Tim Reilly

Board Member (2013-2015)

I was born in East Lyme, CT, in August, 1963. I liked drums when I was younger and started taking drum lessons in 7th grade. My teacher, Rob Impelleterri, realized I was a very enthusiastic student. I went from basic rudiments to book studies and reading drum music. I was learning to read classical percussion charts and also drum set parts, so I was very saturated with my lessons. This was 2-3 years of study.


In high school I was in the marching band during fall and spring; concert band in winter. The awesome thing about East Lyme High School’s band in the 1970s-1980s was that everything was practiced, memorized, and produced a state champion and East Coast championship marching band.


I took that enthusiasm with me to community college by trying to write parts, going to see my younger brother, visiting our old drum instructor, Gary Ribchinsky, and trying to stay connected to it. While attending Central Connecticut State University, I drifted away and didn’t play much at all for a couple of years. I got a job at Mystic Seaport Museum in the fall of 1987. In the Spring of 1988, I heard the rhythm bones for the first time being played by Rick Spencer, a staff musician. I decided I wanted to really try to play that instrument and see what I could do with it. Tim Reilly


Tim is a gifted rhythm bones player and has taught advanced workshops at several Bones Fest.  An example is below.  He also does scrimshaw on rhythm bones and a sample is below as is a Scrimshaw Workshop.


Letter to the Editor – 2014. Here is a little blurb about the 38th voyage of the Charles W Morgan. I wore many hats during the voyage as a rigger who worked to rebuild the ship and make her sea worthy, as a sailor who represented the seaport staff as foreman on 5 legs of her 38th voyage, as interpretative staff, and as the only rhythm bones player on the ship. I made a set of rhythm bones while underway to ports such as Newport, New Bedford, and Stelwagen Banks. I met Jonathan Danforth during my New Bedford stint. Tim Reilly


Letter to the Editor – 2007. One of the graduates from my ‘Cindy’s Super School of Bones Playing & Etiquette’ was Tim Reilly. Riley thinks I’m the hottest player to come down the alley – an illusion which I hope he continues to hold! Although I do understand where that comes from.


Years ago, when I first met Tim he was newly-hired at Mystic, a struggling, intense, young man trying to hold his own among the seasoned chantey crew. His sincerity and humble nature  appealed to me, and when I heard he had been a drummer in high school, I suggested he learn to play rhythm bones – none of the other guys did at that time – and offered to teach him what I knew.


Of course, within 2 weeks the student had far surpassed the teacher – or rather, he blew me off the planet! But Tim was shy, and wouldn’t play in front of people. So at the Sea Music Festival that June, after much encouragement and coercion, we got him up on the stage to play a tune with us during our concert. When the music “got into him”, he just let loose with the most fantastic  rhythms and poly-rhythms you could ever imagine. The crowd went wild! I can still see the joy on his face – he was overwhelmed to the point of tears. He’d found his niche, and his place in the  chantey pack, and he loved how he felt when he played.


I think he associates me with all these good feelings; I gave him the key to the door to self expression, that is the basis of his adoration…not my playing. Yes, I showed him the basics, but more importantly I conveyed the advice and wisdom I’d been given by Percy Danforth: let rhythm bones be an extension of your body and dance! Tim, as you know, rocks out!  Cindy Peloquin, cindy@seasongs.net