Callanish was formed in 2001 by four members of the Scottish band Ceol Binn, based in Lemont, Pennsylvania. When the founders of Ceol Binn retired to Canada, the remaining band members re-formed, named themselves “Callanish” and expanded their repertoire to include Irish as well as Scottish music.
They quickly became regulars at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, First Night State College, Wellsboro's Laurel Festival, and State College's Summer's Best Music Fest. The band has been through several changes since then, with the current lineup of band members established in the summer of 2010.
Patty plays wooden flute, whistle, and concertina. She was a former member of Ceol Binn, Smash the Windows, the Celtic Classic trio, and appears on several albums: all four Callanish albums, Smash the Windows'Requests the Pleasure of Your Company, Celtic Classic, and Davy Jones' She. She is also a current member of the State College Municipal Band. She has studied Irish flute with Mike Rafferty and Eliot Grasso, and has attended workshops at Catskills Irish Arts Week, Irish/Celtic Week at Augusta, Goderich Celtic Roots, and other festivals. Formerly on the faculty of the Music Academy, she now teaches privately in her home.
Gretchen plays the fiddle that propels the lilting, signature sound of Callanish. She picked up her first violin at the age of 5 and has been playing classical violin and various fiddle styles ever since. Gretchen is a graduate of the Penn State School of Music, where she studied with James Lyon, and in 2013 she obtained an MME in Music Education, also from Penn State. She has been teaching violin, fiddle, and viola in the area since 2002. She also plays with the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, the Altoona Symphony, the Nittany Valley Symphony, and in various local theatre productions. Since 2010, Gretchen has co-directed and directed the State College Fiddle Camp, for elementary through high school students.
Louisa is a native of State College, and a 2009 graduate of the Penn State School of Theatre. The lead singer of Callanish, she is a classically trained vocalist, having studied since childhood with her mother, singer Theresa Smith, and is one of two vocalists to have won the Triolo Music Competition for young musicians. Her love of Celtic music was sparked during her two years as a part time cast member at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. She also plays bodhran, spoons, and other percussion.
Holly plays guitar, bouzouki, and banjo. She has studied with Mary Coogan, guitarist of Cherish the Ladies, Daithe Sproule of Altan, Matt Heaton, and others at festivals such as Irish/Celtic Week at Augusta, Catskills Irish Arts Week, and Goderich Celtic Roots. She also plays the hammered dulcimer in the Renaissance duo, Ancient Echoes. Since 2008, Holly has worked with Linda Littleton of Simple Gifts, booking talent for Folk College, held at Juniata College each Memorial Day Weekend.She has visited Ireland three times, twice with Callanish band mate, Patty Lambert, where they collected tunes and stories.