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 9: RealiaAdd to your cart.
Box 32: undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: IMEA Honor Performance Plaque, 1982Add to your cart.
Item 2: S.S. Stavangerfjord Ribbon, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 3: Lutheran Summer Music Festival Plaque, 1996Add to your cart.
Item 4: Community Leaders and Noteworth Americans Plaque, 1976-1977Add to your cart.
Item 5: ACDA Convention Plaque, 6-8 March 1980Add to your cart.
Item 6: Honefoss Collector's Spoon, 1961Add to your cart.
Item 7: Pins from tour, 1961Add to your cart.
Item 8: Whistle, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 33: undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Norway-shaped bottle-opener, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 2: Music Lovers Quotations Book, June 1998Add to your cart.
Item 3: If book, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 4: WWII patch and medal, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 5: Czech Republic flag, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 6: Bergen ribbon, 1972Add to your cart.
Item 7: U.S. Army plaque, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 8: Norwegian airport plate, September 1964Add to your cart.
Item 9: Hotel Atlantic, Norway, plate, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 10: Floro decorative spoon, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 34: undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Texas All-State Patch, 1971Add to your cart.
Item 2: Is this Heaven? Decorah bumper sticker, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 3: Jerusalem pendant, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 4: Nordic Choir Bowl T-Shirt, February 2004Add to your cart.
Item 5: Norwegian American Line Passage Contract, May 1961Add to your cart.
Item 6: World Who's Who Hall of Fame Book, 1999Add to your cart.
Item 7: Unidentified patch with image of western hemisphere and letters B,A,A, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 8: Wagner International University Choral Festival pendant, 1969Add to your cart.
Box 35: undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: South Dakota Honors Choir T-Shirt, 1996Add to your cart.
Item 2: Weston Noble's Passport, 1972-1977Add to your cart.
Item 3: Weston Noble's Passport, 1967Add to your cart.
Item 4: International Music Festival Pin, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 5: Bridges of Song Festival ID Badge, 1991Add to your cart.
Item 6: War Ribbons and Pins, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 7: Honor Band Plaque, 1962Add to your cart.
Item 8: All-State Band N.Y. Plaque, December 1972Add to your cart.
Item 9: In a Dark Wood: Journeys of Faith and Doubt Book, 2003Add to your cart.
Box 36Add to your cart.
Item 1: Banner from U.S. Army, Ft. Knos, KY, with pins, 1943Add to your cart.
Box 37: WWII Banners, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Choir Memories of 1949 book, 1949Add to your cart.
Item 2: Unidentified banner, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 38: Lanyards and Name Tags, 1976, 2008 - 2012, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Festival of Gold National Invitational Choral Festival, 2007Add to your cart.
Item 2: Western Divison Conference Collegiate Honor Choir Conductor, 2010Add to your cart.
Item 3: Lowell Mason Fellow, 2012Add to your cart.
Item 4: Wartburg College, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 5: World Projects Washington DC Choral Festival, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 6: American Choral Directors Association National Conference, 2011Add to your cart.
Item 7: Midwest Children's Choir Festival, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 8: Iowa Music Educators Association, 2010Add to your cart.
Item 9: Dr. Weston Noble Name Tag, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 10: Ohio Choral Director's Association Summer Conference, 2009Add to your cart.
Item 11: Pacific Summer Music Festival Button, 2009Add to your cart.
Item 12: TMEA All-State San Antonio Patch, 1976Add to your cart.
Item 13: Smoky Mountain Music Festival Judge Badge, 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]