the nest

the nest

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Rest in peace good and faithful servant.

Yesterday the world lost one of it's brightest lights. Not completely unexpected. When someone is 94 and has lived a full life, there is also a sense of celebration and thankfulness. Still, the news that Weston Noble passed away fills so many of us with sorrow.
Weston Noble. Director, mentor, teacher, guide, friend, guru, angel. The words to describe this great man go on and on. I've been reading the FB posts of so many friends and classmates who have been touched by his gentle soul. They have refreshed me. They have made me smile, laugh and cry. Sometimes all at the same time. The stories encompass musical moments, quiet conversations, teaching moments, and jokes. Mr. Noble was one of those special people who had the ability to make each of us feel as if we were the most important and loved person at that moment. Watching him conduct, was sometimes like looking at the face of God. You could not look away!
Many will talk of his skill as a conductor and teacher. The number of chorale conductors and music teachers, both professional and volunteer, that he has inspired and nurtured is truly mind boggling.
His faith in and love for God will also be mentioned. He spoke honestly and openly about his faith and his doubts - modeling for many of us how to do the same in an authentic way.
Many stories have recounted an individuals first interaction with Mr. Noble. A phone call as a prospective student. A personal postcard in the mail from THE Weston Noble. Singing for him as a H.S. student in a festival. The list goes on and on. No matter who you were he made you feel so special! As someone who was often mistaken for my sisters, the fact that he knew ME and cherished ME as one of his own was such powerful reinforcement of my worth as an individual.
I don't remember the first time I met him. He has always been in my life. My parents spoke of him often and we were introduced to the world of music at Luther College early on. I was not going to go to Luther. I wanted to strike out on my own rather than following in my sister's footsteps. In the end I only applied to Luther. I'm certain that my postcard from Weston and the desire to sing with him in Nordic outweighed any wish I had to find my own way.
Singing in Nordic Choir was like no other experience I had ever had or ever will have since. Every afternoon, 5 days a week, for 3 years, I would go with my peers to sing. But it wasn't just singing! Those hours were filled with prayer and meditation, laughter and joy. While we were perfecting notes, rhythms and dynamics, we were praising God and sending love into the world. I sporadically attending church through college, mostly because every afternoon I felt closer to God than I ever had. I was in "church" everyday!
We were introduced to Mountain Top experiences - those musical moments when you felt as if you were going to burst! The concerts (and even rehearsals) where so many of us cried as we sang were many. The emotion that Weston drew from us was as powerful as the music.
For many years after I graduated I was afraid to sing in another chorale - I was certain it would never be the same and it was as if those days were over. The days of Nordic were over, but the desire to sing again and create musical magic with others was strong. While the experiences of Nordic were so special and unique, singing again with others continues to bring me such joy! When we sing a piece I learned in my college years, the memories are sweet and every note is locked away in my memory ready to be shared again.
So much of what I learned about music, I learned from Weston, but more than that, I learned about love, faith, humility and kindness. I learned about quietly caring for the earth and it's people. This giant in the chorale world was also a humble servant. From picking up trash around campus, to quietly listening to and advising student after student about music, life, love, God, and on and on. The greatest lesson I learned from this man was two-fold - I was both the most important AND the least important person in the world. I was loved and cherished as an individual among a crowd of individuals who were equally loved and cherished - ALL of them regardless of color, gender, orientation, religion.
Thank you dear man and may your journey continue to be filled with joy as you lead the heavenly choirs of angels. May we do our best to take the lessons we've learned from you to bring joy, love, kindness, humility and music to the world.


  1. Jill (Larson) CowanDecember 22, 2016 at 5:56 AM

    Beautifully said Jane! Couldn't have said it better - and I remember that feeling of not wanting to sing in another choir after Nordic! He will be in my heart and memories forever.

  2. Perfect words, Jane. Thanks for sharing!