Music to heal a broken body

A benefit concert for Ernie Franz is slated.

As Ernie Franz lay in a hospital bed, broken and bruised after being hit by a car while bicycling, several professional musician friends wondered what to do.

“We thought that perhaps a benefit concert could help the family get through this,” said violist Sue Jane Bryant, a freelance musician who plays with the Seattle Symphony. “It’s a very unfair thing that’s happened, but it has happened, and this seemed an appropriate way to help the family recover.”

This Sunday at 7 p.m., the Beau Quartet will perform at Grace Episcopal Church, with all donations going to the Franz family.

The quartet includes Bryant and her husband Stephen Byrant, a violinist for the Seattle Symphony; Carol Sepulveda, a violinist for the Northwest Chamber Orchestra; and Charles Jacot, a cellist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. They will be accompanied by special guest Jon Green, a bassist with the Seattle Symphony.

The event “will be a concert for all ages, with some waltzes by Brahms, an Argentinian tango, and works by Beethoven and Stravinsky,” Sue Jane Bryant said. “Some people are afraid of Stravinsky, but this will be fun. It will be a very listenable concert.”

Ernie Franz, 46, is unlikely to attend. He is back at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, underging physical therapy to learn to walk, sit up and move his hands and arms again, said his wife Gwen.

An emergency room doctor at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Franz was riding his bike on High School Road Aug. 23 when he was hit by an alleged drunk driver doing 50 mph.

Franz suffered neck fractures and ruptured discs, a bruised spinal cord, eight rib fractures, a lacerated liver, two broken arms, a fractured leg and collapsed lung.

“He is working as hard as he can, learning to walk again, and he is making progress every time,” Gwen Franz said. “But he still needs help standing and holding steady.”

Ernie Franz is scheduled to be released from the hospital Nov. 30, and will continue his recovery at home.

The couple has three children, ranging in age from 9 to 14.

“We are going to need home health care, and that’s the one thing the benefit concert can help us pay for,” Gwen Franz said. “The timing for this is just incredible.”

Ernie Franz’ doctors are hopeful that he will practice medicine again, and even ride his bike, but his recovery could take two years or more.

Most of the musicians in the quartet became friends with the Franz family through Gwen’s work with the Seattle Symphony, where she is a freelance violist. The musicians who live on the island – the Bryants, Green, and Franz – have performed concerts at local schools.

“These guys are fine musicians and just wonderful people,” Gwen Franz said.

Sunday’s concert is a communal effort. Grace church donated the venue and the concert was widely publicized by Cross Sound Church – where the Franz’ are members – the local biking community, Imagine Bainbridge and friends and neighbors. The emergency room staff at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton, where Ernie Franz used to work, has already made a donation to the cause.

“We are hoping that Ernie will feel all that support,” even if he is unable to attend the concert, Sue Jane Bryant said.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 28
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates