Suffering a severe injury — especially to a hand or arm — is an experience that musicians dread. Making music, whether it be with an instrument or voice, is a significant component of a musician’s identity. An injury that obstructs the expression of that identity can be devastating.
In my career, I’ve suffered two injuries that have impeded my ability to play the viola (insert viola joke here 😸). The first, and more aggravating, occurred during the second semester of my freshman year at Juilliard; some subtle changes to my bow hold, coupled with an intense practice regiment, led to damaged cartilage and joint capsule of the right thumb. In total, I was unable to bow for roughly six months. Instead, my time was spent seeking various treatments, ranging from hot wax immersion to therapeutic exercises to a cast. My instrumental practice was limited to left hand exercises. Even after I was able to reintroduce bowing, I was compelled to wear a thumb splint for the next three years whenever I played. Years later, I still must manage the injury. For example, when symptoms arise, I sleep while wearing my cast.
Time away from music-making was frustrating. Not only was I unable to fully articulate self through music, but I felt like I was falling behind in my technical development during formative school years. Luckily, I was able to manage the injury and today it doesn’t interfere with my profession.
One of the Crested Butte Music Festival’s most visible musicians, Frank Vignola, is currently struggling with a serious injury. As you might have heard, Frank broke several bones in an accident. Despite his injuries, Frank initially planned to teach at CBMF’s Gypsy Jazz Hot Club Dream Camp, the one activity he planned to retain in his schedule. However, recent setbacks have eliminated that possibility; Frank will now be recovering at least until the new year.
As you might imagine, Frank is devastated that he will be away from his instrument for an extended period and unable to teach and perform at CBMF this season. However, rest assured that the Gypsy Jazz experience at CBMF will still be incredibly rewarding and fun. The outstanding faculty of the Hot Club Dream Camp will now be joined by fantastic guitarist Max O’Rourke, the rhythm guitarist of Rhythm Future Quartet. Additionally, world-renowned accordionist Julien Labro will be stepping in to perform during CBMF’s Gypsy Jazz week. While we’ll all be thinking of Frank, the show will go on with the incredible musicians arranged to play this summer, and we can’t wait to share them with you!