History

 

 

Reynolds Associates is a company that began nearly forty years ago, with the renovation of a municipal pipe organ in Marion, IN. But the story actually begins long before that...Thad Butler in about 1900.Thad Butler in about 1900.

 

Thad and David Reynolds are the latest businessmen in a family whose entrepreneurial interests have centered on musical instruments for over 120 years. Thad's great-grandfather, Thad Butler, manufactured pianos and parlor reed organs in central Indiana before the turn of the twentieth century. In a converted carriage shop, Butler started the Butler Music Company, a retail music store that prospered for over a century. 

 

Thad Butler's son, Edwin (Thad's grandfather) was President of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), early in the twentieth century, and the music business was a community fixture through four generations of the Butler family. Exposed to this family of musicians and music merchants, it was probably inevitable that Thad Butler Reynolds would be drawn to the world of music.

 

Thad Reynolds at the Coliseum organ in 1974.Thad Reynolds at the Coliseum organ in 1974.

Thad's first project - his baptism of fire - happened while he was still a student at Ball State University, when he tackled the restoration of the C.G. Barley Memorial Organ in Marion's Memorial Coliseum.  This magnificent three-manual Estey organ (#2727) had been silent for over a decade because the cost to repair it had been estimated at $75,000.  It took Thad nearly a year of volunteer time to get the old instrument playing again, at a total cost of $28.  Following newspaper and television reports in the local and Indianapolis media, his new business was launched, slowly at first, but with ever-increasing momentum.  By the way, the Coliseum organ continued to play for thirty years (on its original leather!), until the building was remodeled and repurposed.  But the great organ is still there, waiting for Thad an David to rebuild it again!

 

By the time David Reynolds was old enough to hold a screwdriver, it was clear that he, too, would be a talented organ builder.  Eventually, the father and son team became a business partnership.

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