Music Staff

  • Liz Donaldson
  • Dan Emery
  • Ralph Gordon
  • James MacQueen
  • Katie McNally
  • Carrie Rose
  • Becky Ross
  • Melissa Running
  • Dave Wiesler

  • Up Liz Donaldson, piano and accordion

    Liz Donaldson

    LIZ DONALDSON - MUSIC DIRECTOR (Bethesda, MD) plays piano and accordion. 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 lizdonaldson.com. Photo by Ken Graham.

    Up Dan Emery, pipes and flute

    Dan Emery

    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 Scottish sessions 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 with the band Thistle House. He can also be heard playing all those instruments (and occasionally fiddle) at socials and parties around the Delaware valley. When not piping, Dan is a fine Scottish country dancer, retired highland dancer.

    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.

    UpJames MacQueen, fiddle

    James MacQueen

    JAMES MACQUEEN (Ohio) plays the violin (Suzuki, Traditional and Scottish Fiddle) & viola. James shares his joy for music by teaching lessons that are fun, exciting, and intellectually stimulating. He helps students learn musical self-expression through technical mastery of the instrument. In addition to mastery of the violin, students will become familiar with music theory and music history through the repertoire they work on. James earned a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from University of Denver, and a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance and composition from University of the Pacific. He is a registered violin teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. In addition to his passion for teaching, James performs music from the classical and Scottish genres locally and nationally.

    Up Katie McNally, fiddle

    Katie McNally

    KATIE MCNALLY (Boston, Mass.) has performed and taught fiddle courses in the US, Canada, Spain, Scotland, England, and France. A member of the cross-genre fiddle supergroup Childsplay since 2009, she appears on their CD and concert video release "As the Crow Flies." A student of Hanneke Cassel, Katie has played at the Newport Folk Festival, the Barns at Wolf Trap, Manhattan's Symphony Space, the Seattle Symphony's Benaroya Hall, and various folk venues throughout North America. Katie is a devoted educator whose teaching style was molded by years of attendance at fiddle camps where learning music is about joy and community and fun, which guide her teaching approach. Katie attended the University of Glasgow and The National Piping Center in Glasgow, where she studied ancient and modern Scottish Literature and Scottish traditional music. She graduated from Tufts University in 2012 with concentrations in Music, English, and Child Development, earning the Etta and Harry Winokur Award for Outstanding Contribution to Performance.

    Up Carrie Rose, flutist

    Carrie Rose

    CARRIE ROSE (Takoma Park, Maryland) is a flutist, composer, and educator in the Washington, DC area. Diverse musical pursuits include freelancing with regional orchestras, grooving for folk dances, and wailing out avant-garde chamber music in the flute collective, inHALE - three flute players on a mission to bring classical music of our time into the world. At folk dances, (English Country Dances, Scottish Country Dances, Contra Dances, and Waltzes), Rose can be spotted as both a dancer and a musician. She produces the Origins Concert Series (a hub for adventurous music-seekers), has received numerous grants for her performing and composing from the State of Maryland and Montgomery County, and in DC’s City Paper, she was named a “favorite local composer”. Rose earned Master and Bachelor of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Joshua Smith, principal flutist of the Cleveland Orchestra. She has been teaching for over 20 years, and has a thriving private flute studio in Takoma Park, Maryland, where she enjoys helping each student find their unique relationship to music.

    Up Becky Ross, fiddle

    Becky Ross

    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.

    Up Melissa Running - piano

    Becky Ross

    MELISSA RUNNING (Silver Spring, MD) started playing piano for dancing in 1999, when she was recruited to play for the Swarthmore College folk dance class. She's been playing piano for English and Scottish country dancing ever since, with some occasional forays into contra. She also plays the nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument, and teaches English country dance. She dances whenever and whatever she can. In her other life, she is a technical writer and trainer.


    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. You can also find out more about Dave on his website at davewiesler.com


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