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, 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, to sing gaelic songs and to attend workshops in Celtic art, Scottish Country Dance, early Scottish gaelic song and harp as well as a single malt whisky tasting, the “Address to the Haggis”, and Scottish specialties at meals throughout the weekend!
On Friday evening, join Hanneke Cassel for exuberant and irresistibly playful Scottish fiddling followed by the annual Mohonk Ceilidh, a gaidhlig (gaelic) word meaning “a visit.”
Experience a classic Scottish concert on Saturday evening hosted by David McCormick and featuring not only the works of Robert Burns but the favorites in dance, song, music and poetry from a wonderful group of award-winning musicians, dancers and singers. Enjoy performances from our guest artist James Ruff, who will perform Early Gaelic song with the Celtic wire harp, and The Schenectady Pipe Band, The Castle Point Scottish Country Dancers, the musicians of Highland Oasis and Shot of Scotch Highland Dancers with both traditional and original choreography.
Availability is limited. For reservations, please call .
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: COMING SOON
Please check back for an updated schedule 3 months prior to the event.
Preview last year’s schedule:
Welcome Tea and Scottish Treats!
Join us for afternoon tea and cookies with Scottish fiddle-tunes from Highland Oasis and a special performance from Highland Dancers, Shot of Scotch.
Welcome! Failte! Concert with Hanneke Cassel
A multi-national fusion of influences from Scotland to China to the hip Boston blugrass/American scene creates the cutting edge acoustic sound of charismatic fiddler Hanneke Cassel. Joined by guitarist Christopher Lewis, 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 (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. Meet the performers and fellow Mohonk guests during this very special part of the tradition of the Mohonk Scottish Weekend.
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 Cry of the Harp: Gaelic Music Traditions in Scotland
Prize-winning singer and harper James Ruff will lead you on a journey through the historic music traditions of Gaelic Scotland focusing on the lore of the Gaelic harp and its historic links to the pipes and Gaelic poetry. James will perform and discuss traditional work songs, love songs, pipe songs, harp songs and mouth music – including selections from his new CD: The Gaels’ Honour.
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! Simply come willing to have a tremendous amount of fun and learn dances that are enjoyed all over the world today.
Gaelic Language and Song
Traditional songs have been sung for centuries by people during their everyday lives. They are songs of, about, and for the people and Caroline Bennett and James Ruff look forward share their enthusiasm for this great heritage and this beautiful language. Learn greetings and simple phrases in Gaelic (anns a’ Ghadhlig!), join in singing a waulking song used when milling cloth. No singing voice is required!
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, as documented in the Exchequer Rolls, which were records of royal income and expenditure.
Join Scotch distributor Michael Mednikoff as he shares insights on these fine Scottish whiskys. 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
A Classic Scottish Concert
The performers of the Mohonk Scottish Weekend are pleased to bring to you a very exciting evening of entertainment featuring dance, songs, and music from Scotland from across the ages. The award winning dancers, musicians, pipers and singers have been invited to bring together the pieces that are the source of their personal inspiration and love for Scottish music, dance, song, and for the Scottish culture. Our guest performer with be James Ruff, who will be performing Early Scottish Gaelic Song and Early Gaelic Harp music in featuring the “Classical Music of the Gael”. This concert brings together the classic and the contemporary and is sure to have you tapping your toes to great fiddle music, wanting to dance the jigs and reels, entranced by the beautiful melodies and Gaelic song, and dreaming of the glens as you listen to the great tunes of the Highland Bagpipe. Come and share in this experience as we celebrate or love for Scottish culture in honour of the Bard of Scotland, Robert Burns.
The concert is followed by Scottish country dancing (ceilidh dancing) in the Parlor with the Castle Point Scottish Country Dancers and Ellen Sears. Experience the energy and elegance of jigs, reels and strathspeys with the Çastle Point Scottish Country Dancers; spirited performances from Shot of Scotch with traditional highland dance as well as original choreography; music from Highland Oasis and the Schenectady Pipe Band Ensemble, and song and harp playing from James Ruff. Festivities are led by David McCormick who hails from Scotland and will keep you entertained all evening.
