The Conductor and the Communicator: Client Spotlight on Al & Kathy Sturgis

Bonnie Mole |

We appreciate the wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, talents and interests of our clients, and from time to time we enjoy sharing their stories with you. 

Now is the perfect time to shine our spotlight on the multi-talented Al and Kathy Sturgis:  Al is celebrating his 25th anniversary as the Music Director of the North Carolina Master Chorale.  Kathy is counting down to the publication of her new book, Bridge to Spirit: An Off-Road Guide for Negotiating Life's Soul Crushing and Euphoric Moments (and Everything in Between).  She also sings as an alto with the Master Chorale.

Though their professions may seem quite different, there are similarities in the skills they use to get things done.  As Music Director of not only the Master Chorale, but also the Carolina Ballet and Tar River Orchestra, Al coordinates a vast number of moving parts – programming the music, conducting the orchestra, soloists, dancers, singers and performing administrative duties.  He is recognized by his colleagues as being a supportive, collaborative artist who travels easily through a wide variety of musical experiences.

Kathy is a communication doctor and specializes in organizational as well as personal development.  She works with groups and individuals to help them focus on goal-setting and putKathy Sturgis in place paths to achieve what they set out to do.  When working with disparate elements present within most groups, consensus building is the key to her success.  Both of their jobs also require intense periods of preparation when work is all-consuming.  During these times, Al and Kathy are understanding and supportive of each other.

Music is integral in their lives, so it is not surprising to learn that is what brought them together in the first place.  During college at the University of South Florida in Tampa, they sang in the chorus and even stood next to each other in the ensemble.  Though mutually attracted, they were both too shy to express themselves until the choir went on a European tour.  On their last evening in Salzburg, Austria, (after a couple of beers at a local pub) they finally worked up the courage to talk to each other and they have been together every since!  This year marks their 35th wedding anniversary and they are proud parents of two children – Alec and Melanie.

Al’s 25th year with the NC Master Chorale coincides with the 75th anniversary of the choral group.   Under Al’s leadership, the group has become a state recognized entity as the resident chorus of the NC Symphony and has appreciably expanded their number of events.  The path forward leads to attracting wider audiences with programs relevant to the community as well as attracting the best singers to perform.

Kathy’s book, Bridge to Spirit, looks to the “off-road” as a representation of life's teachable moments -when unexpected twists and turns veer you off the paved road, heighten your senses and invite growth.  It’s a teaching memoir based on her years of experience helping others realize life’s lessons.  To get on the waiting list for Kathy’s book and much more, check out her website at

Many thanks to Al and Kathy for being wonderful friends as well as clients for the past 25 years!

Bonnie Mole is Client Service and Communications Manager at Townsend Asset Management Corp. Email: