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Jerry Helt 
Square Dance Caller, Round Dance Cuer
Jerry Helt in Square Dance Hall Of Fame
ID: 175

Jerry Helt  
Jerry Helt  

On Wednesday, June 30, 2021 Jerry Lee Helt, loving husband and father of three children, passed away at the age of 90.

Jerry was born on March 22, 1931 in Ohio to Lowell Frowine Helt and Katherine Rice. On June 7, 1958 he married Kathleen Elizabeth Connaughton in Cincinnati. They raised three daughters, Greta, Neva and Hilary.

Jerry was a peddler by day and a square dance caller by night. He was a talented man in many ways and always was ready with a handshake and a smile. He was a joker and loved pranking people. He called square dances all over the world and was inducted into the Square Dance Callers Hall of Fame in 1979.

Jerry L. Helt was considered by folk dancers throughout the fifty United States and Canada as the most popular caller and teacher of American square dances, contras, and round dances. He was known for his humorous, fun teaching style, for his specialty, "Exploding Squares," and for his very popular creations "Sweep a Quarter" and the round dance "Jiffy Mixer."

Jerry began his square dance activities in the early 1940s and had been a full-time caller since 1953. As a professional caller and instructor, he conducted callers' clinics and workshops, and served on the teaching faculty of numerous universities, institutes, and camps throughout the United States and many foreign countries. Jerry was not only a member of Callerlab (the international association of quare dance callers), he served on its founding Board of Governors. He conducted a full program of classes and clubs in Cincinnati, Ohio, and surrounding areas that included squares, rounds, quadrilles, and contras. He served on the program of the National Square Dance Convention since 1953 and served as a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee for the American Square Dance Society. He was fully licensed by A.S.C.A.P. and B.M.I.

Jerry was a recording artist on Blue Star, MacGregor, Scope, Sets in Order, Hollywood, Kentucky, and Gateway Records. He also performed and recorded with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra on the Telarc label. His numerous albums and singles are heard around the world. He produced "Jerry Helt's Dance Party KDF-003," a video and audio cassette for non-dancers, people of all ages, square dancers, school groups, square dance callers, and collectors (available from Kentucky Dance Foundation).

Jerry was featured as a caller and choreographer on stage and in television shows and choreographed square dance scenes for the Cincinnati Opera's "Elixer of Love." He conducted exhibition groups and taught dancing to mentally retarded, wheelchair groups, and children. He performed and called square dances throughout the fifty United Sates and was featured in articles in the national square dance magazine Square Dancing as well as other magazines and publications.

Jerry attended engineering school at the University of Cincinnati. He enjoyed many hobbies, such as sculpture and antique collecting, with his wife Kathy and three daughters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The American Square Dance Society inducted Jerry into their Hall of Fame in 1979. The Jerry Helt Fan Club and its national membership contribute and support the American Cancer Society to help wipe out this dreaded disease.

Dances Jerry has taught include Blue Stars and Stripes Mixer, Blue Stars and Stripes Quadrille, Buffalo Gap Contra, Cielito Lindo Mixer, Cincinnati Waltz Quadrille, Circle and Star Contra, Circle Waltz Mixer, Dipsy, Elementary Mixer, Flaming Mamie Mixer, Flutter Wheel Quadrille, Grand Square Quadrille, Happy Heart Square, Heel and Toe Quadrille, Hey Hey Contra, Honey Quadrille, Hula Blues Mixer, Jiffy Mixer, Jubilee Mixer, Lead to the Right, Linear Cycle, Little Red Wagon, Love for Pennies Square, Peel To the Right, Pretty Baby Quadrille, Queens Quadrille, Rock'n In Rosalie's Boat, 'Round the Corner Quadrille, Should I Mixer, Square Rotation 1/4 Right, Squeeze Play Contra, Sweep a Quarter, Swing Mixer, Three Quarter Quadrille, Travel On, and Two Stars in the Night (Venus and Mars).

