Music Staff

  • Elke Baker
  • Hanneke Cassel
  • Liz Donaldson
  • Ralph Gordon
  • Julie Gorka
  • Bob Mitchell
  • Miranda Weinberg
  • Dave Wiesler

  • Up Elke Baker, fiddle

    Elke Baker

    ELKE BAKER - MUSIC DIRECTOR (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 major Scottish dance events 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 top venues such as the Kennedy Center, Hylton Performing Arts Center, and the Birchmere. She teaches the joys of Scottish music to countless students, through private lessons, the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club, which she has taught for 25 years, and at many fiddle camps including Boston Harbor, Swannanoa, and Ohio Scottish Arts School. She has recorded several SCD albums and a good number of listening albums, and is comfortable playing a wide range of styles, from classical and Early Music to American old time to Vintage Ragtime. Playing Scottish music for dancers is one of her very favorite things, although dancing runs a close second. Learn more about Elke on her web site at

    Up Hanneke Cassel - fiddle

    Hanneke Cassel

    HANNEKE CASSEL is an American folk violinist. She was raised in Oregon and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance at Berklee College of Music in 2000. Hanneke is the 1997 United States National Scottish Fiddle Champion, and she has performed and taught across the United States, Scotland, Sweden, China, New Zealand, France, England, and Austria.

    For more information, vist Hanneke's web site at, or check out her FiddleVideo on-line lessons at

    Up Liz Donaldson, piano and accordion

    Liz Donaldson

    LIZ DONALDSON - CO-MUSIC DIRECTOR (Bethesda, MD). Liz is a recent recipient of the RSCDS Scroll of Honor for her work in support of Scottish Country Dancing! 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 and English Echoes II: 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 Photo by Ken Graham.

    Up Ralph Gordon, cello and bass

    Ralph Gordon

    RALPH GORDON (Charles Town, 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 25 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.

    Up Julie Gorka, piano

    Julie Gorka

    JULIE GORKA (Raleigh, NC) is a musician with a wide range of musical interests. She plays contra dance, Scottish, historic, English, Irish and Klezmer music on piano and harp. She plays with many musicians in the Triangle area, including Copious Notes (with Mara Shea), Syllabub (English and Colonial dance), Southwind (Irish), The Merry Maggots (English country dance) and Magnolia Klezmer Band. Julie has a degree in piano performance, and teaches 28 Suzuki piano students. She teaches composition at the Colorado Suzuki Institute in the summer, judges around the country for the national Piano Guild, and teaches master classes at nearby schools. Julie has made two recordings, A Sheep at the Wheel (Scottish and English music) and more recently a waltz CD, In 3/4 Time, with fiddler Mara Shea, and help from Walt Robinson, Ted Ehrhard and Dean Herington. She enjoys working folk music styles into her classical piano students’ musical education. Mara Shea and Julie lead a Celtic music students’ band, The Highlanders, who perform locally. Julie’s website:

    Up Bob Mitchell, pipes

    Bob Mitchell

    BOB MITCHELL (Shepherdstown, WV) Bob Mitchell started his bagpipe adventure in Wilmington, DE when he was 9, under the direction of Robert Gilchrist. After spending a year in Scotland studying under the late John MacFadyen, he returned to the US and started teaching piping when he was a senior in high school. Later, Bob started a pipe band from scratch in Columbia, MD. Bob remaind Pipe Major of the Clan Campbell Pipes and Drums, which became the Dunloggin Pipes and Drums for 20 years.
    As a solo competitor, Bob won most contests he entered, at least once, including the Clan Donald Quaich at Fair Hill, the Stone Mountain Invitational Piobaireachd, and the Open Piobaireachd at Maxville, Ontario. He was awarded the Wee Piper trophy at Grandfather Mt. Highland Games five times. This led to Bob being invited to perform for Dame Flora MacLeod’s 96th birthday celebration at the Waldorf Astoria.
    For thirty years, Bob followed his passion for teaching as a Special Education teacher in public schools in Maryland. He retired from pipe band work in 1995, and pursued a career as a professional bagpiper, performing and touring with other folk musicians. He has recorded several CD’s with IONA and The Sound of Sleat. Ten years ago, Bob started studying the art and history of small piping.

    Up Miranda Weinberg, fiddle

    Miranda Weinberg

    MIRANDA WEINBERG (Philadelphia, PA) is a classically trained violinist who delights in the freedom and interaction of playing for dancing. You can find her playing for English, contra, and Scottish dances in the Philadelphia area and beyond. When she's not playing, she's often dancing, working as an applied linguist, and adoring her two small dogs.

    Up Dave Wiesler, piano and guitar

    Dave Wiesler

    DAVE WIESLER (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. Note also that Dave has a new Scottish dance cd out: Delaware Valley Gold, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Delaware Valley branch of the RSCDS available here. You can also find out more about Dave on his website at

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