Music Staff

  • Elke Baker
  • Liz Donaldson
  • Dan Emery
  • Ralph Gordon
  • Anne Hooper
  • Kate Barnes
  • David Knight
  • Dave Wiesler
  • Up Elke Baker, fiddle

    Elke Baker

    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.

    Up Liz Donaldson, piano and accordion

    Liz Donaldson

    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 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 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.

    Up Ralph Gordon, cello and bass

    Ralph Gordon

    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.

    UpAnne Hooper, fiddle

    Anne Hooper

    ANNE HOOPER (Boston, Massachusetts). Two-time winner of the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championships, Anne Hooper has performed frequently for dance events of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society since 1984. Anne has served as Music Director of several RSCDS Boston Branch concerts and at Pinewoods Camp. She has performed with the dance band Tullochgorum for many years both in the U.S. and in Scotland. Under her other guise as classical violinist, Anne plays with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic. She teaches both classical music and Scottish fiddle at Rivers School Conservatory, Weston, Mass., and New School of Music, Cambridge, Mass. During one glorious week, each August, she teaches at the Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddle School where, in 2014, she was acting music director.

    Up Kate Barnes, piano

    Kate Barnes

    KATE BARNES Kate Barnes has been playing piano, flute and assorted other instruments for traditional dancing since 1971, and has been invited to most major contra, square, British Isles and vintage dance events throughout the United States, performing for dances and concerts, leading ensemble workshops, and generally acting in a crazy and often undignified manner. Averaging over 250 engagements per year since 1980, she is arguably one of New England’s busiest musicians, and has also played for festivals and tours in England, France, Denmark, Shetland, Scotland and Czechoslovakia.

    Up David Knight, fiddle

    David Knight

    DAVID KNIGHT (Washington, DC). David has been instigating dance up and down the East Coast and beyond since 1991, primarily fiddling in the Scottish, American, and English dance traditions with bands such as Thistle House and Waverley Station. He also has been known to compose (Fleeting and The Art of …), perform, and record (Waverley Station: First Stop!,” More Memories of Scottish Weekend, and Ellen Gozion: Awake, Awake). David has placed in regional Scottish fiddle performance and composition competitions, qualifying him to compete at the US National Scottish Fiddling Championships in 1997. A native of South Carolina, David lives in the District of Columbia, where he works for the Internal Revenue Service. For information on upcoming gigs and products, see

    Up Dave Wiesler, piano and guitar

    Dave Wiesler

    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

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