February 28, 2009

Kit Reynolds, 1927-2009

The great pipe band drummer William Graham “Kit” Reynolds died on February 2, 2009, after a brief illness at his home in Invergordon, Scotland. He was in his eighty-second year.
Reynolds was born in Belfast on April 12, 1927. He started playing in the Belfast area in the 1940s, attracted to drumming along with his other hobbies of motorcycle riding and distance running. In 1942 he ran a mile in an astonishing 4 minutes 23 seconds – “on a war-time diet.” Belfast’s Sydenham Pipe Band and instruction from Jimmy Lawther elevated his drumming talents, and the Ballycoan Pipe Band further strengthened his career.
A serious motorcycle accident in 1949 put Kit Reynolds in hospital for the better part of the year, but he recovered to resume his drumming. He studied with the famous drummer Jock Seaton, and returned to the Ballycoan Pipe Band after living in London, England, from 1953-’56. He joined the famous Robert Armstrong Memorial Pipe Band in 1964, which proved to be extra fortuitous, as it put his talents in the crosshairs of the new leading drummer of the newly-formed Invergordon Distillery Pipe Band, one Alex Duthart.
Jimmy Hutton, Bert Barr, Tom MacKay, Reynolds and Duthart formed what is still regarded as possibly the finest side drum line ever. For the four seasons that the Invergordon project was subsidized by the distillery, Reynolds played shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the true greats of the drumming game.
He moved to the United States in 1967 to play with the City of Wilmington Pipe Band under Pipe-Major Roddy MacDonald, who had also recently immigrated after playing with Reynolds at Invergordon Distillery. Reynolds worked in the sheet-metal industry. While in the United States, Reynolds taught many drummers, and was well known and liked and admired for his readiness to impart his knowledge, always with a warm wit.
He died at home surrounded by his family. Kit Reynolds’ funeral is scheduled for Friday, February 6th, at the Church of Scotland in Invergordon.
On behalf of the piping and drumming world, we extend our sympathies to Kit Reynolds’ surviving family and his many friends.


  1. Jim Kilpatrick: There are so many stories about Kit, I wouldn’t know where to start. As a young boy, I often heard his name being mentioned in the Shotts drummers room. He was very well liked as a person and very well respected as a drummer. The first time I actually met Kit was when the Shotts band were travelling over to Toronto for the Scottish Tattoo and to play in the Intercontinental competition in 1973/74. We were on the flight along with the other 14 grade one bands and Alex introduced me to Kit. They both started trading jokes along with Bert Barr, he had everybody in fits of laughter. My thoughts go out to all of Kit’s friends and family. Jim Kilpatrick



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