Irish stepdancers

Enjoy nonstop music and dance at the Festival!

Extraordinary Celtic Music!

Loretta Thompson

Loretta Thompson

Loretta Thompson is a high-spirited musician and singer whose versatile performances captivate audiences everywhere. Loretta’s dynamic fiddling and radiant voice echo the fervor of her Scottish-Irish and American heritage. Her passionate and spontaneous enthusiasm for traditional music and dance shines in every aspect of her life.

Playing fiddle, guitar, whistles and more, Loretta entertains her audiences with instrumental and vocal repertoires in traditional Celtic music and a variety of other popular styles. With unforgettable melodies and toe-tapping jigs and reels, she will move your spirit to dance!  Be it Scottish, Irish, or American, her stirring renditions will sweep you away on a fascinating journey to the old country.

Loretta has experience as a full-time public school orchestra director, clinician, and general music teacher, and is a member of the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra.

Her formal education includes undergraduate studies at Metropolitan State College of Denver, where she majored in music education and conducting. Loretta has been an instructor at the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp since its inception in 1999. Currently she composes music, teaches privately, and conducts two music groups–Summit Middle School Celtic music group, and the Colorado Chinese Language School Orchestra.

Steve Colby

Steve Colby
Steve Colby

A veteran musician, performer and teacher in the Phoenix area for the past 20 years, Steve began his musical journey at the age of five. Fretted stringed instruments became a passion in his youth, and since those days he has performed in more than 2,000 shows with several ensembles highlighting Celtic and folk music as their primary emphasis.

Steve currently performs with the Celtic trio, “Seanachie.” His material is varied, using Celtic songs along with popular and folk music from the U.S.A.

Steve has been a featured performer at Highland games in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Illinois.  

In addition to baritone vocals, Steve uses acoustic guitar, 5-string banjo and Irish bouzouki both for accompaniment and instrumentals.

Eric Olson

Eric Olson

Uillian pipes have been added to the lineup of Celtic musicians at the Colorado Scottish Festival this year! Come hear expert Eric Olson as he plays the Irish Uillean pipes. Uillean pipes have a greater tonal and octave range than the Great Highland bagpipe, and as played by Eric, have been described as both “subtle and poetic.” Because the Uillean pipes are “bellows-blown,” Eric frequently sings with them, or at times he adds to his performances with tunes on a tin whistle. You won’t want to miss Eric Olson!


Donald Hilsberg

Principal harpist Donald Hilsberg has been a member of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic since 2000. He also shares his love of music with 400+ students as music teacher at Doull Elementary School in Denver.

A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, Donald has performed around the U.S. and in Prague, Czech Republic, for the 7th World Harp Congress. Additionally, he has served as Principal Harp for the Denver Chamber Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Institute and Colorado Chamber Orchestra.

As an active free-lance musician, Donald has performed in back-up orchestras for numerous artists in venues around Colorado. He can also be heard on numerous recordings produced by such groups as: St. John’s Cathedral, St. Martins Chamber Choir, Cherry Creek Chorale and Trinity United Methodist Church to name a few.

Collecting old pedal harps is a favorite past-time for Donald. He enjoys discovering old harps, regardless of condition, and restoring them to their former beauty. An additional passion is researching the history of each harp, discovering information about the previous owner(s) and documenting the results.

Irish Dance!

Sharing the Concert Stage with Celtic musicians will be dancers from the Bennett School of Irish Dance.  Located at the Friendship Irish Dance Center in Denver, the Bennett School was formed in 1988 by Molly Bennett, TCRG, her sister Libby Skipper, and her husband Bill Bennett.

Enjoy the high energy and flying feet of members of the Irish dance team as they express their love of their heritage at the Colorado Scottish Festival!