Lyric Opera of Chicago

Debra Schuerer-DeNoon, May 26, 1957-November 23,2011

Press Release Letterhead
Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011

Former member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus
Debra Schuerer-DeNoon
May 26, 1957 – November 23, 2011

Debra A. Schuerer-DeNoon, a former member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus, died unexpectedly on Nov. 23. She lived in Evanston for the past 22 years and recently worked at Natural Things, Evanston’s Flower Market.

The soprano sang with the Lyric Opera Chorus 1995-2010. Her solo roles at Lyric included Turandot’s Handmaiden (Turandot, 1996-97, Bruno Bartoletti, cond.), Salvation Army Girl (Street Scene, 2001-02, Richard Buckley, cond.), the Valkyrie Ortlinde (Die Walküre, 2002-03, two performances, Sir Andrew Davis, cond.), and Woman (Cavalleria rusticana, 2008-09, Renato Palumbo, cond.).  She understudied several roles as well.

Ms. Schuerer-DeNoon performed as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus from 1986 until 1997, and she also appeared as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on the following occasions: Overseer, Elektra/Strauss, Daniel Barenboim, cond., Orchestra Hall(1995); Penitent Woman, “Scenes from Goethe's Faust”/Schumann, Christoph Eschenbach, cond., Ravinia Festival (1996); one of six solo voices, Moses und Aron/Schoenberg, Pierre Boulez, cond., Orchestra Hall and Philharmonie, Berlin (1999). She also sang with members of the CSO Chorus on the soundtrack for Disney’s Fantasia 2000 (the final section of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” James Levine, cond.).

With Indiana’s Opera de Lafayette Ms. Schuerer-DeNoon sang small solo roles in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. She performed as a soloist with several area ensembles, including the James Chorale, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Evansville’s Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Singers, and Ballet Company, and others.

With colleagues from the Lyric Opera Chorus Ms. Schuerer-DeNoon performed seasonally as a “LyriCaroler” in the Civic Opera Building lobby and elsewhere, dressed in Victorian-style costumes while singing holiday favorites. She also sang several recitals with Lyric colleagues at venues in Door County, Wisconsin. For the past several years she was a professional member of the Chancel Choir of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Evanston.

A native of Neenah, Wisconsin, Ms. Schuerer-DeNoon graduated from Armstrong High School in Neenah in 1975 and attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she studied German and music.

“Debra started taking voice lessons as early as 7th grade,” recalls her sister Karen Willett.  “She was in Swing Choir and Chamber Choir at Armstrong High School, and was highly involved in musicals as well. She also was involved with summer theater through the Recreational Department in Neenah. I can’t remember a time that she did not was her life! When we were youngsters, we would always put on little shows at family gatherings at our grandparents’ house in West Bend, mostly singing Mitch Miller songs. Such good memories.”

“She was an avid reader, and her interests included art, horses, cats, movies, poetry, music, and of course flower arranging,” notes Richard Jarvie, Ms. Schuerer-DeNoon’s beloved friend and partner. “She often told me that the high point in her life was working in the Lyric Opera Chorus. Debra loved life, her family and friends, and most of all, singing.”

In addition to Mr. Jarvie, Ms. Schuerer-DeNoon is survived by her mother, Elizabeth Schuerer; sisters Karen Willett and Jennifer Schuerer, and brothers Donald, Michael, and Patrick.

Visitation 9 a.m.-noon followed by noon Mass Thursday, December 1, at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, Appleton, Wisconsin.

A Chicago-area memorial and concert are being planned.  In lieu of flowers a memorial will be established.