January 24 – 26, 2020
The halls of the Mountain House echo with the sound of bagpipes as the Mohonk grounds transform into the highlands of Scotland! Our Scottish Weekend features award-winning musicians, concerts, workshops, Scottish history, Scotch whisky tasting, the “Address to the Haggis,” a ceilidh, Scottish country dance, bagpipe-playing, and kilt-making.
Take the opportunity to hear world class Scottish Fiddling, Celtic wire harp, Scottish Gaelic song, and to attend workshops in Celtic art, Scottish Country Dance, Highland Dance, the Highland bagpipes, and Gaelic language and song. Scottish culture and history is an integral part of this weekend and we will have a lecture on Scottish history from published researcher and historian Steve Blamires. We also will have a single malt whisky tasting, the “Address to the Haggis”, and Scottish specialties at meals throughout the weekend!
On Friday evening join Hanneke Cassel and Dave Wiesler for exuberant and irresistibly playful Scottish fiddling, followed by the annual Mohonk Ceilidh, a Gaidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) word meaning “a visit.”
Enjoy a classic Scottish concert on Saturday evening hosted by David McCormick and featuring dance, song, music, and poetry from early times in Scotland through more recent times throughout the Scottish Diaspora, highlighting the living culture of a people who have settled accross the globe, treasured their culture and history, and continuing to tell their stories though music, poetry, and dance. Enjoy performances from our guest artist James Ruff, who will perform Early Gaelic song with the Celtic wire harp; Scottish and Gaelic song from Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews, Charlotte Bennett, and Caroline Bennett; the Schenectady Pipe Band; the Castle Point Scottish Country Dancers; the musicians of Highland Oasis; and the Sky Top Highland Dancers with both traditional and original choreography.
Availability is limited. For reservations, please call .
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
FRIDAY, JANUARY 24
Welcome Tea and Scottish Treats!
Join us for afternoon tea and cookies with Scottish fiddle-tunes from Highland Oasis and a special performance from the Sky Top Highland Dancers.
Welcome! Failte! Concert with Hanneke Cassel
A multi-national fusion of influences from Scotland to China to the hip Boston bluegrass/Americana scene creates the cutting edge acoustic sound of charismatic fiddler Hanneke Cassel. Joined by pianist Dave Wiesler, Hanneke’s performance is a uniquely American approach to Scottish music.
Annual Mohonk Ceilidh
The evening show is followed by the annual Mohonk Ceilidh, a Gaidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) word meaning “A visit”. We invite you to “visit” with us in the Parlor and enjoy the opportunity to share a song, poem, story, “party piece”, or to simply sit back, listen, and enjoy and perhaps sing along to some Scottish favorites. Meet the performers and fellow Mohonk guests during this very special part of the tradition of the Mohonk Scottish Weekend.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 25
Kilt Making Display
10am – 4pm
We are so pleased to welcome back the well-known kiltmaker Bonnie Heather Greene of Bonniekilts. She will be available throughout the weekend to answer your questions about kilts and tartans and will bring resources, books, and samples for those who wish to research their family tartan!
Celtic Art Workshop with Patrick Gallagher
Patrick has spent over twenty years as an artist, lecturer, master printmaker, and teacher of the Celtic Arts, sharing his passion at over 500 events to date. Patrick has helped make Celtic Art a modern phenomenon and his work is archived by the UCLA School of Architecture and Design. Join him and discover an art form thousands of years young.
The Highland Clearances – Scotland’s Ethnic Cleansing
Join Scottish history researcher and historian, Steve Blamires for a presentation that details a series of events in Scotland from 1746 on that led to the mass depopulation of the Highlands and Islands. First, by government troops with specific orders to eradicate anyone and anything that could be described as “Highland” and, second, because of the ravenous greed of landowners who could increase their income several times over by removing the rent-paying crofters and replacing them with highly lucrative sheep. The methods employed to get rid of their own clans people, and the specific targeting of Gaelic Highlanders, would today be called ‘ethnic cleansing’. 100,000s of poor Highlanders were forced to either emigrate to the New World or starve to death on the barren hillsides. It is the blackest period in Scotland’s already very dark history – and it did not stop until the early 20th century.
Scottish Country Dance Workshop
This is always a popular workshop and combines fun and exercise! Learn the basics of Scottish Country Dancing, the social dancing of Scotland. Led by Elizabeth Buonomo, a teacher of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Association with the Castle Point Scottish Country Dancers, this workshop is for everyone and no previous experience or partner is necessary to participate!
From Warp and Weft to Waulking – in Gaelic Language and Song
For centuries, song has been an accompaniment to work and woven into the fabric of the culture. In this workshop you will learn some basic greetings and phrases in Scottish Gaelic and also be introduced to the process of weaving and waulking of cloth. Learn to sing along with the chorus of a Scottish waulking song with weaver and singer Caroline Bennett and harpist James Ruff. No singing voice is required!
