In 1949, Weston Noble invited directors from just over 20 schools in the region to bring a few selected band students to the Luther campus for a two-day honor band festival. The event was called the Dorian Band Festival, named for the Dorian Singing Society which had been formed at Luther shortly after the college was founded in 1861. A vocal festival was added in 1950, and since then the family of Dorian Festivals and Camps has been growing in scope and participation. Well over 100,000 students have shared in a Dorian musical experience since the festivals were started.
Why the name “Dorian”? The ancient Greeks built their music around a series of modes, or scales, one of which was the Dorian mode. The people who began the singing group at Luther took the name of this scale as the name for their organization.
Luther offers five Dorian Festivals, two music camps, and a choral retreat for adults each year. Hundreds of middle and high school students from across the Midwest come to Luther to study with Luther College faculty and perform in selective ensembles.