Christen Blanton (viola/violin/fiddle/banjo/guitar/vocals/songwriter) performs regularly with old-time string band The Zinc Kings, folk duo Blanton & Glasgow, and with various folk musicians and songwriters in the North Carolina Piedmont. A prize-winning fiddler and ballad singer, Christen and her groups have received top prizes at fiddlers conventions across North Carolina, including the prestigious Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention. The Zinc Kings have been featured performers at state, regional, national, and international events, including the North Carolina Folk Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Charlie Poole Music Festival, and the Folk Alliance International Conference.
Christen is the director of the Old-Time Ensemble at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the co-founder of Piedmont Instrument Classes for Kids (PICK). She is an in-demand educator and researcher and has presented workshops and clinics on teaching and learning old-time music at national and international conferences including the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Conference, the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCo), and the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) International Conference. Christen is an alumni of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam (2006, BM music education), and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2008, MM viola performance; 2016, PhD music education). When not making or teaching music, Christen loves camping, gardening, and baking with her husband Ryan.
Catherine Box is a native of Texas where she began playing the viola in her school orchestra in 5th grade. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baylor University and her Master of Music Performance degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Catherine has studied viola with Dr. Kathryn Steely, Dr. Scott Rawls, and Erika Eckert. She has studied violin with Dr. Fabian Lopez.
Catherine currently lives in Greensboro where she enjoys performing and teaching students of all ages. She has been teaching violin and viola lessons for over 10 years. She has taught both young beginners and older students, having successfully prepared high school students for college auditions. She is currently a member of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and also frequently performs with the Winston-Salem Symphony as a substitute violist.
Korean violinist Haelee Joo began her musical education in Germany. She was accepted by Prof. Ingeborg Scheerer at Hochschule für Musik Köln at the age of 16 and graduated with honours from the jury. After Joo finished her studies in Germany, she continued to study the violin in British Columbia Conservatory of Music in Vancouver, École Normale de musique de Paris, and currently, she is a graduate assistant at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro under the guidance of Dr. Fabian Lopez.
As a soloist, she performed with Hochschulorchester Wuppertal, Bergische Musikbiennale, and also she was invited to perform a Duo Recital in Tokyo, Japan. In summer 2019, she was invited as a young artist at Round Top Festival. Joo is also interested in Orchestra playing. She was accepted as a member of Junge Deutsche Philharmonie at the age of 17 where she toured the renowned halls in Europe such as Berliner Philharmonie, Lucerne Festival Hall, Kölner Philharmonie, Alte Oper Frankfurt, and Tonhalle in Zürich. In 2010, she toured as concertmaster, and recorded violin solos of Transfigured Night by Schönberg in Frankfurt Alte Oper Live-CD production. For 2019-2020 seasons, she is the principal second violinist in Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and assistant principal second violinist in Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.
Ryan Mack is a bass player and music educator currently living in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ryan hails from Watertown, South Dakota. He attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota where he received his Bachelor of Music Education. While living in Fargo, Ryan performed with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony as a section bass player. In 2005, Ryan attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he received a Masters in String Bass Performance under the tutelage of Mr. Craig Brown. Ryan currently teaches middle school orchestra where he is able to spread his love of music. Ryan is the bass player with The Zinc Kings, an old-time and Piedmont blues band. He also has experience playing gypsy jazz and swing music and continues to expand his abilities with other styles of music.
Virginia Masius started playing bass in the suburbs of Chicago at age 10. She attended East Carolina University, and then finished her Bachelor's Degree in Music at the North Carolina School of the Arts in 1991. She is currently playing with Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, and Assistant Principal Bass in Salisbury Symphony Orchestra. Virginia also plays with Floydz Circle Band, a blues/rock band based out of Rockingham County, NC.
She has been teaching in the Greensboro area for 15 years, and has been performing professionally throughout the state for 25 years.
Margaret Cording Petty divides her time between cello performance and musical composition, writing especially for cello and strings. She plays professionally with the Salisbury Symphony, regional orchestras, and for solo, chamber and theater venues. Her cello studies, begun as a child through school music, continued with Marijane Siegal (Chicago), Allen Harris (Rochester NY), and Leslies Parnas (Boston). In addition to numerous recitals, she has performed concertos with orchestras (Bloch’s Schelomo, Haydn D Major and Boccherini B-flat concertos), and played in various festivals (Spoleto, Italy). Earning a Master of Music in cello performance at Boston University, she taught strings and then music theory for the university as she pursued doctoral studies in music composition.
Before coming to Greensboro, she resided for thirty years near Chantilly, France, where, as a college teacher, she directed college and regional choirs, taught music theory and hymnology, and contributed scholarly articles in musicology to European publications. Continuing to perform and teach cello, she played in orchestras in Senlis and Paris.
Margaret earned a Ph.D. in musicology from the Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne. Her undergraduate degree, in Music Education, is from Wheaton College, IL.
Lauren Shriver graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2012 with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance, where she studied with Peter Stumpf. There she performed with the IU Philharmonic Orchestra and Terre Haute Symphony.
Since moving to Greensboro in December 2012, she has become the Assistant Principal cellist in the Raleigh Symphony and performs often throughout the Piedmont area. She began teaching private students with the Renaissance Music Academy based out of Blacksburg, VA in February 2013 and maintains a private studio near Danville, VA. Lauren is originally from Ashland, VA, and was very involved with the Richmond Symphony through their youth orchestra program growing up. She works alongside her students, encouraging them as they develop their love for music and the cello, specifically.
Violinist Naomi Woods is passionate about finding new ways to interact with the community through music. She has performed in recital halls and on street corners, in churches, coffee shops, and elementary school classrooms. She has played in orchestras at the college and professional level, and has given both solo and chamber music recitals as close as her own living room and as far away as Valparaiso, Chile. Lately, she has been seeking out new ways to create access to music education in the Greensboro area through her role as the Director of Music Education and Community Outreach at Moore Music.
Naomi holds a Bachelor of Music degree from UNC-Greensboro and a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Her primary violin teachers have been Roslyn Willis, Dr. Fabian Lopez, and Dr. Bruce Berg. She has been teaching private lessons for over ten years and is comfortable with students of all ages and skill level. She lives in Greensboro with her husband Tyler Woods. Naomi spends much of her free time searching for her glasses.