Afternoon Tea with Pianist David Wiesler
Join us for afternoon tea and cookies with Scottish tunes from pianist Dave Wiesler.
Scotch Whisky Tasting
“To Friar John Cor, by order of the King, to make aqua vitae, VIII bolls of malt.”
— Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1 June 1495.
According to the Scotch Whisky Association, Scotch whisky evolved from a Scottish drink called uisge beatha, which means “water of life”. The earliest record of distillation in Scotland occurred as long ago as 1494. Join Scotch distributor Michael Mednikoff as he shares insights on fine Scottish whiskeys. This year we will be sampling whisky from Glenfiddich, Macallan, Balvenie, Highland Park, Monkey Shoulder and Lagavulin.
Note: Pre-registration is required. $60 per person program fee for admittance. Space is limited. Must be age 21 or over to attend.
Address to the Haggis and Tribute to Robert Burns
Enjoy the annual procession into the dining room for dinner, followed by a traditional Address to the Haggis, led by David McCormick and the Schenectady Pipe Band Ensemble.
But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,
Like taps o’ thrissle.
-“Address to a Haggis” by Robert Burns
Join Gaitley and Jim Stevenson-Mathews in singing familiar Scottish favorites. This chance to sing along to classic Scottish songs is back this year due to popular demand. All the words are provided and requests are encouraged!
A Classic Scottish Concert
The performers of the Mohonk Scottish Weekend are pleased to bring you a very exciting evening of entertainment featuring dance, songs, and music from Scotland from across the ages and across the world. This concert brings together the classic and the contemporary and is sure to have you tapping your toes to the great fiddle music, wanting to dance the jigs and reels, excited by the energetic Highland dancing, entranced by the beautiful melodies of Scottish and Gaelic song, and enjoying the great tunes of the Highland Bagpipe.
The concert is followed by Scottish country dancing (ceilidh dancing) in the Parlor with the Castle Point Scottish Country Dancers and Ellen Sears. Ceilidh dancing is for all levels of dancers and no experience is necessary!
SUNDAY, JANUARY 26
Scottish Music Workshop
Join Dave Wiesler, well known pianist specializing in Scottish music, and Mara Shea, an award-winning scottish fiddler, for a journey into Scottish traditional music. Learn about the elements of Scottish music, its history, and how Scottish music has thrived across the globe. Bring your instruments or just bring yourself, your curiosity, your sense of fun, and your love of Scottish music.
Highland Dance Workshop
Learn the elements of highland dance from Premier-leveled dancers, Kendra Monroe and Emily Ritter of the Sky Top Highland Dancers. Come to dance, learn basic steps, or to watch and learn about Highland Dance. All ages and abilities are welcome!
Learn about the history, structure, and playing of the great Highland bagpipes from Pipe Major William Munro and members of the Schenectady Pipe Band. All are welcome and participation is encouraged!
The Singing of Auld Lang Syne
The singing of Auld Lang Syne followed by the procession into lunch from the Parlor led by the Schenectady Pipe Band Ensemble is a long established tradition at Mohonk Mountain House. This brings to a close the festivities of the Mohonk Scottish Weekend as we already look forward to next year!
MEET OUR PROGRAM LEADERS
Caroline Bennett is our program coordinator for Scottish Weekend at Mohonk Mountain House. She hails from the UK and was introduced to Scottish music, song, and dance by her Scottish mother. She is passionate about Gaelic song and the Gaelic language, is a singer, weaver and spinner and regularly participates in traditional waulkings with her own woven cloth. She has received silver and gold medals at the North Carolina Gaelic Mòd. Caroline has also performed extensively as a Scottish Country Dancer and has received her Part 1 teaching certification. This is the eighth year that Caroline has been the program coordinator for the Mohonk Scottish Weekend and she is excited to be working again with such enthusiastic and talented performers.
Hanneke Cassel is effervescent and engaging, a Boston-based fiddler, performer, teacher, and composer whose career spans over two decades. Her style fuses influence from the Isle of Skye and Cape Breton Island with Americana grooves and musical innovations, creating a cutting-edge acoustic sound that retains the integrity and spirit of the Scottish tradition. Hanneke’s music is a blend of the contemporary and traditional, described by the Boston Globe as “exuberant and rhythmic, somehow wild and innocent, delivered with captivating melodic clarity and an irresistible playfulness.” She has performed across North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
Steve Blamires is from the Isle of Arran in the west of Scotland where the Gaelic language and Celtic culture are still strong. For the past 25 years he has traveled the world on small expedition ships, mainly with National Geographic, as an historian, international tour guide, and cultural expert. He has several books in print, has appeared on TV and radio on both sides of the Atlantic, and regularly gives presentations at conferences and events. His presentations are informative, relevant and often from a unique perspective. When he is not on the High Seas, he leads small group tours to Scotland, hosts his own Celtic music radio show, and is on the board of directors of The American Center for Folk Music.
