, and the contents of her purse.
"The owner of the place we played has been very cooperative," Barnes said with cautious hope from his home in Lincoln, Mass. "I know the detective assigned to the case hasn’t given up. He’s already recovered Cathie’s cell phone."
A professional musician for 22 years, Barnes is well known on the English country dance circuit through Bare Necessities, a group with whom he’s recorded three albums (a fourth is due out shortly). He is also a member of Yankee Ingenuity, a popular contradance band with whom he’s cut two albums, and he often plays with fiddler Frank Ferrel. In 1985, Barnes appeared on Rodney Miller’s "Airplang" LP, a modern classic of New England fiddling that was reissued on CD by Rounder Records two years ago.
Over the last five years, Barnes has also branched out more seriously into Irish music, backing button accordionist Joe Derrane and performing aside Cathie Ryan in her band.
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"If anyone has any information or leads at all about my instruments, they can call me directly — no questions asked," Barnes said. His phone number is (781) 259-8442. If anonymity or further privacy is desired, unsigned letters can be sent to the Irish Echo, Attn: Earle Hitchner, 309 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10016