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 10: Audio VisualAdd to your cart.
Box 38: Video TapesAdd to your cart.
Item 1: TMEA 1995 Convention VHS, 1995Add to your cart.
Item 2: University of Michigan, School of Music, Alumni Awards VHS, 22 October 1993Add to your cart.
Item 3: Nordic 1967 Europe Tour VHS, 1967Add to your cart.
Item 4: "Music and the Spoken Word" VHS, November 1998Add to your cart.
Item 5: Guam Fest VHS, June 2004Add to your cart.
Item 6: Rapid City NCACDA award VHS, 2-5 March 1994Add to your cart.
Box 39: Realia - License Plate 921 EBC, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Iowa License Plate 921 EBC, 2002Add to your cart.
Box 40: Cassettes, CDs, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: A Gift of Music CD, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 2: Prof. Noble Celebration CD, 16 April 2005Add to your cart.
Item 3: Weston Noble Dinner CD, 15 April 2005Add to your cart.
Item 4: 44th Annual Iowa All-State Festival Concert VHS, 10 November 1990Add to your cart.
Item 5: Sounds of Summer VHS, 1996Add to your cart.
Item 6: Rollie Dain cassette, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 7: Weston Noble Documentary cassette, 1997Add to your cart.
Item 8: Weston (Bob) cassette, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 9: Singing in the Choir, 4 December 1997Add to your cart.
Item 10: Salzberg concert etc. cassette from Oslo, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 11: God's Most Amazing Adventure Cassette, 26 October 1997Add to your cart.
Item 12: Interview with Pip Qually, August 1984Add to your cart.
Item 13: Mountains of Good News/Christmas Music cassette, December 1993Add to your cart.
Item 14: Resource cassettes description, December 1993Add to your cart.
Box 41: DVDs and CDs, 1959, 2007 - 2010Add to your cart.
Item 1: All City High School Honor Concert DVD, 2007Add to your cart.
Item 2: Weston Noble Alumni Choir Reunion Concert DVD, 2007Add to your cart.
Item 3: Weston Noble Midwest Clinic CD, 2008Add to your cart.
Item 4: Weston Noble Alumni Choir DVD, 2008Add to your cart.
Item 5: Luther College Concert Band and Nordic Choir CD, 1959Add to your cart.
Item 6: Carthage Choir One Faith, One Hope, One Lord CD, 2008Add to your cart.
Item 7: Wartburg 1 of 2 CD, 2009Add to your cart.
Item 8: Wartburg 2 of 2 CD, 2009Add to your cart.
Item 9: St. Olaf College Chapel Service CD, 2010Add to your cart.
Item 10: Weston Noble at WOW Sharing Handel's Messiah DVD, 2010Add to your cart.
Item 11: WWII with Weston Noble, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 12: Handel's Messiah CD, 2010Add to your cart.
Item 13: Midwest Band Clinic Medal of Honor CD, 2008Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Messiah CD, 2008Add to your cart.
Item 15: Weston Noble Profile by Natalie Tendall, 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]