New Castle News

October 18, 2013

Noble Cause: Hunger to sing fuels food bank benefit

Dan Irwin
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — At 56, Jeff Noble continues to feed his desire to sing.

Last week, he used it to help feed the hungry as well.

Noble, a New Middletown, Ohio, native who now lives on Tempalena Avenue, captured first place in the Fighting Hunger Talent Show, a fundraiser sponsored by the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. According to Gianna Wright, a representative of the Supplemental Nutrition Awareness Program, the evening raised about $900 to be divided between the Glory Grille of First Presbyterian Church and the Church of Genesis Neighborhood Food Pantry.

Dawn Savage claimed second place in the  competition, while Jordan Rice was third.

Noble, though, downplayed the head-to-head aspect of the show.

“I’m grateful to have come out ahead, but it could have gone three different ways,” he said. “There were three that were really top tier, but the main thing is, we just had a blast.

“There was a lot of unity among everybody; there was no competition, so to speak, it was just a fun time to raise money. If I hadn’t won, it was still a fun time and we raised money for hunger; that was the most important thing. And it was nice to see everybody give glory to God for their talents.”

Noble, who works for Nolfi Plumbing in Boardman, Ohio, has been working with his own pipes since childhood. Back then, he, his brother Al and close friends Bill and Don Williams would get together to sing Beatles tunes while “playing” old bed slats as guitars. Soon, the foursome learned to play actual guitars and even began developing three-part harmony.

In the 1970s, Noble & Co. linked up with Lynn Deeter to form the Christian Five, but it wasn’t long after that Noble and a friend headed for California “to seek fame and fortune.”

“I was back four months later,” Noble chuckled. “But when I got back, that’s when things really took off with the Noble Brothers band.”

Noble, his brother and close buddies played area nightclubs and competed in contests, even getting as far as a spot on You Can Be A Star, a Nashville-based weekday talent show that aired on The Nashville Network. Contestants competed in the hopes of winning a recording contract.

“We ended up winning our first daily competition,” Noble recalled, “but the woman who won our week also ended up winning the whole 12-week period.”

Nowadays, Noble performs on his own or with his wife in the duo Noble Cause. Bill Williams has passed away, but Noble, his brother and Don Williams still get together on occasion to perform at church.

“When we had the band together, we had the potential and the sound to do something, but none of us ever really pushed it,” said Noble, who describes his musical roots as being planted in the music of Merle Haggard, George Jones, the Statler Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys. “We ended up going our separate ways, then I had a little baby girl – she’s 24 now – and I just kind of quit playing to take care of my family.

“Eventually, I decided to get back into it. I was in a gospel group, Glory Bound, for a while, but as far as pursuing a career and what God has for me, right now, I’m doing that solo.”

That road took him last week to the Ben Franklin Early Learning Center, where he used his gifts to help feed the hungry. One of the songs he performed there, “If I Would Have Known,” was written by his brother in memory of Bill Williams.

On his web site, Noble summed up the direction his life has taken.

 “Over the last few years, the Lord has inspired me to write several songs with different styles and is opening doors for me to minister in a variety of venues,” he writes. “I now believe God wants me to use my voice to minister His Word. Therefore, I am stepping out to become the man God wants me to be.”

Fighting Hunger Talent Show

•The second annual Fighting Hunger Talent Show is planned for June, with live auditions scheduled for March. Details will be announced later.

•In addition to the contestants, others who performed at last week’s inaugural show at the Ben Franklin Early Learning Center included The First Baptist Church of Chewton Choir, the Western Pennsylvania SNPJ Button Box Band, 2013 Rocket to the Stars winner Daniel Fusco and local folk singer Rick Bruening. Also on hand were Miss Pennsylvania Annie Rosellini and Miss Pennsylvania Teen Macy McBeth of Neshannock Township.

•II Tomato restaurant provided a dinner party for Miss Pennsylvania.

•Providing free food samples at the talent show were Hazel’s, Benefield’s, King’s, Cake Eatery Bakery, Asian Food Court, Two Fat Guys, Beanery, Glory Grille and Neighborhood Food Pantry.

•State Sen. Elder Vogel Jr. and state Rep. Chris Sainato provided gifts that helped stock the evening’s drawings and give-aways. Tom Scott of Lawrence County Community Action Partnership provided the use of the early learning center, supported by the center’s custodial staff.

•Others who helped out with evening included the William and Roger DeCarbo Funeral Home, tickets; Curt Savage and crew, sound equipment; Josh Savage, photography; and Dr. Patrick Krantz, director of Westminster College’s Drinko Center for Experimental Learning.