Korea continues to surprise me. And this week, it was in the form of getting to meet a piece of Americana here in Seoul.
I would learn that Weston Noble is kind of legendary (and as precious of a person as they come). Not only is he a world renowned choral conductor (as in he’s conducted at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Bolshoi in Moscow, and numerous other world venues), he’s also a plucky World War II veteran. A tank driver, Mr. Noble saw action at the Battle of the Bulge, the thrust into Germany, and was the first American soldier to find Hitler’s office. If you google him, his life story is on youtube (and it’s a pretty fantastic life he’s had).
A spry 91, Mr. Noble traveled from Iowa to Seoul last month to lead the Korean National Choir, but suffered a fall that landed him in a local hospital. It was here I had the chance to meet this amazing, kind man with eyes that sparkle.
My family and I responded to a message from our church seeking people to visit with him in the hospital. Realizing this was someone thousands of miles from home with no family near, we were glad to go. Only I can tell you, we were the ones blessed by our visits. Even now, with broken bones on a continent far from home, when you ask him about music, his every fiber lights up with joy. And when he tells stories from the war, you can’t help but be transported to a time that really was of the greatest generation.
So while he’s mended up enough to head back home to the heart of America, I’m sure Seoul has left a little imprint on him, as I know he has on Seoul.