James Ruff has focused his energies on researching and performing both the Early Scottish Gaelic Song and the Early Gaelic Wire Harp repertoires, as well as learning the Scottish Gaelic language since 2005. He is particularly interested in the “Classical Music of the Gael” of both Scotland and Ireland. He has served on the music faculties of Smith College, Amherst College, MIT, the University of Connecticut, Emerson College, Longy School of Music, Deerfield Academy, and the Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Since 2008, Mr. Ruff has taught voice at Vassar College, and maintains a private voice and harp studio. For more information, see: www.jamesrufftenorharper.com.
Schenectady Pipe Band
Schenectady Pipe Band formed in 1917 with the support of Clan MacRae and General Electric. They are one of the oldest bagpipe bands in the United States and celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2017. This distinguished band has won many honors and has traveled extensively in North America and in the UK. During the bands ’93 trip to Scotland they returned with a coveted 1st place for ‘Dress and Drill’ in their grade. Band members performing this weekend include Tom LaBelle, Bob Munro, Bill Munro, Louis Schenck, Barry Smith, Jeff Schenck, and Iain Munro. For more on the band please visit www.schenectadypipeband.com.
The Sky Top Highland Dancers
The Sky Top Highland Dancers, named after the famous and beautiful lookout point at Mohonk, are NYC-based Highland Dancers Kendra Monroe and Emily Ritter. 2020 marks the 8th and 5th year, respectively, that these dancers will perform during this celebratory weekend. Kendra and Emily met through Shot of Scotch NYC, for which Emily still performs, and both still teach through Kendra’s NYC-based lessons, Monroe School of Highland Dance. As certified highland dance teachers and premier level champion dancers, they are excited to share their passion for this endurance demanding Scottish art form.
The Castle Point Scottish Country Dancers
The Castle Point Scottish Country Dancers are managed by Elizabeth Buonomo and dance in various tri-state area branches of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. The demonstration team includes Elizabeth, Shelby Peak, Sarah Tucker, Angus Grandfield, Jack O’Connor, Ken Saunders, Debbie Saunders, and John Velonis. All have studied traditional dance and music for many years and share a passion for the grace, intricacy, and pure fun of Scottish Country Dance. They are delighted to return again to enjoy this wonderful weekend with Mohonk guests.
Highland Oasis celebrates the vibrant music of Scotland. Merging the talents of three accomplished dance musicians, the results range from lyrical to exuberant, stately to driving. Pianist and band leader Jim Stevenson-Mathews has been playing regularly for Scottish dances and workshops since 1992, and played for his first Scottish Weekend at Mohonk in 2010. Fiddler Mara Shea began playing for Scottish dancing in 1999 in North Carolina, and joined Highland Oasis at Mohonk in 2011. Fiddler Rebecca McCallum began playing for Scottish dances in Rochester, NY in 1997, and in 2012 became a part of Highland Oasis. All three share a passion for the rhythms and melodies of the Scottish Isles. For more on Highland Oasis, please visit https://www.facebook.com/HighlandOasis/.
Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews is a vocalist, acting coach, and speech coach, and has also worked for many years in arts administration, ran a theatre company, and served on the Cultural Affairs Commision for the City of Dallas. Additionally, he worked as a professional actor and director for more than twenty years, is a member of Actors’ Equity Association (AFL-CIO), and played Montie the Mountie opposite the big purple guy on the wildly popular “Barney and Friends.” Descended from Scots who settled the Cape Fear region of the Carolinas, Gaitley is often called on to sing Scottish classics. However, his greatest joy is singing the National Anthem for many celebrations in and around the City of Glen Cove (NY) where he will be serving as City Councilman beginning in January.
Michael Mednikoff, Regional Sales Manager with Empire Merchants North has over 27 years in the alcoholic beverage industry. He is a certified beverage professional covering the Hudson Valley and is also a certified wine and spirits trainer for Empire Merchants. He has a true passion for Scotch, Whiskey, and Bourbon, and has spent time at some of the largest Scotch producers in Scotland.
Availability is limited. For reservations, please call .
When you visit for Scottish Weekend, your overnight package includes:
- Breakfast: Continental Breakfast and Breakfast Buffet with made-to-order omelets, our famous mini-waffles, and more
- Brunch: Brunch Buffet or Surrey Brunch
- Dinner: Surrey Fine Dining or Modern American Menu
- Access to more than 85 miles of the Hudson Valley’s best hiking trails
- Daily Guided “House History” Tours of our National Historic Landmark resort
- Ice skating in our open air pavilion
- Yoga, Meditation, and Fitness Classes
- Indoor Heated Pool with underwater music
- Afternoon tea and cookies in our historic Lake Lounge
- Nightly Evening Entertainment
- Special Events and more! See schedule of activities >
A la carte experiences available to overnight guests:
- A full menu of nature-inspired treatments at our award-winning spa
- The Carriage Lounge, featuring a full bar and handcrafted cocktails as well as hyperlocal draft beer and hard cider
- An award-winning wine list in our dining venues