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Kerry Elkin, 1951-2009

Kerry Elkin was born in New York City and grew up in Middleborough. He graduated from Middleborough High School in 1969, where he lettered in football, and from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology. He also attended Rutgers University, where he majored in engineering, and played football and rugby.

Kerry spent his early career at the Manomet Bird Observatory (now the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences) in Manomet, Massachusetts. Always deeply interested in wildlife and the natural world, he found his true vocations as a farmer and a musician. As a farmer, he was principally involved with cranberries, as a bog manager for Beaton Cranberries, Inc. in Wareham in 1984 to 1992, and as a grower who built his own bog in Rochester and farmed it from 1985 to 1995.

But it was as a musician that he drew his most satisfaction and acclaim. Kerry was an accomplished traditional dance fiddler, who performed at dances, dance camps, and festivals across the United States, in Canada, and in Belgium, Ireland, and France. His bands, Geese in the Bog and Fresh Fish, performed at monthly dances in Rochester and Rehoboth granges, and drew on the large community of contra dancers in New England. His bands recorded cassettes and CDs, and he was invited to perform on the recordings of other musicians. He was the proud owner of and performer on a custom Bob Childs fiddle, and a member of the band Childsplay.

The Kerry Elkin collection was donated by his family in 2012 and includes over 400 LPs, cassettes, both commercial and self-recorded, master recordings, field recordings, books, notebooks, sheet music, and film.

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