Born in Ft. Sill, Demetra was introduced to music early on as her mom played the organ at church every Sunday and dad was president of the board. Their family orchestra of American and ethnic music toured and she played the guitar and bouzouki, singing solos from age 12. She made the chorus of professional Lyric Theatre at 16 and then was the youngest lead ever as Maria in West Side Story at age 17 to rave reviews.
Debbie, as she was called in her youth, won Miss Teenage Oklahoma City and the Miss Teenage America Talent Award at 16 singing, “I’m the Greatest Star” from Funny Girl and first brought her first honors to Oklahoma as she was broadcast on national TV. She won a full scholarship to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC but when college time arrived, housing was prohibitive so she accepted an Oklahoma City University invitation and voice scholarship to her mom’s alma mater.
Demetra’s dad, a dry cleaner, was the uniform sponsor of the Oklahoma 89er baseball team, farm team for the Houston Astros and her brother Jeff, was their bat joy, so it worked out perfectly that each night she sang the Star-Spangled Banner from the field! Great training for her future.
Former Miss America from Oklahoma, Jane Jayroe took Demetra under her wing and guided her to the title of Miss Oklahoma to the Miss America Pageant. She is a talent and swimsuit winner. During a performance for the Wichita Music Theatre that year, she met and married Mike Mehmet Mustafoglu. The couple moved to Texas where Mike was with Shell Oil Company and Demetra sang all the leads for the Houston Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Their next move to LA where MIke became VP for Getty Canada brought a full change to her career where she garnered a spot with of the University of Southern California touring opera program and When the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City was bombed, The Mustafoglus hosted a thousand person fundraiser concert entitled HELP FOR OKLAHOMA WITH LOVE FROM THE HEARTLAND and sent over $100,000 to the families of the victims of the bombing. Then Lt. Governor Mary Fallin and Edye Smith attended, as well as the Ft. Lauderdale firefighters who had flown to Oklahoma City to assist. Demetra produced a five hour talent night which was sold out and had matching funds. She had congratulations and accolades from the Governors of Florida and Oklahoma., was also a finalist in the Met, Zachary and Fuchs International Competitions. These led to her debut with the Los Angeles Pops’ premiere concert where she wowed audiences with her lively opera and Broadway performances.
BEGINNING HER CAREER
As a result of these engagements, Demetra was engaged to sing and model Hollywood movie costumes worn by cinema stars, sang hundreds of concerts throughout Southern California and even recorded a cartoon opera character. She was offered a film contract, but decided music would always be her first love along with her husband.
Residence in Boston was next where Mike was president of Oxbow Petroleum. Both daughters were born while in Boston and Demetra sang with Boston Lyric Opera till Mike’s company relocated to Florida. There, Demetra served as resident soprano for Palm Beach Opera and worked under world renowned maestro Anton Guadagno of Italy for almost ten years. She also worked with New York City Opera and was frequently requested by their directors on their out of state tours. She also held the role of resident soprano for the Boca Pops symphony touring with them sharing popular opera and Broadway music.
While raising their daughters in Florida, Demetra amassed a voice studio of 50 filling great halls with staged and costumed performers and orchestra. Her students won 14 leads on Broadway, all under age 16. To this day several have returned and fly to LA for study. The King and I, Lion King, Les Miserables, Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun, Falsettos, the Sound of Music and Wicked are some of the musicals her students have starred in on Broadway.
While in Florida, Demetra was invited to perform in Sophia, Bulgaria where she made her first CD “Demetra George Sings Love Arias” and it was nominated twice for a Grammy in 2000 and 2001. Her nominations were for best album and for the solo of The Merry Widow Waltz. She also produced, “By George, She’s Got It!” and “Demetra George-A Mediterranean Journey.” Some of the excerpts are from concerts at Carnegie, Weill, Merkin Halls in NYC and other live venues.
When the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City was bombed in 1995, The Mustafoglus hosted a thousand person fundraiser concert entitled HELP FOR OKLAHOMA WITH LOVE FROM THE HEARTLAND and sent over $100,000 to the families of the victims of the bombing. Then Lt. Governor Mary Fallin and Edye Smith attended, as well as the Ft. Lauderdale firefighters who had flown to Oklahoma City to assist. Demetra produced a five hour talent night which was sold out and had matching funds. She had congratulations and accolades from the Governors of Florida and Oklahoma.
An unexpected move back to Los Angeles brought more adventures to the family. Upon the illness of the soprano for a La Boheme performance, Demetra filled in last minute with a bang and she became the resident soprano for Nevada Opera Theatre Association in Las Vegas, her job for the last 14 years singing many opera leads and concertizing in all the luxury Vegas hotels including on Lake Las Vegas’ floating stage built for Andrea Bocelli.
Demetra has performed with over 500 orchestras and in thousands of concerts. She has sung for four US presidents (Nixon, Ford, Carter, Clinton, and Vice President Spiro Agnew and Secretary of State Rogers), world dignitaries, prime ministers, ambassadors, consul generals, governors, mayors, renowned world clergy, two Patriarchs, generals, and many movie stars, professional athletes, and TV personalities. She sings the US national anthem and several others including for fundraisers for the American Heart Association, ALS, Rotary, Optimist, Lions,Kiwanis, Dodgers…and overseas for the US government each year and is honored to do so. Two years ago in July after singing for the US Embassy in Istanbul, Demetra did a mini concert for the hundreds of international students attending Space Camp in Izmir, Turkey. It is an international program offered to teens who absolutely loved the show! It was also a great honor to meet her new fan and friend, Jean Francois Clervoy, French Astronaut. She returns to represent the US yearly.
Mike, a successful businessman and first Turkish American recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, was appointed by his birth country of North Cyprus as the Honorary representative from N. Cyprus to California. The Mustafoglu homes in Beverly Hills and later Malibu have hosted many charity and political events. With Mike’s help, Demetra founded a ladies organization called TALL which aids blind, underprivileged women and children in California and Turkey. Each year the family hosts many fundraising events for special projects including the Santa Ana Blind Children’s Learning Center and the soprano serenades the kids every Christmas.
For eight years, Demetra performed in Cabo San Lucas for several charities in order to purchase computers, clothing and advanced education for local children in order keep them in Mexico rather than dangerously crossing the border. She was honored by the Optimist Clubs of Cabo San Lucas for her work.
Demetra was the guest artist in a one of a kind Andrew Lloyd Webber concert at the Four Seasons Hotel in Istanbul which raised five million dollars for the restoration of the entrance to the Topkapi Palace, the largest palace ever built. A week later she performed with the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet Symphony wowing the crowds at the Surreya Opera house.
In 2011, Demetra presented a sold out concert in the ancient Bellapais Abbey in N. Cyprus entitled “A Halloween Happening-Music of the World”, where she performed songs, all costumed from 20 countries in 8 foreign languages as she toured the audience on a voyage of best loved music. The concert raised funds to remodel the local orphanage. She has also guested twice at the Karmi church in concert to raise needed funds for its restoration and a sound system. Concerts were standing room only and greeted with wild standing ovations.
In 2013, Demetra was tapped for a small role in a Christmas TV movie entitled, “The Snow Bride” for the Hallmark Channel and will now become a member of SAG.
In May 2015 she was the guest artist for the N. Cyprus Rotary black tie event, LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND and wowed the US Ambassador, new Turkish Cypriot president and the officers of International Rotary from around the world. Shortly after, US Ambassador John Koenig awarded her a Cultural Diplomacy Award for her artistry and charitable work in the world community.
In 2007, Oklahoma City University conferred an Honorary Doctorate on Demetra so besides being Dr. Mom she is Dr. Demetra!