July 1, 2009
Reunion choir highlights Noble collaborations
Collaborations old and new will be celebrated at the 2009 reunion of the Weston Noble Alumni Choir, July 19-24 on the campus of Luther College.
More than 60 alumni of the choirs of Luther College will gather on the Luther campus for the third Weston Noble Alumni Choir reunion, culminating in a gala concert Friday, July 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Luther Center for Faith and Life.
The Weston Noble Alumni Choir, an ensemble of alumni singers representing Luther classes from 1949 to 2005, will rehearse and perform under the direction of Noble, Luther professor emeritus of music and internationally known music educator and conductor. Singers from throughout the United States and from foreign countries will take part in the reunion.
A highlight of this year's concert will be a performance of "Let the People Praise Thee" by Maury Monhardt, composer and Luther professor emeritus of music. Noble's choirs premiered many of Monhardt's works during the professor's four decades together on the Luther faculty, a collaboration that stands out in the memories of singers and audiences.
Monhardt served on the Luther faculty from 1959 to 1995. Among his other best-known compositions for the Luther College Nordic Choir are "Tryptich" and "Psalm No.47."
In recognition of a more recent collaboration, the concert program will also feature "Amazing Grace" arranged by Greg Berg, Luther class of 1982, now on the faculty of Carthage College; Noble led the Carthage Choir during the 2007-2008 academic year. Berg is to join with the choir for this concert, and Monhardt will be a special guest.
The July program also includes music from South Africa and Mongolia and works by American contemporary composers Z. Randall Stroope and Eric Whitacre. The concert will close with Noble's vocal ensembles' signature piece "O Lord God" by Russian conductor and composer Pavel Tschesnokoff.
The concert is open to the public with no charge for admission.
Noble and Luther alumni choir members will spend the week preceding the July 24 concert in rehearsals and social events. Most other college alumni choirs are permanent performing ensembles or ad hoc groups gathered for a brief reunion weekend and the presentation of one or two pieces on a larger concert. The intense rehearsal period and the presentation of a full-length concert set the Weston Noble Alumni Choir apart and create a unique musical experience for participants and audiences alike.
The reunion choir was formed in the summer of 2006 when Myron Heaton, a 1968 graduate of Luther and director of the Myron Heaton Chorale of Las Vegas, invited Noble to serve as guest conductor for the chorale's concert tour of Europe. To augment Heaton's ensemble, the two conductors invited Luther College Nordic Choir alumni to join the tour.
The combined choir of more than 50 voices presented concerts in England, France and Austria. The Luther singers returned from the tour with a pledge to organize a similar activity for Luther choral alumni for 2007. The success of that reunion motivated the group to make it an annual event.
Alumni can register for the event at website http://www.westonnoblealumnichoir.org. The website has photos and remembrances of previous reunion events and provides complete information and contacts for registration, housing, fees and event schedule.