2017 Instructors 

Nate Lee

Nate Lee is a Nashville based bluegrass musician with a well-rounded musical career. His musical journey started at the age of eight when he got his first fiddle and that path led him through countless lessons and music camps and eventually to an intense study of bluegrass music at the college level. After completing a degree in Commercial Music at South Plains College, Nate went on to tour and record with bluegrass, western swing, new acoustic, and Americana bands. Nate currently tours with the Jim Hurst Trio (featuring Jim, Nate, and Erik Alvar), Irene Kelley, and from time to time can be seen with Town Mountain and Becky Buller.

​Although Nate is in demand on stage and in the studio, his first love and finest skill is teaching. With more than twelve years’ experience as a teacher and workshop instructor, Nate has gained a loyal following of students who enjoy his comprehensive teaching methods and relaxed, encouraging demeanor. Nate doesn’t just teach you a song; he teaches you how to play melody, chords, improvise, and groove on that song. With an affinity for turning beginners into jammers, and jammers into professionals, Nate has developed a curriculum that teaches you to play well with others and become the player you’ve always wanted to be!

Deanie Richardson

Deanie has several titles under her belt, entering and winning numerous fiddle contests before she started playing bluegrass or bluegrass festivals. She has been nominated for the Academy of Country Music Awards Top Fiddle Player of the Year for 2010 putting her up against Stuart Duncan, a fellow fiddler she admires greatly. She includes Stuart along with Mark O' Connor, Howdy Forrester, Kenny Baker and Tommy Jackson in the list of musicians that have influenced her playing over the years.

Thriving on diversity, she has shared the stage and/or recording studio with such artists as Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Bob Seger, Dale Ann Bradley, Emmy Lou Harris, Ry Cooder, David Olney, Hank Williams Jr, Del McCoury Band, Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt and Holly Dunn to name a few. Deanie has toured with the Chieftains, Vince Gill, Bob Seger, and will be starting 2016 with the new band, Sister Sadie.

With appearances on Letterman, Leno, Conan and the Today Show at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall as well as touring all over including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland Deanie has had the opportunity to play the wide range of styles that she does so well. She doesn't limit herself to just the fiddle, Deanie also plays mandolin and acoustic guitar.

She has been a mentor to many young musicians, something that Deanie feels very fortunate to be a part of. Working with kids has given her the opportunity to nurture the next generation of bluegrass pickers, something she believes in with all of her heart. She has shared her liveliness and love for music with many students over the years. Deanie is a presence on stage. She radiates a type of contagious energy; literally bursting at the seams of her small frame so that you feel you are a part of the magic when she takes one of her solos. She says that her beloved fiddle vibrates her entire body as she plays; maybe that's what you feel as you listen to her music. Or maybe it comes from within. They say you get back what you give out. If that’s true then Deanie’s cup is overflowing. Her motto.... "Love Hard, Work Hard, Play Hard.... in that order.

Megan Lynch Chowning 

Megan Lynch, originally from Redding, California, is a seven time national fiddle champion, touring musician, recording artist, teacher, singer, and flatfooter. 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 a new CD out called 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 c0-director of the Nashville Acoustic Camps with her husband Adam. But sometimes she just likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers. To see a long list of other really important stuff about Megan, click here... 

Matt Combs

Matt Combs, a long time resident of Nashville, Tennessee, and the recent staff fiddler and mandolinist for The Grand Ole Opry, was heard nearly every weekend kicking off America’s longest running radio show with the sound of the Grand Ole Opry fiddle. This is a tradition that dates back to the beginnings of the Opry, and one he was proud to carry on. In addition to having played in the Opry’s house band, Matt also toured with legendary singer and country music icon Reba McIntire. 

Since moving to Nashville after graduating with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan, Matt has played with many of the best singers and players in country, bluegrass and old time music—including 11 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. During this time, Matt was nominated for a Grammy and won the 2012 Grandmaster Traditional Fiddle contest.

Matt’s Television work has included appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman”, “The View”, “Nashville”, and other musical specials on ABC, PBS, and CMT.
In addition to his busy playing schedule, Matt maintains his position as Head of the Fiddle Department at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, and records music all around Nashville studios and at his home studio in East Nashville.

Clelia Stefanini

Maybe you haven’t yet heard of Clelia Stefanini, but if you’re at all in touch with the developments in roots music, then you will soon. Clelia is the winner of the 2013 Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival Fiddle Contest. Her fiddling has been described as “Zeus hurling musical thunderbolts from Mt. Olympus,” which only partly describes a musician that, although impactful and powerful, contains a growing subtlety and nuance that betrays her young age and appearance.

These days, Old Time music has grown in popularity to such an extent that many hipsters, ex-punk rockers, and “cool kids” have picked up fiddles and banjos and began dabbling in this genre. At this point, it appears Old Time Music has become trendy. Clelia, however, is not following any fad or trend but follows her own path while remaining completely genuine and authentic. Clelia will undoubtedly be known as one of the most distinct and powerful old time fiddlers in the Appalachian tradition. Clelia currently performs all over the world with her father,
Rafe Stefanini, who is also a renowned old time fiddler, banjo, banjo player. Both are becoming wonderful singers, as well.

Clelia has quickly become a treasured part of the FiddleStar Family. She is a clear and firm teacher who has the ability to help students see possibilities in their playing they didn't even know were there.