New York - June 22, 2006
Hopewell Junction Couple Performs Together
in Churches and on the Road
By JULIANN DeMEO
As the "Magical Musical Martins," Doug and
Martha Sturomski have taken their musical act to such well-known
places as St. Patrick's Cathedral and the United Nations.
The Hopewell Junction couple have each served
as music director at parishes in the archdiocese. They also
have performed together in schools, libraries and other
local venues as the bell-ringing "Martins" for almost 20
They perform side-by-side, singing and ringing
their 35 tuned hand bells-which they talk about during the
act, explaining, for instance, the significance of bells
in proclaiming good news such as the end of a war.
But they're not limited to ringing. Mr. Sturomski
also plays the piano and Mrs. Sturomski plays the violin.
They chose the stage name "Martin" they said, because Martin
is Mr. Sturomski's middle name.
"It just had a nice ring to it," he quipped.
Together, the Sturomskis have also been involved
in music and choral direction in the archdiocese for 30
Mrs. Sturomski has been music director at
the couple's parish, St. Mary, Mother of the Church in Fishkill,
for the last 12 years, a job that's even more enjoyable
because the pastor, Msgr. Joseph A. Martin, shares her love
"I love Church music," she said. "For me,
faith is just a way of life...it's who I am."
Before becoming music director at St. Mary's,
she held similar posts at Immaculate Conception in the Bronx,
St. Jude's in Manhattan and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in
Mr. Sturomski was a choir director at St.
Rose of Lima and St. Jude's, both in Manhattan; Visitation
and Our Lady of Angels, both in the Bronx; St. John Evangelist,
Beacon; Sacred Heart, Highland Falls; and St. Denis, Hopewell
The husband and wife both feel that there
is an important relationship between religion and the arts.
"As a human family we learn to interface with
each other through the arts," Mr. Sturomski said. "Art is
a part of faith. Faith is a part of art."
Although he currently does not have a full-time
post, he's active in the music ministry at his own parish,
singing in the choir and playing the organ and piano. His
wife, when not directing one of the choirs or serving as
cantor, will also play the violin at Mass.
"Music empowers people to be a part of the
Mass," Mr. Sturomski said, calling music "an enriching experience"
that brings one closer to God.
Each year, the couple also gives a concert
at St. Mary's, with proceeds from CD's sold there donated
to the Fishkill Food Pantry. Last year, they donated more
Of the 100 or so performances they give each
year, about 25 are in schools, with their bell-ringing program
at those appearances geared to children. They have also
developed study guides and activities for the students.
In Catholic schools, they add instruction on the religious
significance of bells and the various Church occasions for
The couple was inspired to become bell ringers
after hearing a performance of the Boston Boys Bell Choir
at Our Lady of Angels in the Bronx while Mr. Sturomski was
music director there. After that, he felt that the bell
ringing "was something special" and he and his wife taught
themselves how to use them.
"We started learning by doing," Mr. Sturomski
While music is an important part of the couple's
faith life, it is also the thing that brought them together
in the first place-while they were studying music at the
University of Milwaukee in Wisconsin and were members of
the university's concert choir.
Natives of Wisconsin, Mr. Sturomski grew up
in Milwaukee and Mrs. Sturomski is from Sheboygan. They
married in 1971 and relocated to New York for the music
and art scene, living first in the Bronx near St. Brendan's
parish. Although Mrs. Sturomski abandoned her pursuit of
an opera singing career to raise their four children, she
and her husband passed on their love of music, and at various
times each of the Sturomski children has performed with
Their son James, and his wife, Amy, are music
directors at St. John Evangelist-St. Joachim parish in Beacon.
Their daughter Janine is graduating this year from SUNY
New Paltz with a degree in performing arts. Chris, their
youngest son, plays the baritone horn at St. Mary's on special
occasions. Only their eldest daughter, Angela, has left
performing for now.
Mrs. Sturomski told CNY, "The family is very
strong, and the ties are very close."
She added that the family had to be close,
since all they had was one another when they moved to New
York. Both she and her husband commented that music has
been a way for the family to bond. "A family that plays
together, stays together," Mr. Sturomski said.