Christen Blanton

Dr. Christen Blanton Mack is a music educator and prize-winning fiddler. She directs the Old-Time Ensemble at UNC-Greensboro, where she has taught and mentored students of folk and roots music since 2016. As co-chair of the American String Teachers Association Eclectic Styles Committee, Dr. Blanton advocates for eclectic, vernacular, and popular music to be included in all string curricula. She lives this mission as the Orchestra Director at the Academy at Lincoln Middle School in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she also teaches Music Production, and leads the Global Music Ensemble and Vespa Strings. An in-demand educator and clinician, Dr. Blanton regularly presents workshops and professional development for the North Carolina Music Educators Association and the American String Teachers Association; her research has been shared at the Society for Music Teacher Education, the International Society for Music Education, the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, and the International Bluegrass Music Association. Her band, The Zinc Kings, have been featured performers at the North Carolina Folk Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Charlie Poole Music Festival, and the Folk Alliance International Conference. They have received top prizes at prestigious fiddle conventions across the southeastern US, including the Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention, and the Union Grove and Fiddler’s Grove Old-Time Fiddlers and Bluegrass Festival. Blanton holds degrees from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam (BM, music education) and UNC-Greensboro (MM, viola performance and PhD, music education). When she is not fiddling or teaching, she enjoys hiking, camping, and gardening with her husband, bassist Ryan Mack, and their two dogs, Gordon and Sadie.