Deborah is a native Wilmingtonian. She studied music at East Carolina University and returned to Wilmington to accept a job teaching band in the New Hanover County School District, where she taught for 36 years, spending most of that time at Trask Middle School.
When asked about any funny anecdotes during a performance, she remembers an experience playing for The Nutcracker when the electronic celeste came unplugged. “As they danced, the music stopped. They gracefully folded up, went backstage and waited for Dr. Errante to plug it back in. We started over and they came back out. The dancers handled themselves beautifully and the show continued.”
Deborah has an identical twin sister who is deaf and teaches at the NC School for the Deaf in Wilson, NC. Deborah says of having a twin, “We still look alike and people get us mixed up. I am able to sign and enjoy learning new signs. I have always enjoyed being a twin.”
She has also played with the Cape Fear Chorale, the Tallis Chamber Orchestra, the Wilmington Symphonic Winds, and local church choirs and orchestras when needed. When she is not playing her flute, Deborah enjoys restoring furniture, remodeling her home, sewing, and exercising. She also sings in the choir at her church.
Here's an interview with Deborah in 2020:
What instruments do you play?
Flute, Piccolo, Piano, Organ.
My music education degree required learning all the instrument groups - woodwind, brass, percussion and strings
How long have you played these instruments?
I started playing piano when I was 7 and flute when I was 9, so 58 years.
How long have you been a Wilmington Symphony Orchestra musician?
What do you do for a career?
I enjoyed being a middle school band director for 36 years. I am now enjoying retirement.
Where did you grow up?
What is your favorite song, artist, and/or musical memory?
I have a lot of favorites, so it’s hard to narrow it down to one. I enjoy being able to play with my daughter, Sarah Parker, who’s an oboist. This past winter, we played in several small ensemble performances featuring mother and daughter performers.
Favorite meal or restaurant?
I grew up in a family of outstanding cooks. My favorite food would be seafood - especially a home-cooked fish fry with coleslaw and homemade cornbread. This meal requires a lot of work so I enjoy seafood at my favorite restaurant, Cape Fear Seafood.
Iced tea! Everything is better with a refreshing glass of iced tea.
What is your favorite vacation?
My favorite vacation was our trip to England. We were on a tour part of the time and on our own part of the time. I loved London and hope to go back again sometime.
You're stuck on a desert island... What book, music/album/artist, and/or movie do you want with you??
During this quarantine time, I watched Outlander and then read the first book. If I were stuck on a desert island, I could watch and read it all again.
What's your pet situation?
I currently have a dachshund mix named Roo. She keeps us on our toes and gets us out of the house every day for walks. We meet a lot of our neighbors through interactions with the dogs.
What do you want people to know about the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra?
I hope the WSO will come out on the other side of 2020 with strong support and a healthy audience. We started because of the vision and dedication of local musicians who wanted a vibrant community orchestra. I hope we will always retain the feeling of community in our ensemble.
How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day?
At the beginning of our stay at home, I worked on a lot of projects around the house. I’ve done a lot of house painting, yard work and cooking. I am also part of a group that made face masks for New Hanover Regional Medical Center, the Zimmer Cancer Center and Title 1 schools. We’ve walked a lot in our neighborhood.
Any words of wisdom to help others through this?
This is without a doubt one of the most challenging times I have lived through. I think we need to stay connected to people and stay busy with productive activities. There are many ways to contribute even though we are mostly staying at home. One of the most meaningful things I have done is prepare dinner once a week for a young family trying to manage working from home while taking care of their children and helping with online school. I have met a family that I would not have known before. By helping others, it helps me stay positive and not think of all the worries of the times we are in.
Christine Maynard, Concertmaster
Mary Jo White