The Papers of Weston Noble, 1939 | Luther College Archives

Collection Overview

Title: The Papers of Weston Noble, 1939Add to your cart.

ID: LCA/RG15/Noble, W

Primary Creator: Noble, Weston (1922-2016)

Extent: 29.3 Linear Feet. More info below.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The life and work of Weston Noble is documented here through correspondence, tour information, press clippings, scrap books and related material. Included in the collection are four dissertations related to Noble.

Biographical Note

Weston Henry Noble was born to Merwin and Ruth (Lappin) Noble on November 30, 1922, in Riceville, Iowa.  He grew up on a small family farm with his six siblings:  Harlan, Russell, Lowell, Dale, and twins, Joe and Jo Ann.  At age 5 he began taking piano lessons.

Noble began his Luther education in 1939, and was teased by his peers for being so young when he first arrived.   While at Luther, he was very active in the music program.  He was a member of both Concert Band and Schola Cantorum.  He wanted to pursue a career in music education, and this became his major.  According to requirements at Luther at the time, music education was not considered an academic program, so Noble had to choose a second major.  He decided on history and became a double major.  In 1943, the year Noble was scheduled to graduate, World War II was well underway.  In response, Weston decided he would join the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps.  However, he was called to start training before his Luther graduation date.  He was not alone in this predicament since there were four other Luther men who also faced the same dilemma.  As a result, Luther made arrangements for Noble and the other students to complete their graduation requirements early in the spring, allowing them to both receive their degrees from Luther and carry out their duties to the Army.

As a member of the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps, Noble was first sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he was assigned to the armored (tank) corps.  He didn’t find this particularly pleasing.  After his stay in Fort Knox, Noble received further training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  He then became part of the 750th Tank Battalion, and was sent to Europe.  While in Europe, Noble was stationed for various periods of time in England, France, Belgium and Germany.

Upon his return to the United States in 1946, Noble debated the possibility of pursuing a graduate degree in music.  At the last minute, he decided to postpone his further education and turned to teaching high school music.  He received a job at the high school in LuVerne, Iowa, and began teaching there in the fall of 1946.  He spent two years at LuVerne before joining the Luther faculty on a “temporary” basis in 1948.

The summer before Noble returned to Luther, he began his graduate studies at the University of Michigan.  In the fall, Noble was asked if he would fill in for one year until a replacement was found for a recently resigned member of the music faculty.  He agreed, and again put his graduate studies on hold. Although it was not planned, he ended up directing both the Concert Band and the Nordic Cathedral Choir, as well as teaching music classes that first year.  Because of his success in these endeavors, Noble was asked to stay another year, thus beginning his legacy at Luther College.  He attended 9 years of summer school classes at the University of Michigan, 1947-1955, and completed his master’s degree there in 1951.

Noble’s influence on music at Luther has been profound.  In 1950, he began the Dorian Music Festival with the intent of using it to recruit additional students to Luther College.  In 1953, he received an offer to teach at Butler University, with the promise of leading a number of musical groups there.  Presumably in order to entice him into staying at Luther, Noble received a counter offer which made him the head of the music department at Luther.  After just four years of teaching at Luther and at the young age of 31, he became head of the department, effective in September, 1953. In 1973, Noble also received the title of “Director of Musical Activities.”  In 1973, at age 51, he gave up direction of the Concert Band and turned all of his attention to Nordic Choir.  Noble is perhaps best known for his conducting of Handel’s Messiah.  He has had the honor of directing this production since his first year at Luther College in 1948.

By 1965, Noble began to be bothered by the amount of litter on the Luther College campus.  By 1982 he was devoted to picking up campus trash.  He has become well-known for his dedication to keeping up the campus grounds.

Noble has received numerous honors over the course of his years at Luther.  Among the most notable are:  Carlo A. Sperati Award in 1961; Honorary Doctor of the Arts Degree from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1971; first to be named Outstanding Music Educator of the United States in 1989; first recipient of the Weston H. Noble Award in 1994; and Honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Arts from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota in 1996.

In 1998, a biography of Weston Noble was published.  Warmly, Weston:  A Luther College Life,  was written by Wilfred F. Bunge of the Luther College Religion Department.  This complete biography can be found in the main stacks in Preus Library.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical, 1942,1952, 1963-1976, 1980, undated],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Tours: Programs],
[Series 4: Guest Conducting/Lecturing],
[Series 5: Awards/Honorary Degrees],
[Series 6: Writings by],
[Series 7: Writings About/ Dissertations],
[Series 8: Photographs],
[Series 9: Realia],
[Series 10: Audio Visual],
[Series 11: Yearbooks],
[Series 12: Scrapbooks],
[Series 13: Scores],
[Series 14: Oversized],
[Series 15: Personal Files, 1998-2005],
[Series 16: Office Files, 1948-2013],
[All]

