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Hilton Kelly, Catskill fiddler and caller

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Hilton Kelly, Catskill fiddler and caller


Hilton Kelly, of Fleischmanns, New York, is a Catskills fiddler and square dance caller. He started playing in 1932, at age 5, and started calling in 1937. By the time he was 15, he had a regular band and was playing regularly at house parties, schools, and public events throughout the region. In 1953, Kelly says he was doing 6 or 7 dances a week, which, combined with his work, was too much and he had to stop. Twenty-five years later, he was encouraged by the New York State Council on the Arts to bring back old-time music and dance, and he has been calling since.

This interview, which aired on WRNN television, includes music clips played by Kelly on fiddle and his wife, Stella, on piano, with a few samples of his calls interspersed.


recorded from the air by John Kaufman

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