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 3: Tours: ProgramsAdd to your cart.
Box 10: 1941-1995Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Programs and Tours, 1941-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Programs and Tours, 1950-1959Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Programs and Tours, 1960-1963Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Programs and Tours, 1963-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Programs and Tours, 1970-1979Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Programs and Tours, 1980-1992Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Programs and Tours, 1993-1995Add to your cart.
Folder 8: LC Concert Band and Schola Cantorum Program and Nordic Cathedral Choir Itinerary and Program, 1947, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 9: LC Messiah Documents and CDs, 13 December 1960Add to your cart.
Box 10A: Misc. Papers and Programs, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Nordic Cathedral Choir, 1946-1970sAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: LC Concert Band, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Messiah Articles, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: High School Choral Clinic Concert Featuring Weston Noble, 1981Add to your cart.
Box 10B: "A Noble Celebration"Add to your cart.
Item 1: Guestbook, 1-3 May 1998Add to your cart.
Item 2: Honor Roll of DonorsAdd to your cart.
Item 3: Autographed Program, 1-3 May 1998Add to your cart.
Item 4: Program, 1-3 May 1998Add to your cart.
Box 11: 1996-2013, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Tours and Programs, 1996-1999Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Programs and Tours, 2000-2001Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Tours and Programs, 2002-2005Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Programs and Tours, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Nordic Choir 25th Anniversary Program, 17-18 October 1992Add to your cart.
Item 2: Nordic Choir Baltic Tour Info Folder, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 3: Nordic Cathedral Choir 50 Year Reunion Program, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Programs, 2007 - 2013Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Programs, 2009Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Programs, 2009 - 2011Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Tour Intinerary, 2008 - 2009Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Weston Noble Choir European Tour, 2010Add to your cart.
Box 11A: Photographs Misc., undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: February 1999Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Misc. Photos, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 2: Misc. Photos, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Owasonna MN, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 3: Retirement Newspaper Clipping, 2005Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Band Tour, 1948-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Asia Tour, 1998Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Norway, New Orleans, 2000Add to your cart.
Folder 6: (untitled), 1986Add to your cart.
Folder 7: International Federation of Choral Music, 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 8: University of IllinoisAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Mormon Tabernacle Guest ConductingAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Lutheran Brotherhood Christmas ConcertAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Estonia, 1991Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Colorado All-State Female Choir, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: AmericaFest, 2000Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Choral Symposium Missouri, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Wisconsin All-State, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Michigan State Fair, 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Misc. Tour, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: State Honor Choir - Mississippi, 1987Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Syracuse University, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Soviet Union Tour, 1988Add to your cart.
Item 4: High School PhotoAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: Misc. Black and White Portrait PhotosAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: Russia Tour, 1997-1998Add to your cart.
Folder 23: West Coast Tour, 2001Add to your cart.
Item 5: Portrait Photo, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 24: A Noble CelebrationAdd to your cart.
Folder 25: Nordic Tour, 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 26: 75th Birthday, 1997Add to your cart.
Folder 27: San Diego for Robert Shaw Workshop, 1959Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Texas Tour, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Misc., 1970sAdd to your cart.
Folder 30: Misc., undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 31: Central ACDA ConferenceAdd to your cart.
Folder 32: Car Accident, 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Jenson-Noble Music BuildingAdd to your cart.
Folder 34: Northern Europe Tour, Florida Reception, 2003Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Misc. Weston with __, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 36: Norsemen Quartet, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 37: 50th at Lincoln Center, Wittenberg Award, 1998-1999Add to your cart.
Folder 38: Eastern Europe Tour, 1994Add to your cart.
Folder 39: Decorah Noble Houses, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 40: Messiah Yuletide, 1955, 1975, 1983, 1997Add to your cart.
Item 6: Card from Dagny Vaswig, October 23, 2003Add to your cart.
Item 7: Portrait-on-a-stick, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 12: Tours: Gifts, 1969, 1972, 1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Tours: Gifts, 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Tours: Gifts, 1972-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Tours: "Nordic Choir Through 50 Years" by Weston Noble, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Tours: Gifts, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: 2nd International University Choral Festival, Universidad Tecnica del Estado, Chile Repertoire, March 13-31, 1969Add to your cart.
Box 48: Programs, 1950-2005Add to your cart.
Folder 1: 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.

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]