Noble alumni choir returns to Decorah
Monday, July 29, 2013 9:18 AM
The Weston Noble Alumni Choir performed its seventh reunion concert at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 25, immediately following opening ceremonies for Nordic Fest.
Members of the Weston Noble Alumni Choir met all week for intense rehearsals under the direction of Weston Noble, and performed in concert Thursday evening, immediately following Nordic Fest opening ceremonies. (Photo by Julie Berg-Raymond)
Interview: Choir member’s family has a long history with Weston Noblew
Solveig Sperati Korte has been singing with the Weston Noble Alumni Choir since 2007. Her current position is President of the Board of the Weston Noble Alumni Choir. She spoke with Decorah Newspapers prior to the 2013 performance. -- Ed.
DN: What is your history with Weston Noble?
SSK: I sang in Nordic Choir my senior year at Luther - 1973-74. Of course, I knew who he was before that and the reputation of Nordic. My family has a long history with him - my great-grandfather was Carlo Sperati and Weston Noble played in the Luther Band under Carlo. During one year, he was Carlo's valet/assistant and one thing he had to do was locate Emma, Carlo's wife, in the audience and let Carlo know where she was sitting so he (Carlo) could acknowledge her.
What is the most gratifying thing about being in this choir?
First, the opportunity to sing again with Weston. Anyone can sing notes, rhythms and words but Mr. Noble brings the music and draws the music from the choir. Second, the fellowship and friendships of new and continuing participants. We range in age from 86 (not including Weston) to 30s. For some, this is their first year, others have been every year. It doesn't matter - we are bonded by our love of music and this experience.
Would you say something about the concert?
We are doing music from the late 16th century to compositions in the 2000s. One piece was composed recently by Greg Berg, one of the members - it's great. There are many different styles of music to be performed and there will be a special treat of three selections from "Les Mis." This year has the best blend of voices we have had and the audience will not be disappointed.
The concert, performed in the Luther College Center for Faith and Life, was free and open to the public.
The choir represents Luther classes from 1949 to 2001, and met for four days of intense rehearsals prior to the concert.
The Weston Noble Alumni Choir was formed in the summer of 2006 during a European concert tour led by Myron Heaton, director of the Myron Heaton Chorale, a professional choral ensemble headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev.
Heaton, a 1968 Luther graduate, invited Weston Noble to serve as guest conductor for his chorale's tour. To augment Heaton's ensemble, the two conductors invited Luther College Nordic Choir alumni to join the group.
The combined choir presented concerts over the course of three weeks in England, France and, finally, the Salzburg Music Festival in Austria.
The Luther contingent returned with a pledge to organize a similar activity annually beginning in 2007 to allow more Nordic Choir alumni to participate and share the experience of intense rehearsals under the direction of Weston Noble and culminating with a concert.
The Weston Noble Alumni Choir is now an annual summer event.
In addition to honorary doctoral degrees from Augustana College in South Dakota, St. Olaf College in Minnesota and Westminster Choir College of Rider University in New Jersey, Weston Noble was the first person named Outstanding Music Educator of the United States by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
He received the Citation of Merit Award from the University of Michigan School of Music Alumni and in 1994 was the first recipient of the Weston H. Noble Award for lifetime achievement from the North Central Division of the American Choral Directors Association.
He retired in 2005 after teaching 57 years at Luther College.