The pipe organ in the Sudbury United Methodist Church has been designed as a broad spectrum service playing instrument. While adhering to no particular nationalistic school of tonal design, every effort has been made to maintain the careful balance of principal choruses exemplified in traditional German work, while leaning more to the robust and fiery tone colors epitomized in English and French work. Though never an ideal location, the chancel chamber installation has in the present instance yielded a good result through careful redesign with no impediment at the ceiling into the chancel. No other location was feasible in this case because of limitations of available space.
Mechanical design of the organ proved to be an enormous engineering challenge. Indeed, it was initially thought by many that an organ with mechanical key action would not be possible. Available space in the chamber and construction details of the basement and hall areas all presented limitations that required an unusual degree of creativity in the design. Some idea of this may be seen in the fact that the control system for the swell shades utilizes nearly ninety feet of cable and twenty-two aircraft control pulleys!
Although very much a new instrument, the organ does contain many parts recycled from older organs. Portions of the manual windchests and some pipework are from an 1871 Hall & Labagh organ built originally for Marquand Chapel, Princeton University and later in the chapel of the Bowery Mission in New York City. A substantial portion of the pipework is from a J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, believed to have been opus 73 of the firm, built for Christ Episcopal Church, Tarrytown, New York, and later in the auditorium of the Barlow School, Amenia, New York. Other builders whose pipework is represented include Hook & Hastings, Hutchings, Jardine, and Roosevelt. The only new pipes in the instrument are those of the facade and the Great Trumpet stop.
Tonal, visual and mechanical designs are by Richard S. Hedgebeth, head of the Stuart Organ Company, Aldenville, Massachusetts, builders of the organ. Assisting in the project were Kenneth Ahlberg, John Alberti, David Koziol, Christopher Lavoie, Randall Steere and Martin Walsh.
Recycled parts were relocated through the Organ Clearing House, Alan M. Laufman, Director.
The organ builders of the Stuart Organ Company worked closely with the organ committee of the Sudbury United Methodist Church under the leadership of its chairman, Paul Weiss, to produce this instrument.