Vail Bravo! column: Mark of greatness |

Vail Bravo! column: Mark of greatness

Monica Wentz
Bravo: Behind the Curtain
Vail, CO Colorado

What’s that hickey?

Sometimes having the modest hobby or full-fledged career of playing the violin or viola can get you confused with a more promiscuous pastime. Many violinists begin to form a seemingly bruised red mark on their necks from years of practicing and performing. Having played the violin since age six, I am no stranger to the “violin hickey.”

In the civilian world (as we musicians call it), the violin hickey generates looks of questioning, disgust, and occasionally creepy approval from passersby, but at home, among our peers and fellow string players at conservatories and concert halls, the violin hickey is a permanent fixture and a battle scar of which to be proud. Between musicians it is seen as a sign of someone who has dedicated him or herself to countless hours of practice.

Some of those talented violinists are joining us this summer at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Be on the lookout for Nadja Salerno-Sonenberg, Gil Shaham and Nikolaj Znaider, to name a few. These violinists will be making their mark on the Vail Valley in the weeks to come.

So, the next time you pass someone on the street with a hickey on his or her neck, give it an extra thought, maybe there’s another reason behind that red mark!

Monica Wentz is the artistic administrator at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

Support Local Journalism