Our Judges - 2018

Megan Lynch-Chowning

 

Megan Lynch, originally from Redding, California, is a seven-time national fiddle champion, touring musician, recording artist, teacher, singer, and flat-footer.

 

She recently finished a four-year touring stint with legendary country music artists Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan, and has played with bluegrass stars Dale Ann Bradley, Roland White, Larry Cordle, Jim Hurst, Chris Jones, 3 Fox Drive, Due West, Chris Stuart, and BEML (the duo of Bill Evans and Megan).

 

Megan has fiddled and sung on more than two dozen projects, and has two new albums out, "The Comprehensive Fiddler" and "Something Old, New Borrowed, Blue". She has taught fiddle at prestigious camps such as Augusta Heritage Week, the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Sore Fingers Bluegrass Week in the UK, and the California Bluegrass Association Camp, among many others.

 

Megan has also judged the National Fiddle Championships three times, as well as many state championships throughout the country. She’s the co-director (with her husband Adam) of the esteemed and IBMA award-nominated Nashville Acoustic Camps. They host a dozen of these bluegrass and old-time music camps every year at their home just north of Nashville, TN.

Maddie Denton

 

Maddie Denton is a third-generation fiddle player from Murfreesboro, Tennessee who began playing at the age of five. She is the current Grand Master Fiddle Champion, the first Tennessee-born contestant to ever win, plus the 2009 National Oldtime Junior Fiddle Champion.  Since 2008, Maddie has won fourteen state championship titles spread over the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, and Tennessee, where she is a three-time winner and current state champion.  She is an accomplished tenor guitar player and frequently backs up her fellow competitors.  Maddie also plays mandolin, banjo, and standard guitar.  In addition to her love for contest fiddling, Maddie also enjoys playing bluegrass and is the fiddle player for the 2017 SPBGMA International Bluegrass Band Champion, Mashtag.

 

Aside from music, Maddie is a recent graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Organismal Biology and Ecology and a minor in music.  While at MTSU, she played NCAA Division I golf for four years and helped the Lady Raiders win back-to-back Conference USA Championships. She now teaches biology at Siegel High School where she is also the assistant girls’ basketball coach.

 

Maddie is a nationally certified judge with experience judging the National Oldtime Fiddle Championship as well as multiple state championships. As a judge, Maddie listens for intonation and groove in up-tempo tunes as well as emotion and execution in waltzes.

 

Kerry Varble

 

Kerry Varble has been playing the fiddle for more than 25 years and was the Ohio State fiddle champion in 2008 and 2016.  In addition to top finishes in contests from Ohio to Texas, she is a three time Indiana State Gambler's Draw champion and two-time Grand Master Fiddler finalist.  She holds a bachelors degree in classical violin and a masters degree in education.  She currently teaches English and creative writing at West Branch High School in Beloit, Ohio.  Her innovative approach to integrating music and language arts has been reported in local newspapers, as well as featured on the Youngstown NBC television affiliate, WFMJ. 

In addition to playing the fiddle, Kerry is an avid equestrian specializing in retraining thoroughbred ex-racehorses for the sport of eventing.  She has competed with her young horses at the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington and many others events.