Soprano Gabrielle DeMers ’03 has forged for herself a career in operatic and concert singing. Her path has been clear since she graduated from Harker with a solid resume of performances including major roles in “Little Shop of Horrors” in spring 2001 and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in fall 2002. On May 17, 2019, DeMers, along with D.J. Blickenstaff ’09, was given Harker’s inaugural Life in the Arts award.
“It was hard to tell where Gabby was headed initially,” said Jeff Draper, theater teacher, “because she was so talented in so many areas. For my first fall play at Harker, I cast Gabby as Titania in ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ I knew that she would be fantastic as a fantasy goddess queen, filling the auxiliary gym with her performance, in the round in that huge space, and without a microphone. She has always carried that bearing that says ‘I can do this, I can hold your focus, and I am here to entertain you.’ She still brings that quality to her work today.”
DeMers was equally successful in Harker’s choral music program, performing with Downbeat. Her vocal music Conservatory advisor, Catherine Snider, noted that Gabby possessed “such an opera diva vibe when she was young, with her powerful voice and technique. And then, she’d surprise you and turn on a dime into the gum-chewing naïve New Yorker Audrey in ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’”
She remains the only Harker Conservatory Certificate graduate to major in both vocal music and theater.
DeMers holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music where she sang the female lead, Betty, in the West Coast premiere of Lowell Liebermann and J.D. McClatchy’s “Miss Lonelyhearts” and Nerone in Handel’s “Agrippina.” While at USC, she received the Opera Award and was inducted into the Order of Troy for her outstanding leadership in the music department.
She received her Master of Music in opera performance from the University of Maryland, College Park. As a member of the Maryland Opera Studio, she sang the title role of Sandrina in Mozart’s “La Finta Giardiniera” and Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.”
DeMers has appeared in many productions since taking flight as a professional singer. She appeared regularly with Lyric Opera Baltimore where she made her role debut as Kate Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly” under the baton of Steven White and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
With Opera AACC, DeMers sang Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni” and Erste Dame in “Die Zauberflöte.” For her Mimi in “La Boheme” with HUBOpera, DC Metro Arts wrote that she was “sweetly demure as ingénue seamstress Mimi … ‘Donde Lieta’ … was heart-breaking and left most of the audience in tears.”
DeMers is a regular leading lady with The Young Victorian Theatre Company where she was Josephine in “H.M.S. Pinafore” (2017, 2013), Phyllis in “Iolanthe,” and Gianetta in “The Gondoliers,” where The Baltimore Sun singled her out as “a dynamo as Gianetta, with her bright, hearty soprano.”
She received the Sorcerer’s Cup award from Young Vic for her dedication to and leadership in the company and will be featured in their upcoming production of “From London To Baltimore: A Salute to Gilbert & Sullivan.”
DeMers is featured on EMI’s album “Universidad Navidena” as the soprano soloist in an orchestral arrangement of “Noche Sagrada.” Her concert work includes the soprano soloist in Schubert’s “Mass in G,” soprano 2 soloist in Mozart’s “Mass in c minor,” soprano soloist in Mozart’s “Vesperae solennes de confessore,” and Bachianas “Brasileiras No. 5” of Villa Lobos.
Recently, DeMers has performed twice at Harker: first, in February 2018, at the opening of the Rothschild Performing Arts Center and a year later at the Harker 125th Anniversary Gala.
DeMers can be heard in concerts and operas throughout the Baltimore/DC Metro area, including concerts where she represents Maryland Opera.
Life in the Arts awardees are those alumni who have the character, talent, drive and determination to pursue their passion as their livelihood. Our inductees come from the stage, screen, classroom, backstage and rehearsal halls. They are passionate about their art and create at the highest level within their domain.