Rodney Sturtz’ Biography
The late Rodney Sturtz came to Johnson City in 1967 when he began his tenure as the choral director at Science Hill High School. In addition to the school responsibilities, he was active in community events and served as choir director at Johnson City Christian Church.
For a decade as Science Hill choir, Sturtz helped his students gain a fundamental understanding of music. He started from the beginning by teaching his students how to read music, how to stay on pitch and how to have the proper posture for the best sound. Sturtz led Science Hill to the gold medal in the 1975 Festival of Nations, which earned them an invitation to sing the Evensong Service at the Washington Cathedral on Good Friday in 1976 - a first for any high school choir.
Sturtz’s group also performed numerous musicals such as Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun (1970), West Side Story (1971), All Choir Variety Show (1975) Festival of Johnson City Schools Music Program at Freedom Hall (1977) and numerous others. He had such an influence that there is a Facebook Group with 73 members called the “Rodney Sturtz Facebook Memorial” in which former students share stories of how Mr. Sturtz influenced their lives.
Throughout Rod’s musical career it became obvious to his students that his musical talent had a big influence on their life. In September of 2003, Rod was diagnosed with cancer. He received many notes of support from former students and friends during the months of treatment. He went to his heavenly father on June 2, 2004 after several months of cancer care. He has never been forgotten by his students which is evident with the honor of being inducted into the Johnson City Alumni Hall of Fame 2019.