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Ken Drobnak Presents Experimental Tuba Seminar

Ken Drobnak

Ken Drobnak, NMM Curatorial Assistant, presented a seminar at Wayne State College (Wayne, Nebraska) on 31 October 2009, about "Experimental Tubas by Frank Holton & Company from the Holton Factory Reference Collection." Several instruments from the NMM's collections were used to illustrate his lecture including a Holton New Special model trombone, a Holton prototype contrabass bugle, an upright prototype Martin tuba, and a Holton contrabass bugle in the shape of a sousaphone. The seminar was part of "Octubafest," an annual October event held at many colleges and universities in the United States. Josh Calkin, Instructor of Low Brass and Assistant Band Director at Wayne State College, organized the event.

Drobnak's duties as a Curatorial Assistant at the NMM include researching and cataloging brass instruments. In recent months, he has focused primarily upon both the low brass instruments and the bugles from the Holton Factory Reference Collection, all of which were donated to the NMM by Conn-Selmer, Inc., in 2008.  As a result of his research, Drobnak's article, "Shorty" Piston Valves:  The Short-Action Piston Valve of Frank Holton & Company," was published in the International Tuba Euphonium Association Journal 37, No. 1 (Winter 2010), pp. 58-60.

Drobnak has served on the music faculties at The University of South Dakota, Rocky Mountain College, and Del Mar College. His duties at these institutions included band ensemble, conducting, and teaching courses in music education, music theory, music appreciation, and also low brass lessons. His experience in public school instrumental instruction encompasses grades 4 through 12 at schools in Ohio, Arizona, and New Mexico. For three summers, he was a tuba instructor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan.

Drobnak has performed with the Billings Symphony Orchestra, Helena Symphony Orchestra, Greater Lansing Symphony Orchestra, and the Corpus Christi Symphony Brass Quintet. A native of Medina, Ohio, Drobnak completed his D.M.A. in Tuba Performance at Michigan State University where he studied tuba with Phil Sinder and conducting with Wesley Broadnax. He holds an M.M. in Conducting from The University of New Mexico and degrees in Music Education and Tuba Performance from The University of Akron.

Tuba-Euphonium Press has published many of his arrangements for tuba/euphonium ensemble, brass quintet and solo tuba with piano. He reviews new music for the International Tuba-Euphonium Association Journal and has served as a guest clinician for band festivals and solo & ensemble events in Montana, South Dakota, Arizona, and Michigan. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and several honorary societies.

Return to NMM Newsletter Index (March 2010)

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