William F. Sudds (1843-1920) was born in London, England. When he was seven, the family moved across the Atlantic and settled on a farm in Gouverneur, New York. By age fifteen, he had taught himself the violin, cello, guitar and cornet. He also took advantage of an offer to use a friend’s piano, although it meant a three-mile walk after his day’s work. Enlisting in the Civil War, he was ordered to report as a musician and eventually became a bandmaster. He arranged and composed many pieces for the band. During the later part of the war, he took his first piano lessons from a French woman in New Orleans. After the war, he trained at the Boston Conservatory of Music. He returned to Gouverneur and established himself as a teacher, composer and music publisher. He directed choruses and orchestras for local events and was the director of the Choral Union of Gouverneur. His compositions include orchestral works, pieces for piano, church music, songs and part-songs. He published many method books and instructional collections including the “Modern Method for the Reed Organ.” His music and writings gained great recognition throughout the country. That popularity was manifest by the appearance of a riddle in the “Youth’s Companion” magazine: “What composer is found in every washtub?”
All are mixed chorus unless noted; some contain divisi.