Tag Archives: Hilt Kelly

Memorial to Caller, Hilt Kelly

Hilton Kelly, the legendary Catskills fiddler and square dance caller, died on Tuesday, March 3 [2015] in Mountainside Residential Care Center in Margaretville, according to a friend of the Kelly family. He was 89 years old and is survived by Stella Kelly, his wife and bandmate of 66 years, as well as two children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Kelly, the son and grandson of fiddlers and square dance callers who farmed in Delaware County’s Redkill Valley, near the hamlet of Fleischmanns, began teaching himself how to fiddle when he was five years old. By age 15, he was leading a band called “The Melody Boys,” playing and calling at dances throughout the Catskills on an almost nightly basis, according to a history written by historian Bill Birns in the Catskill Mountain News.

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Hilt Kelly, legendary Catskills fiddler and square dance caller, dies