A long white braid trails down Betty Comora’s back as she plays a washboard with multiple instrument attachments. She happily sings along to a jazz tune while playing her homemade instrument. She started playing the washboard unintentionally. While playing with a Dixieland band in New York City, the tuba player suggested she give it a try, and she enjoyed it. She says she received her inspiration to sing and perform from mediocre musicians.
“Go out and see the average person and performer and it’ll give you the courage to try it yourself,” Comora says.
Comora has been playing the piano since grade school but got the idea to start a quartet in high school when she wanted to learn popular tunes. She and her friends were surprised when they actually landed gigs. She does not have any formal jazz training but says she has always had a good ear.
Comora moved in 2000 to Sarasota from New Jersey with her husband, Owen, after visiting Sarasota. Comora was a bit reluctant to move to Sarasota at first, but after her late friend Bill Simon introduced her to people at the Senior Friendship Centers she knew Sarasota was home. To learn more about Comora’s multiple talents, visit her website, bettycomora.com.
IN HER OWN WORDS
“I think it’s gorgeous. It’s so beautiful, the plants the shrubbery, it’s so picturesque,” Comora says of her neighborhood. “I had a cousin visit and she said, ‘Betty, you live in park.’ It was just so descriptive and true.”