“I sat there in the emergency room cursing up a storm, and I stopped briefly and asked the ER staff, is it OK if I curse? And they said, yes. And I said good because I’m gonna keep going!”
Swallow Hill Violin and Fiddle Instructor Josie Quick is recalling the summer of 2021 when she shattered her left elbow and broke her bow hand in a freak accident in Glenwood Springs. To call it a scary situation is an understatement.
Yet even in those initial moments when she stared down a host of uncertainties – and months or even possibly years of rehabilitation – Josie knew one thing: I’ll play again. I started saying that to myself even before we got to the hospital.
Josie admits that she didn’t know if she’d perform again, but she immediately set her sights on playing. And thankfully she is not only playing violin once more, but performing! Josie and her band, Perpetual Motion, which also features her husband Tom Carleno on guitar, has been gigging regularly since this spring.
We are excited to welcome them back to Swallow Hill with a concert in Tuft Theatre on October 22 as part of our Top of The Hill Faculty Concert Series. Josie and Tom are calling it The Broken Elbow Comeback Show.
Even before the accident, Perpetual Motion was sidelined from touring due to COVID-19 related restrictions. The band turned to live streams and virtual events, but life in a holding pattern went against everything a band named Perpetual Motion stands for. You could say despite all the challenges they were poised for a comeback.
And what a comeback it is. In the earliest days of her rehabilitation and recovery, creating music never strayed far from her mind. Josie was a bit surprised when a doctor told her very early in the process that she could play her violin whenever she felt up to it.
“I couldn’t hold the violin up yet, but I could hold a mandolin,” she shares, adding that the violin and mandolin can be tuned the same way, which lends it some instant familiarity. “I’m not a very good mandolin player but I started kind of messing around on it and I was listening to a lot of Brazilian Choro music at the time.”
Out of that Josie started playing some short Brazilian pieces, which in turn inspired her to write something of her own. Of that song she says “I don’t want to say it’s Brazilian because I’m sure that anybody who really, really knows what they’re doing in those styles is gonna laugh at it. But it’s influenced by that and I call it “The Broken Elbow Cha Cha.”
The song traveled with her throughout the physical therapy process. What started on the mandolin she transitioned over to the violin once she got stronger and regained mobility in both of her arms. A crowning moment of her recovery was when she played violin for her physical therapists.
While acknowledging a host of wonderful doctors and physical therapists, and her own determination, Josie wants to call out one person in particular for getting her through it all: her musical and life partner Tom.
“He really is an amazing guy. At the beginning he had to tie my shoes and cut my food. He never complained. He never said a cross word. He just got me my coffee in the morning and a beer later in the day. He was fantastic.”
As for the future, Josie and Tom are grateful they are back to performing live music again, and now that they are back on track they have no plans on stopping.
“This summer we were able to gig pretty regularly and it’s been really wonderful to get out there and play shows again. I’m looking forward to just keeping on playing as many shows as I can!”