Series 16: Office Files, 1948-2013Add to your cart.
Files kept in Noble's office until late 2016. Files primarily derived from ACC 2017-034.
Box 48: Programs, 1950-2005Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Luther College Concert Band Programs, 1961-1972Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Messiah Programs, 1950-1987Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Messiah and Juletide Programs, 1988-2000Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Nordic Programs, 1957-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Nordic Programs, 1983-1999Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Nordic Programs, 2000-2005Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Programs, 1962-1981Add to your cart.
Box 49: Lectures and Writings, 1948-2013Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Alumni Luncheon Talk and Scores, 2009Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Assorted Lectures, n.d.Add to your cart.
Includes copies of lectures "Feeling Function - The Shadow and the Choir Director"; "Music and Your Spirit"; "Emotions (Particularly Depression) and the Choir Director"; "The Conductor and His/Her Craft"; "Bring the Special World Into Reality"; and talk given at ICDA.
Folder 3: Assorted Lectures, 2000-2002Add to your cart.
Includes copies of lectures "Discovering the Spirit in the Music (Minnesota ACDA Convention); "Choral Sytel Versus the Single-Sound Chorus"; "Criteria for the Selection of Vocal Music at the High School Level"; "The Total Conductor"; "The Affinity Between the Conductor's Spirit and the Spirit of Music"; and talks given at the ICDA, World Choral Symposium, AmericaFest Grand Festival Concerts, and ACDA Eastern Division.
Folder 4: Assorted Lectures, n.d.Add to your cart.
Includes copies of lectures "The Choral Conductor and His Choices"; "Tribute to Elaine Brown"; "Adults in Formation"; "Musicianship in Music Education"; and "Teaching Musicianship in High School Performing Groups."
Folder 5: Assorted Lectures, 2000-2006Add to your cart.
Includes copy of lecture "Choral Music: Past, Present, Future"; talks given at ICDA and Minnesota's ACDA; a talk on Christian sharing; and correspondence on the nature of Ego.
Folder 6: Assorted Lectures and Notes, n.d.Add to your cart.
Includes copies of lectures and essays "Three Methods of Teaching"' and "The Conductor's Spirit."
Folder 7: Award Speeches, 1992-2014Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Book Project: The Total Conductor, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Bring the Special World into Reality, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Building Beautiful Tone in a Choir I, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Building Choral Tone: Rhythm, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Building Choral Tone in a Choir: Consonants, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Building Choral Tone in a Choir, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Choral Techniques, 1973-1993Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Choir Techniques: Auditions and Seating Arrangements, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Conference Wausau, 1963-1996Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Continuation #2, 2010Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Does it Dance? Stylistic Awareness from Polyphany to the Classical Period, 1995-2003Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Faith Talks (1 of 2), 1983-2002Add to your cart.
Includes copies of lectures "The Journey of Desire"; "Encircled by Love"; "If You Have Faith as a Grain of Mustard Seed"; "Personal Renewal"; "Focus Speech - Fear"; "Gloria Dei Homily"; "The Kingdom - Both Difficult and Beautiful"; "Jesus's Sayings Revisited"; "Hearing from God"; "The Musician's Gift of the Spirit"; and "Sing a New Song in a Strange Land."
Folder 20: Faith Talks, 1975-2002Add to your cart.
Includes copies of lectures "Last Lecture Series"; "A Christmas Meditation"; "The Christian and God's Will"; "Music and Your Spirit"; "Founders Day Address at California Lutheran University"; "Draft of a Memorial Day Address"; and assorted chapel and alumni talks.
Folder 21: Final Research Paper - Geoffrey Boers, 1985Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Further Aids to Special World/Psychology in Rehearsing a Music Group, 1982-1984Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Heritage Club Speech, 1996Add to your cart.
Folder 24: History of Choral Music, 1948-2000Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Interpretation, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 26: Latin Pronunciation, 1979 - 1989Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Lecture Notes - Music Ministry, 1986Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Lecture #1, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 29: Lecture #2, 1984 - 1992Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Lecture #2A - Personality Types, 1999 - 2000Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Lecture #3, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 32: Lecture #3A, 1998Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Lecture #4A, 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Lecture #4B All Music Must Dance, 1964 - 2000Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Lecture #4C Band Related Lectures, 1952 - 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 36: Lecture #5, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 37: Messiah Lecture Material, 2010 - 2013Add to your cart.
Folder 38: Music and your Spirit/Music and the Human Spirit, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Box 50: Lectures and Writings, 1978-2008Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Music History Chapters, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Musicianship in M.E., UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Rehearsal Psychology Lecture Rewrite, 1982Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Research and Assorted Lectures, 2003 - 2008Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Southwest Division "Creating a Special World" Presentation, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: The Two Edged Sword, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Vowels, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Building Beautiful Voices, 1995Add to your cart.
Item 2: Creating the Special World, 2005Add to your cart.
Item 3: Creating the Special World, 2005Add to your cart.
Box 51: Luther College Music, News Clippings, Scores, 1951-2006Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Choral Perspectives DVD amd Order Form, 2006Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Letters from Eastern Europe: Nordic Choir Tour 1997 by Glen Darling, 1997 - 1998Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Luther Field Song, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Luther Scores in Opera News, 2006Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Music Majors and Graduates, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: News Clippings, 1990 - 1999Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Nordic Choir Ivy Cutting, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Prospective Students, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Robert Shaw File, 1986 - 1993Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Scores Dedicated to Weston, UndatedAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical, 1942,1952, 1963-1976, 1980, undated],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Tours: Programs],
[Series 4: Guest Conducting/Lecturing],
[Series 5: Awards/Honorary Degrees],
[Series 6: Writings by],
[Series 7: Writings About/ Dissertations],
[Series 8: Photographs],
[Series 9: Realia],
[Series 10: Audio Visual],
[Series 11: Yearbooks],
[Series 12: Scrapbooks],
[Series 13: Scores],
[Series 14: Oversized],
[Series 15: Personal Files, 1998-2005],
[Series 16: Office Files, 1948-2013],
[All]