We would like to introduce Claire Abraham, a Hive of Nelsonville teen volunteer and and Nelsonville York sophomore.
In addition to the Hive, Claire is busy in the Nelsonville York Marching Band Color Guard, belongs to the Nelsonville Arrow Heads Archery team, plays concert flute and is part of the Logan Super Star baton twirling group.
A little over 2 years ago, Claire established a 501c3 non-profit, The Kathryn McCoy Resource Project, honoring her long-time friend and legendary Nelsonville resident who passed away in 2019 at the age of 95. Through the Kathryn McCoy Resource Project, Claire has established hygiene closets at The Hive of Nelsonville, Trimble High school, Federal Hocking High School, Athens County juvenile court, and the Nelsonville Police Department. These spaces offer much needed items such feminine sanitary supports, shampoo, deodorant and such. Claire was a vital part of the organizing force for this summer’s 2022's Nelsonville's "Back to School Bash" where nearly 1000 children and their caregivers were treated to food, haircuts, back to school supplies, hygiene bags and a general good time.
Born Oct. 29, 1923, in Peebles, Ohio, Katie was a 1941 graduate of Peebles High School (class Valedictorian) and graduated from Capital University in Columbus in 1948 with a Bachelors Degree in their School of Music (Cum Laude). She later received a Masters Degree in Music Education at Ohio University in 1962 (with honors).
Katie was a music legend in southeast Ohio. She was a pioneer in teaching instrumental music when very few other women served as school band directors in the early 1950’s. Katie taught a total of 31 years, the last at Nelsonville Middle School, or Junior High School. Prior to teaching at Nelsonville, she was band director at Chauncey-Dover High School, where her band received several Superior ratings in state competition, and her band was considered to be outstanding in marching and dancing. Her band was one of the first to incorporate dance steps while marching to tunes such as Band Jive and Boogie Woogie Band. For her musical excellence, she was inducted into Phi Beta Mu, the National Band Masters Fraternity.
The partnership of Katie McCoy and Mary Jane McKinley spanned more than 60 years, sharing their gift of music, leadership and service to the community. As Director of Bands at Nelsonville Junior High, or Middle School, Katie sent many fine musicians each year to Nelsonville-York High School where they became Mary Jane’s pupils. The firm musical foundation Katie established with her students going forth significantly helped Mary Jane as her bands received many Superior ratings in district contests and state contests, and her solo and ensemble students participated in 40-50 contests per year receiving Superior ratings 96 percent of the time.
Katie and Mary Jane organized the Nelsonville Community Band known as Mac’s Bandits, and they were active in Berean Community Theater where they produced Broadway musicals such as The Music Man and Oklahoma. They were also involved in the restoration of, and the resurrection of performance at Stuart’s Opera House and the Museum of Theatrical History, Inc. Katie was honored to be designated as Board Member Emeritus of Stuart’s Opera House. Board member Carol Ault stated that “Katie and Mary Jane were an amazing duo who through their energy, vision, love of music and community, brought great good to the community and laid the cornerstone of the Stuart’s Opera House education program.” Executive Director Tim Peacock said the he loved it when Katie was on the board, and that she always made him laugh and smile.
Katie served as choir director for 50 years at Nelsonville Methodist Church, and she and Mary Jane organized ecumenical choirs representing up to 15 churches to perform concerts for the community. Katie received the Roland Pierce Citizenship Award and the Nelsonville Chamber of Commerce R. Victor Oakley Award. The choir room at her church is named in honor.
The Nelsonville-York High School Band, Boosters and Alumni commissioned composer James Swearingen to create “In Times of Triumph,” dedicated to Katie and Mary Jane for their many years of service to music education. It premiered on May 21, 2002 by the NYHS band and alumni, and was dedicated to these women and to the resolve of individuals around the world who seek to achieve goals, and as a result, make a better place for all.
Mary Jane McKinley