SIO's article: JERRY HELT of Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the first square dance callers to go into the activity on a full-time basis, has compiled an outstanding record of achievements in the world of square dancing. An extremely competent caller, able to handle the many stratas of square dancing required by the contemporary caller, Jerry has always been a strong advocate of the recreational values this activity affords. For more than thirty years he has conducted classes and maintained a strong home club program. His examples of leadership have done much to inspire other callers, both in his area and in surrounding areas. Jerry has put the stress on the pure enjoyment square dancing has to offer and he has proven his ability in taking a mixed floor of sometimes hundreds of squares of dancers, some veterans of 15 or 20 years or more of dancing along with those still in their beginning classes, and providing an equal opportunity for everyone to have a great time. This is the mark of a professional. Jerry has done all of the usuals. He has written many singing calls, patter calls, contras and even dabbled in rounds. He has been travel calling for more than twenty five years, covering many of the United States, the Canadian Provinces and a number of countries overseas. He has recorded on several labels and has appeared on staff in many seminars and callers' colleges. An intensely interested and involved individual, Jerry's goals have been aimed at developing a permanent and lasting square dance activity, grounding the new dancers not only in the basics, but in the philosophy of the square dance movement. Jerry has continued to support the development of leadership and has placed great importance on the home club program. For this and for the part he played in the development and advancement of CALLERLAB — The International Association of Square Dance Callers, having served several terms on its Board of Governors, and for his support over the years in local, state and national square dance conventions, he has been marked as an all-around leader and as a wholely qualified member of the Square Dance Hall of Fame. To speak of Jerry, of course, is to speak of the Helts as a couple, for Jerry has proven over the years that square dancing is a couple activity. Therefore, as we salute Jerry we also salute his wife Kathy, very much a part of all these accomplishments, both as an inspiration and as a working member of home club and the away-from-home activities. And so, to Kathy and to Jerry, our congratulations and a hearty welcome to the Square Dance Hall of Fame.

If you have any additional pertinent information about this person, please Contact Debbie.

Recordings by Jerry Helt:
Dance Ranch    Blue Star    Scope    MacGregor    E-Z School Rhythm    Old Timer   
Arkie Star / Marching Thru Georgia  Singing Call (two vocals), Kentucky 610
Baby Won't You Please Come Home  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1823
Banjo Contra  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Contra, Blue Star 1994
Blue Birds Singing  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1974
Blue Stars And Stripes  (comments) (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Mixer, Blue Star 1917
Blue Stars And Stripes  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Mixer, E-Z School Rhythm 714
Celito Lindo  (comments) (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2121
Celito Lindo Mixer  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Mixer, E-Z School Rhythm 724
Cowboy's Sweetheart  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1802
Dance Ranch Round-up #1  (comments)  Patter -- with Marshall Flippo, Bob Fisk, Dance Ranch 1001
Divide The Ring / Coming Around The Mountain  Singing Call (two vocals), Kentucky 612
Four Leaf Clover  (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2444
Get It Right  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1979
Gone / Seeing Nellie Home  Singing Call (two vocals), MacGregor 8625  On our wish list
Goofuz / Mamie's Mixer  Round (two-sided) -- with Manny & Jackie Amor, Blue Star 1788
Grand Square  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Patter, E-Z School Rhythm 717
Happy Birthday (Song & Dance)  (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2411  On our wish list
Happy Heart  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1919
Hello, Hello, Hello  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, MacGregor 923
Helt's Hash  (sample clip)  Patter, MacGregor 8815
Helt's Hassel / Smile In Your Style  Singing Call (vocal) + Patter, MacGregor 8323
Hey, Good Looking  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, MacGregor 919
Hi Neighbor  (comments) (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2360
Hi Neighbor  (comments) (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, MacGregor 1099
Hi Neighbor / Lacy  (comments) (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call (instrumental) + Patter, Dance Ranch 1045
Humble Hoedown  Patter, MacGregor 905  On our wish list
It's A Long Way To Houston  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1938
It's You I Love / Hash Happy  (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call (vocal) + Patter, MacGregor 8343
Jerry's Jumble  (sample clip)  Patter, MacGregor 902
Little Bu Bu  (comments) (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1818
Little Red Wagon  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2081
Love For Pennies  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2014
Marked Cards  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Patter, MacGregor 8845
Oldies  (sample clip)  Patter, MacGregor 8935
Patriotic Medley  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2025
Pretty Baby  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2067
Queen's Quadrille  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Patter, E-Z School Rhythm 719
Sigh 'N' Cry  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, MacGregor 8755
Smile In Your Style  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, MacGregor 933
Sprechen Sie Deutsch  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2366
Square Dance Music In My Soul  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1943
Standing Room Only  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1909
Susie  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, MacGregor 911
The Grande Colonel  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Old Timer 202
Tied Down  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, MacGregor 2010
Too Old To Cut The Mustard  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, MacGregor 908
Travel On  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 2363
Warm Up  (sample clip)  Patter, MacGregor 8785
What Is To Be  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1928
Wildflower  (sample clip) (cue sheet)  Singing Call, Scope 512
You Are  (sample clip) (cue sheet) (lyrics)  Singing Call, Blue Star 1955

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