Before playing a single note, Frank Almond received a standing ovation Monday night. Then, he brought on stage the 1715 Lipinski Stradivarius that was violently stolen from him last month and started to play.
It was Almond's first major performance since being reunited with the rare violin. Almond was tased by assailants while walking to his car. They then ran off with the $6 million instrument.
"I cannot tell you how much your concern and support over the last bit of time has meant to me and my family,” said Frank Almond.
Police recovered the Stradivarius after tracking it to a home in Milwaukee. Two people are charged with the robbery.
"I was totally shocked and I really prayed that they could get it back in one piece,” said Bob Maganck.
Bob Maganck and his wife Carol bought tickets to the sold out show. Maganck's father was a concert violinist who played a Stradivarius.
"Very much familiar with the value and what a Stradivarius violin means to a violinist."
Now recovered, the Lipinski Stradivarius has perhaps never been more famous. In a 300-year life filled with high profile performances.
"I used to play the violin and so did my mom."
Karen Kaszynski and Carrie Annonson followed the story closely in the news and vowed to go to this performance if the violin was recovered. They're grateful to see the Stradivarius back in Almond's proficient hands.
"There is that connection with your instrument."
"That's part of him now especially after all these years."
Almond will perform in Milwaukee on Saturday. He says he plans to recognize those who helped recover the violin.