Elke Baker, fiddle
ELKE BAKER (Glenelg, MD), is a veteran dance musician and concert performer. Since her first Scottish dance class in college, she has made Scottish dance music a central focus of her playing, and is a regular at Scottish dance weekends, camps, and balls across North America and around the world. She's a former U.S. National Scottish fiddle Champion, Washington Conservatory of Music faculty member, Artist-in-Residence at Montgomery College, and Arts panelist at Harvard University, and has performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center, Hylton Performing Arts Center, and the Birchmere. She teaches the joys of Scottish music to countless students, most especially through the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club, which she has taught for 23 years, and at the Ohio Scottish Arts School at Oberlin. She has recorded several SCD albums and a good number of listening albums. Playing Scottish music for dancers is one of her very favorite things, although dancing runs a close second.
Liz Donaldson, piano and accordion
LIZ DONALDSON (Bethesda, MD) plays piano and accordion. She is known for her innovative back-up style incorporating exciting rhythms, textures, and harmony lines in her music. In addition to playing for Scottish, English and American contra dances, Liz teaches all these styles, and dances, too!
She is a member of Terpsichore, Waverley Station, and The New Hip Trio. Her recordings include: Caledonian Muse, Terpsichore, Scottish Dance Music, Waverley Station: First Stop! Memories of Scottish Weekend ('98) and More Memories of Scottish Weekend ('02), as well as English Echoes: English Country Dance Favorites. Liz has two books of Scottish tune medleys and collections of her own compositions: Rain in the Desert and Moon over Inverness.
Liz has taught and played at numerous dance weekends and music workshops including Scottish Weekend, Pinewoods, and Asilomar. Her travels have taken her to Great Britain, Canada, France and Japan.
For more information see Liz's website at lizdonaldson.com. Photo by Ken Graham.
Dan Emery, pipes and flute
DAN EMERY (Fort Washington, PA) has been the designated piper at Scottish Weekend since the first session at Buffalo Gap in 1989. He has been the piper at Pinewoods many times since 1986, where he got his first taste of piping for RSCDS. As well as the Highland pipes, Dan plays the Scottish small pipes, Border pipes and flute. He is also an enthusiastic (but none too skilled) fiddler. When not piping, Dan is a fine Scottish country dancer, retired highland dancer and is currently working on earning his black belt in Goju Ryu karate. In real life, Dan is a practicing architect and intends to keep practicing until he gets it right.
Ralph Gordon, cello and bass
RALPH GORDON (Charlestown, WV) is a classically trained bassist and cellist educated at West Virginia University and the Manhattan School of Music. Ralph has played for more than 10 years with Terpsichore and has worked extensively on revitalizing Scottish folk cello style. He played for many years with innovative folk band Trapezoid, and his skills span a wide range of musical styles from chamber music to big band swing. The Charleston Post Courier wrote "His playing is more sophisticated and technically accomplished than the next ten string players of any sort and he uses his instruments to subtly ground, stabilize, and inspire the rest of the ensemble as they pursue their experimentations."
Ralph is in great demand in the Washington, DC area as an artist and session musician. He can be heard on more than 60 recordings, including Scottish, English country, contradance, hoedown, folk, bluegrass, klezmer, blues, swing, jazz combos, and big band styles.
Becky Ross, fiddle
BECKY ROSS, fiddle (Gaithersburg, MD) was classically trained on violin during her schooldays but was drawn to begin playing again in 1991 after discovering Celtic fiddle music. She plays regularly for Scottish and English Country Dances. Becky is known for her rich tone and sensitive emotional connection to the music, whether that is a sorrowful Scottish lament, a majestic march or a driving reel.Becky performs with her husband Bill Mitchell (hammered dulcimer) as Peat and Barley, playing traditional Scottish, Irish, and original music. They have recorded two CDs of Celtic music; On the Brink (2002) and Silver Lining (2007). She also performs with The Homespun Ceilidh Band, the classical duo Violinsanity, the English and Scottish dance band Elegant Echoes, the Scottish band A Sheep at the Wheel and the 18th-Century music trio Tasker's Chance. She is a longtime Board Member and current President of the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club, a non-profit group promoting Scottish fiddle music. To learn more about Becky, visit her website at http://www.peatandbarley.com.
Dave Wiesler, piano and guitar
DAVE WIESLER, Music Director (Newark, DE) has been playing for Scottish country dancing since 1993, dancing it since 1995, and on staff at Scottish Weekend every year since 1996. Dave is highly regarded for his deep knowledge and spirited piano playing of Scottish dance music, and he now performs regularly with his band Thistle House and with fiddlers Hanneke Cassel and Mara Shea, among others. He has played at concerts and dance and music camps across the country, and his music has taken him to Hawaii, Canada, England, Scotland and the Galapagos Islands. He appears on nearly 20 recordings, many featuring his own compositions. He is also a capable guitarist and singer, a writer of silly ceilidh songs, and a stay-home dad of two young boys.
Dave is at home in a huge range of other styles of music and folk dance besides Scottish music -- including contra dance, English country dance, swing, vintage dancing, Viennese waltz, and couple dancing. He has been on staff at Pinewoods, Augusta, Ashokan, Buffalo Gap, Sierra Swing, Timber Ridge, and the Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School, and has performed at the Kennedy Center and at the Smithsonian. Check out his book of original melodies, DaveTunes, and his CDs, including Cracks and Shadows and two Scottish dance recordings, Many Happy Returns with Hanneke Cassel and Heather Hills with Mara Shea. You can also find out more about Dave on his website at davewiesler.com