In the News: Conductor Weston Noble Has a 'Heart for the Students'
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Meet legendary music educator Weston Noble, guest conductor of The Augustana Choir.
A highly accomplished and honored American music educator and conductor, Noble had a 57-year tenure as a conductor and teacher at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He received national and international acclaim as conductor of the Luther College Nordic Choir from 1948 to 2005, the Luther College Concert Band from 1948 to 1973, and as guest director for over 900 All-State bands, orchestras, choirs, and festivals across four continents.
He holds five honorary doctorate degrees: Augustana College, St. Olaf College, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Carthage College and Wartburg College. He was awarded the St. Olav’s Medal from King Harald V of Norway for his contributions to Norwegian-American relations.
The following story about Noble aired on KDLT-TV on Wednesday, Sept. 21:
Some hope to change just one life in their time on earth. One man hopes to accomplish that goal through music; and at almost 90 years old, Weston Noble has been doing it by directing for over half of his life.
Noble has conducted more than 800 music festivals and is the only director to be invited to conduct All-State music groups in all three medias of band, choir and orchestra in the United States.
"In music that is one of the great ways of feeding our spirits,” said Noble.
Weston Noble has been feeding students' spirits through his direction of music for 63 years; 57 of which were spent directing at his alma mater, Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Now, he stands in front of the Augustana Choir; a place he says feels like home.
"It's just striking. It’s like being in continuation of what you've done all of your life; in the same setting and for the same reason, which is to see to it that this really changes the life of student.”
But it's not just the students he is teaching. Fellow music faculty also marvel at Noble's talents.
"To take on something like this at 90 is incredible,” said Russell Svenningsen, director of the college’s Collegiate Chorale. “His energy amazes me; his passion. And he has such a heart for the students.”
Noble technically retired after leaving Luther in 2005, but he says it's the feeling he gets while directing that keeps him going.
"After one of our best rehearsal days I stopped and I said 'Can you see why I can never stop? What could top this?,’ said Noble. "You can certainly remember when you had tears in your eyes; goose bumps. Joy rushes. Whatever you want to call it. Those experiences are very strong. And they are so powerful that they will take two brain cells and join them together. I want the members of our choirs to have as many brain cells joined together as possible.”
Noble continues to show off his youthful spirit while students learn from a man who has been called one of the greatest icons in choral music.
"Why shouldn't I want more than anything else, and I'm not being dramatic now, to change a life,” said Noble.
Changing lives through music one choir at time.
Noble received an honorary doctoral degree from Augustana 40 years ago.
Noble will only be directing the Augustana Choir for one semester and says this may be his last guest conductor appearance.