Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Greensboro, 1997
Executive Director and Exploratory Class Instructor
B.A. in English, University of Virginia, 1984
Office: Malloy 229
Phone: (785) 628-5363
Cathy Drabkin’s entrance into the world of string music at the tender age of five was the result of her being a domineering older sister who wanted to do and say everything for her then three-year-old brother. Cathy’s parents, rightly concerned that her sibling would never learn to do anything by himself, decided to start him on the violin through the Suzuki method. Not to be outdone, Cathy insisted on playing the violin as well, but was wisely given the cello instead! The strategy worked—Cathy’s brother became a professional violinist in the Atlanta Symphony, and Cathy is happy today as an amateur cellist!
Music has accompanied Cathy throughout her life. In elementary and secondary school, she took private lessons, participated in the school string program, performed in churches, recitals, festivals, and regional/state orchestras, played in pit orchestras of high school musicals, and enjoyed duets and quartets with fellow students. Cathy was a member of the Northern Virginia Youth Symphony (from beginner to advanced level), the Washington DC Youth Symphony, and the George Mason University Summer Orchestra. She also attended the Shenandoah Music Camp in high school.
Cathy attended the University of Virginia (as an English major) and continued her musical involvement, taking private lessons with Robert Cafaro (Philadelphia Orchestra), playing in the Charlottesville University and Community Symphony Orchestra, and participating in numerous other musical events. It was in college that Cathy came to appreciate the joy of chamber music, first in a string quintet (where she met her future husband Douglas), and then in a string quartet and piano trio. In 1981, she became a founding member of the Gloriana Quartet, a student -faculty string quartet which played for fun and profit, including background music for scores of weddings, receptions, and functions over the next thirteen years in the Charlottesville, Virginia region.
Following graduation in 1984, Cathy’s professional career centered on the management of not-for-profit organizations and conference planning. Her non-musical career has included the following positions: Regional Director, American Diabetes Association Virginia Affiliate (1985-88); Executive Director, AIDS Support Group, Inc. (1988-1991), and Special Events Coordinator, FHSU Docking Institute of Public Affairs (1999-2002).
In 1994, Cathy and her family moved to Hays, KS, where she and her husband became quickly ensconced in the Hays music community. She has played in the cello section of the Hays Symphony Orchestra since 1994, and is a member of the Drabkin, Drabkin, and Figler Piano Trio, which plays periodically in the community. Cathy and her husband revived the Gloriana Quartet in Hays, and have an active schedule of wedding and reception performances. In addition, Cathy has a small studio of private cello students. As Executive Director of the Western Kansas String Academy (2004), Cathy is responsible for the administrative oversight, fund raising, public relations, program development, and overall management of the organization. She occasionally steps in to assist with teaching or coaching WKSA string students. She is excited to take on this new role, as it marries her skills and experience with not-for-profit organizational management with her love of music.
As the mother of three young musicians (2 violinists and 1 cellist), Cathy has been deeply involved in supporting the USD489 school district’s string program, serving as President of the Hays Schools Orchestra Boosters Club since 2002, writing a bi-monthly newsletter for the organization, coordinating the annual Cedar Bluff Orchestra Camp-out, initiating a free Summer Lessons program for district 4th/5th graders, and coordinating other activities to promote and enhance opportunities for string students via parent involvement in the school system.
Cathy is immensely gratefully to her own parents for support and encouragement of her musical interests over the years, and hopes one day that her sons will say the same of her!