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Al Sturgis

Alfred E. Sturgis

Music Director

Alfred E. Sturgis is a highly sought after conductor whose versatility and extensive background allow him to journey comfortably into a wide variety of musical experiences. He currently serves as Music Director of the North Carolina Master Chorale, the Carolina Ballet and the Tar River Orchestra. Known for being a strong collaborative artist, Sturgis has also enjoyed a great deal of experience in Opera and Musical Theatre.

Sturgis has served as Guest Conductor for the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, North Carolina Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Carolina Chamber Orchestra, Raleigh Civic Symphony, National Opera Company, Capital Opera, Long Leaf Opera, and North Carolina Theatre. He has conducted orchestral and opera performances overseas in France, Bulgaria, and China. Early in his career he performed a number of roles in musical theatre, opera, and oratorio, in addition to touring and recording in Southern France with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers.

Under his skilled artistic leadership the Master Chorale has made appearances at state and regional conferences of the American Choral Director’s Association, recorded three Christmas CDs, and several television broadcasts on WRAL and UNC-TV. They have also been involved in numerous successful collaborations with the Carolina Ballet and the North Carolina Symphony. In recognition of his dynamic musical leadership, Sturgis was awarded the 1996 Raleigh Medal of Arts.


Christine Kastner

Executive Director

Christine Kastner is an accomplished and successful leader with a demonstrated history of organizational expansion. After an extensive national search, she was selected as our new Executive Director and joined our team in July 2019.


Chris’s personal and professional achievements reveal her talents in the areas of fundraising, marketing, and strong community engagement. In her previous position as President and CEO of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, she stabilized a struggling nonprofit and led them through remarkable and rapid growth. Kastner’s guidance established FSO as a leading musical agency in the southeastern region of North Carolina.


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Suzanne Polak


Suzanne U. Polak is a versatile musician with a passion for ensemble and collaborative works in both performance and composition. She is currently on adjunct faculty at Elon University and also working at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She has worked as a substitute keyboardist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, as Acting Principal with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Symphony Orchestra; substitute with the North Carolina Symphony and the West Virginia Symphony; also with Charlotte Symphony Orchestra on both keyboard and dulcimer; and appeared with the PSO as: a soloist on Carnival of the Animals, playing organ for a performance of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra and playing the theremin for their performance of David Del Tredici's Final Alice.


As a composer, she has fulfilled numerous music commissions, and was a recent participant at the 2021 Charlotte New Music Festival, where her work Fugue and Romance was premiered by the Beo String Quartet. She is currently residing in North Carolina, where she just completed her Doctoral Degree at the University of North Carolina- Greensboro.

Samantha Stoudemire

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Operations & Communications Manager

Samantha Stoudemire graduated from Meredith College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and minors in Mathematics and Economics. As a flutist, she has performed with the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, the White Iris Light Opera, several Meredith College ensembles, and various churches in the Triangle area. In addition to working at the North Carolina Master Chorale, Samantha is also the Artistic Operations Manager with the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra. When not working with musical groups, she volunteers with Purr Partners Feline Rescue. 

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Diane Covington
Education Consultant
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Deb Dewey
Box Office Associate



Jeff Hensley, President

Kay Pellack, Vice President
Lee Wagner, Treasurer
Evelyn McCauley, Secretary


Alfred Sturgis, Music Director

Christine Kastner, Executive Director



Chris Anderson

Francis Cianfrocca

Dan Gaugert

Valerie Grasso
Tesia Harrison

Leslie Heavey

Pam Heye

Steve Hodges

Keith Kapp

Charles Peacock

Charn Reid

Ann Robertson

Kyle Still

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