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With a direct lineage dating back to the 1860s, Drummers Service keeps alive an inspiring tradition of superb craftsmanship, innovation and unsurpassed quality of sound.
Entwined strands of musical history combine to create this strong and unique tradition. The Soistman family made drums and sticks for the Union Army during the Civil War, establishing a business that prospered during decades of American peace. Charles “Buck” Soistman operated “The Rolling Drum Shop,” as the family’s Maryland-based business was known, well into the 1970s.
Around the turn of the century, in upstate New York, Sanford “Gus” Moeller made custom drums and performed prolifically – in everything from fife-and-drum corps to vaudeville to Broadway shows. He was especially renowned as a gifted teacher and author. His business was passed on to Buck Soistman by the mid-20th century, as was the drumstick-making business of Michael Healy, the creator of many special and enduring stick designs.
Meanwhile in Philadelphia, the teenaged William “Bill” Reamer studied with and apprenticed under Charles S. Walton at “Drummers Service,” a venerable drum-making and repair shop. On the eve of the Second World War, young Bill won the first of several national snare-drum championships sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. After his Army service as a musician in the Pacific theater, Reamer spent years teaching the American Ancients’ style of rudimental drumming. He taught many award-winning drummers and drumlines and was a founder of the Independence Fife and Drum Corps. During this time he met and made a lifelong friend in Buck Soistman.
When Soistman died in 1975, his widow Marie passed the Soistman family business directly to Bill Reamer to fulfill her late husband’s wishes. Bill enriched this legacy with the artistry he’d learned decades before at Walton’s side. These distinct but complimentary traditions have been woven together to form the unique heritage of “Drummers Service.”
Today Andrew L. Reamer, Bill’s son, carries forward this legacy of handcrafted excellence. In the tradition of the performers and teachers who came before him, Reamer is Principal Percussion of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Chair of the Percussion Department at Duquesne University’s Pappert School of Music. Drummers Service remains dedicated to creating heirloom quality instruments with the unique sound and subtle refinements gleaned from 150 years of drum making and playing.