Robert Kitts

2015 Jun

Robert-KittsRobert Kitts was born in his family home on the South Branch Road in Glengarry County in 1936. He began his piping career in 1951 at the age of fifteen; he lied about his age and joined the militia of the SD&G Highlanders. Shortly after joining, he started to learn to play the pipes. His first instructor was Jerry Walsh. In 1955, Bob joined the regular force where his Pipe Major was the legendary Archie Cairns. Not only did he play the pipes with the Guards, but he was also part of the Highland Dance Team; in those days, it was common that the Highland dances were performed by men.

After leaving the army, Bob continued to pipe with the Optimist Club Pipe Band, the Auxiliary Police (OPP) Pipe Band and the Cornwall Legion Pipe Band. His talents and leadership abilities were evident and he became the Pipe Major of each of these bands.

In 1967, Bob joined the SD&G Highlanders as Pipe Major and served with them until his retirement in 1991. It was during these years that Pipe Major Kitts contributed significantly to the Celtic music tradition and culture of Glengarry. He served as Pipe Major of the Lancaster Legion Pipes and Drums from its inception; the name was changed to the South Glengarry Pipe Band and Bob remained with them until approximately 2005. During his tenure as PM, the Band played at countless parades, fairs and celebrations throughout Glengarry and abroad. In 2004, the South Glengarry Pipe Band joined the Massed Ontario Legion Pipe Band for a tour of Scotland where, led by PM Kitts, it played in a number of parades and performances including a show for the Queen at Balmoral Castle. Bob played in the Glengarry Highland Games for many years and has had the privilege and honour to have led his banks onto the infield for the opening of the Games with the SD&G Highlanders and the South Glengarry Pipe Band.

During his long career, Pipe Major Kitts also volunteered his time and talent teaching numerous pipers. His easy going personality and talent along with his unselfish devotion to the perpetuation of traditional pipe music has encouraged many people, young and old, to take up the pipes.