October 12, 2012
We were singing the last note of Lauredson’s renowned O Magnum Mysterium when Sandra’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Beautiful job everyone,” she exclaimed, and proceeded with “well look who came to visit! What a special treat.” Most of us hadn’t met this man before, but little did we know, he was about to sweep us off our feet with his sharp mind and his appreciation of life’s charms. Weston Noble has been a proud part of the Luther community for 60 years. The artistry and discipline he infused into Nordic Choir is a large part of Luther’s proud legacy of choral music.
Weston zipped rather speedily down the aisle to address our choir. Before he spoke, his eyes skimmed through rows of singers to catch everyone’s glance, a boyish twinkle in his eye. Everyone held their breath awaiting his news: “I just have to tell you,” he paused, “how proud I am you for singing Whitacre’s piece so beautifully the other day. It just about brought tears to my eyes. I love Whitacre, but man, did you sell that piece. There are so many exposed spots in that piece, but you handled them all so sensitively and musically. Really well done.” I skimmed the room for peoples’ reactions: sheer flattery and appreciation overtook everyone’s body language. A compliment this glowing from Weston Noble!? We couldn’t have been prouder. He proceeded to shower us with more flattery:
“I am more proud of the music program than I have been in the 60 years I’ve been here. Every ensemble here sets such high standards for themselves, and the level of music-making that goes on here on a daily basis is unheard of. Travel to any other school and you won’t find it. You may find schools with stellar music programs, but all too often, they’re made up of cold, competitive environments. Luther is a place with such a wonderful sense of community. Without this, how could you work together to make the beautiful sounds you make when you perform? It is a magical place. And it all starts with Christmas at Luther. And with your beautiful souls…Just look at those eyes,” he said to smiling chorister.
Then he continued, “And I can’t think of a more beautiful place to be making this magic. Just go outside. This hot summer has given us the prettiest foliage the Midwest could ask for. If you have time, take a walk, and take it all in.”
Then he finished his speech: “These are the reasons I’m so attached to this place. I can’t make myself leave. This environment and the individuals that make up the Luther community are too beautiful to part with. So I stay, and raise money for pianos, for example. So far, we’ve made over $40,000.”
I think Weston touched all of our hearts that day. He certainly touched mine, as I walked out of choir in tears, realizing how lucky I was to wake up to this magical place every morning. It was a wonderful way to end the day, because I was having another hectic week, and feeling slightly sorry for all the things I had to do. But his words made me step away from my problems for a while and taste the reality of how lucky I am to wake up to this extraordinary place every morning.