Highland Dance Workshop
Learn the elements of highland dance from the premier dancers of Shot of Scotch. This is a fun and informative workshop that is back by popular request! Come to dance, learn basic steps or to watch and learn about Highland Dance. All ages and abilities 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. This brings to a close the festivities of the Mohonk Scottish Weekend as we already look forward to next year!
MEET OUR PROGRAM LEADERS
Hanneke Cassel effervescent and engaging, Boston-based fiddler is a performer, teacher, and composer whose career spans over two decades. Her style fuses influences 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.
Since 2005, tenor 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. He is particularly interested in the “Classical Music of the Gael” of both Scotland and Ireland. James has presented concerts of this music at such venues as the Scoil na gCláirseach Festival of the Early Irish Harp in Kilkenny, Ireland, the Boston Early Music Festival Fringe, Gotham Early Music Scene Midtown Concerts in New York, Beacon Hill Concerts, Stone Church Arts Concert Series, and the Mount Holyoke College and Vassar College Concert Series. He played and taught again this August at the Kilkenny Scoil na gCláirseach, and presented a lecture/demonstration on Restoring the Repertoire to the Early Gaelic Harp at the US Historical Harp Society’s conference in June.
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, the Schenectady Pipe Band is 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, William Munro, Louis Schenck, and Barry Smith. For more on the band please visit www.schenectadypipeband.com.
Shot of Scotch
NYC Highland Dancers are thrilled to be invited back to Mohonk Mountain House for Scottish Weekend. 2019 marks the seventh year their dancers will perform during this celebratory weekend. As certified highland dance teachers and premier level champion dancers, they are excited to share their passion for this endurance demanding Scottish art form. Having performed as a group at venues like Lincoln Center, Dixon Theatre, Brooklyn Ballet, NYC’s Tartan Day Parade, and St. Andrews University Alumni Ball – Mohonk’s Scottish Weekend is still a favorite.
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. Elizabeth Buonomo is a Scottish Country Dance instructor at her local branch in Hohokus, NJ. She also serves on the Board of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society of NJ. The demonstration team includes Elizabeth, Jaime Dritt, Shelby Peak, Sarah Tucker, Angus Grandfield, Jack O’Connor, Rodrigo Quiroz 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. The performers come from all over the tri-state area and have chosen to name their demonstration team in honor of Scottish Weekend at Mohonk Mountain House. They are delighted to return to Mohonk and to experience this lovely art form with all of you. When Elizabeth is not dancing, she works as a psychotherapist and as a teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Highland Oasis pianist and band leader Jim Stevenson-Mathews first played for a Scottish dance in NYC about 1980, but after a slight “musical detour” began playing more regularly for dances and workshops in 1992, and played for his first Scottish Weekend at Mohonk in 2010. Fiddler Rebecca McCallum began playing for Scottish dances in Rochester, NY in 1997, and in 2012 became a part of Highland Oasis. Fiddler Nora Smith joins the group this year, and has been playing for Scottish dances and festivals since 2003. All three share a passion for the rhythms and melodies of the Scottish isles.
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, who was a singer. Caroline has been a Gaidhlig (Scottish gaelic) learner for a number of years and is passionate about the language and traditional Gaidhlig song as well as Scots song. She loves to share Gaidhlig song with others and performs locally in New York and Connecticut for Scottish events. She has performed with Angus MacLeod during Kitchen Fest and at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton, at the Merryall Center for the Arts, and has been awarded Gold and Silver Medals for Gaelic Song at the North Carolina Gaelic Mòd and at the Bethlehem Celtic Classic. Caroline also performed for many years with the Nassau County Scottish Country Dancers at the Westbury Highland games, the Lochleven Dancers and the Thistle Hill Scottish Country Dancers and holds a RSCDS Scottish Dancing teaching certificate. This is the seventh year that Caroline has been the program coordinator for the Mohonk Scottish Weekend and she is so pleased to be working again with such enthusiastic and talented performers.
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:
- Three meals daily featuring fresh, locally sourced cuisine from our farm-to-table partners
- Access to more than 85 miles of the Hudson Valley’s best hiking trails
- Boating, fishing, and swimming on Lake Mohonk
- Daily Guided “House History” Tours of our National Historic Landmark resort
- Guided Nature Hikes with stunning views of the Catskill Mountains
- 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 Main Dining Room