William Graham “Kit” Reynolds is a vital link with pipe band drumming’s most formative years. At 74 years of age, he has heard all the greats, played with many of them, and is one himself.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 12, 1927, Kit Reynolds is small in stature. It’s often said that small men must either be tough or funny, and Kit Reynolds has clearly mastered both abilities. Armed with a gift for conversation, with a steady stream of anecdotes and quips, he’s quick-witted and engaging. Add to that the fact that he was an accomplished boxer, he could hold his own in any place from pub to pipe band.
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.
His frequent trips to the eastern United States has bolstered that area’s pipe band talent, as has his regular participation in workshops and clinics across North America.
Kit Reynolds is a vital link with drumming history. A tireless teacher and contributor to the art, a willing adjudicator with the RSPBA, a popular character in the pipe band world, his conversation is today as rapid fire as once were his wrists, his left jab, his motorcycle riding and his running.
He lives in the northern Scottish village of Invergordon with his wife Elizabeth (“Lily”), to whom he’s been married for 47 years. His three children and two stepchildren have produced “10 to 12” grandchildren, and now three great grandchildren.
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