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Sudds Parlor Organ

Click the image to magnify it.

Michael Hendron, Music Consultant for the Reed Organ Society, Inc., sent these links to performances of Professor Sudds’ compositions. We appreciate Mr. Hendron's interest in the Museum and in our collection of artifacts from the life of W.F. Sudds. If you would like to learn more about reed organs, visit the Reed Organ Society, Inc. online.

Three Roses Waltz, by W.F. Sudds
played on Karn Chapel Organ, performed by Michael Hendron

From Ocean to Ocean by W.F. Sudds
played on Karn Chapel Organ, performed by Michael Hendron

Andante, by W.F. Sudds
played on Berlin Parlor Organ, performed by Michael Hendron

Moonlight and Waves by W.F. Sudds
on a Cornwall Parlor Organ, performed by Michael Hendron

Everything in the museum has a story to tell. What story do these objects tell? The more we learn... the more questions we have. 

In the days before television and radio, day to day entertainment took many forms, often involving the ability to play musical instruments. There were many music teachers in North Country towns before the turn of the century. But Gouverneur had the very famous W.F. Sudds, who was a fine musician and composer. He taught music to several generations of local people and was a nationally known composer with over 200 pieces of sheet music in the Library of Congress.

William F. Sudds (1843-1920) was born in London, but moved to Gouverneur, New York with his family when he was seven. He served in the Civil War with the 11th Regiment, N. Y. Cavalry, distinguishing himself as a cornet player and as a composer. He later studied at the Boston Conservatory, and published several volumes of music that he composed or arranged for the American reed organ.


Professor Sudds had a music store in Gouverneur, and had his own line of parlor organs. His first composition was the "Soldiers' Funeral March," written for his cavalry band in 1864; he included it in his 1883 "Parlor Organ Treasury."


The instrument is a chapel-model reed organ built by the Karn Organ Co. in Woodstock, Ontario in 1910. It contains six ranks of reeds, and was restored and tuned by Rodney Jantzi. Recorded in concert during the biennial gathering of the Reed Organ Society, in the Grand Hall of the Woodstock Museum, 4 October 2013; performed by Michael Hendron.


Mrs. Sudds, formerly Elma Bond, 1841-1918

Elma lived her whole life in the house her father, Edwin Bond, built on West Barney Street. She graduated from Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary. The last three years of her life were spent in ill health. On the day of her death, she was reading a book in bed, got up, fell, and never regained consciousness. It was determined that she died of "acute indigestion."


Professor Sudds

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