Recorder concert in memory of Comstock

Epidemiologist passed on his love of playing instrument

Epidemiologist passed on his love of playing instrument

January 24, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

When Dan Williams wanted to marry Martha Comstock, her father, George Comstock, jokingly told him if he wanted to marry into the family he would have to learn to play recorder, and take a tuberculosis test.

That's because George and Margaret Comstock's love of playing the recorder had been passed on through their family, said Barbara Comstock-King, recounting the story about her family.

Dr. George W. Comstock was more well known as a distinguished epidemiologist who conducted influential research on tuberculosis prevention, control and treatment in the 1940s and '50s. But on Sunday afternoon the Washington County Museum Consort, cofounded by Comstock, will hold a memorial concert to honor Comstock.

"I think it's wonderful and very befitting," said Comstock's granddaughter Barbara Comstock-King. Comstock-King as well as other Comstock family members are expected to play recorder during the concert, held at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. His widow, Emma Lou Comstock, also is expected to attend.


Consort members David and Naomi Styer have selected several of George Comstock's favorite pieces for the concert.

The program will include "Catawba Valley," written by Peter Ramsey for the 50th wedding anniversary of George and his first wife, the late Margaret Comstock. Ramsey is a church organist the Comstocks met through a Pittsburgh recorder workshop they often attended, Naomi Styer said.

The performance also will include "Amaryllis," from "The Dancing Master" collection, Styer said. "Amaryllis" will feature five recorders: two sopranos, a bass, a tenor and an alto.

Other instruments during the concert will include drum, tambourine, krumhorns (curved horns that sound like a kazoo) and a Renaissance tenor flute (a wooden flute with six holes and no keys), Styer said.

The consort consists of the Styers of Halfway, Kathy Barr and Jeffrey Clise of Hagerstown and Brenda Slick of the Hagerstown area.

George Comstock performed with the consort from January 1979 until May 2004, when he decided to stop performing due to his declining health, Styer said.

Comstock, 92, of Smithsburg, died July 15, 2007, after a long bout with prostate cancer.

If you go ...

WHAT: From the George W. Comstock Library - A Memorial Concert by the Washington County Museum Consort, of which Comstock was a founding member

WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27

WHERE: Bowman Gallery, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, City Park, Hagerstown

COST: Free admission

MORE: A reception hosted by The Singer Society will follow the concert.

For more information, call the museum at 301-739-5727 or go to

The Herald-Mail Articles