Augie Segger ’19 came to St. Andrew's from Madison, Connecticut. As a Saint, Augie was known for his musical leadership, regularly playing organ in the Chapel, performing with the Andrean Ensemble, and playing viola with the orchestra. At his graduation in May 2019, he received the Choir Prize and the Cameron Award, which is given to the VI Form boy and girl who have performed outstanding service to the school. Augie currently attends Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
I started singing in a choir when I was eight years old. Two years later, in fifth grade, I went to the St. Thomas Choir School in New York City. It was a boarding school, and everybody who was in the school sang in the choir. It was at a church on Fifth Avenue, and we sang about five services a week, and toured the country, and to different countries periodically. I was there for four years. My first year I was really homesick—I was a wreck, but then I went back the next year, and that's when I think I started falling in love with it. And then I heard about St. Andrew's, and I came here. I'm still singing now, but I also started playing the organ and viola freshman year.
It might have been during my eighth grade year, when I thought, "Hey, the organ's pretty cool.” It's loud. It's big. You feel really powerful when you play it. People often ask, "What's the difference between the organ and a piano?" The organ's a wind instrument, so all the sound comes out of the pipes. When you press a key, the valve will open, and air will flow through the pipe. The nice thing about the organ is, you can control the different sounds that you make. You can have the more delicate, ethereal sounds, and the more powerful, robust sounds, so it's kind of like having a whole orchestra at your disposal, which is nice. And you also get to play with your feet. I think playing the organ can improve your abilities at soccer, because of all the footwork you have to do.
I started playing the viola my freshman year when I took Introduction to the Arts. I did not sound good, but Mr. Geiersbach [encouraged me], and by the end of the year, I ended up in the viola section of the orchestra. I'm still playing now. It's a challenge. I think playing a string instrument is hard to do well, but it's given me a different lens of musicianship I didn't have before, and playing in Orchestra is a whole new experience. [It's so different] than singing in a choir, or playing by yourself.
At St. Andrew's, I've been most involved with the Andrean Ensemble. We spend a lot of time together with touring and different trips that we do periodically. The Orchestra's also a great group of people. We only meet once a week, but it's always fun to just play together. Those moments where everyone just wants to play together is a great experience.
The cross-country team has also been a big part of my life here. I had never imagined that running would be something I would enjoy, or be good at, before coming to St. Andrew's. I started running my freshman year, and I had worked hard, and improved my 5K PR by a lot, which is fun. The varsity team, these past four years, have always been a great group of guys just to run with. So, that's been an incredibly rewarding experience I've had here.
And I have just grown to love the whole community here. I've always been an introvert, and I still will be, but I think this school has pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone, and make the most of the relationships I can make with people, but at the same time, [I know that] it's okay to be myself. I should appreciate who I am, and use the strengths that I have to make this place a better place.
I'd say that music has definitely had a very spiritual effect on me. I grew up in kind of a religious household. We had always go to mass on weekends, and everything. It is a big part of our lives. I would still call myself religious... I'm always questioning, which is what teenagers do. I don't know, in 10 years from now, if I'll be the same way, more or less. Music definitely has something to do with [my faith], I think. Music has the power to give us all a greater awareness of ourselves, and to connect more profoundly with each other.
I love hearing other choirs and ensembles, and seeing how they perform. I like watching their posture, and asking, "What are they doing that I'm not?" to help me get better. And I love taking programs home with me, seeing what kind of music that they're doing, and trying to broaden my own horizons. I've always been a big fan of early music. Anything 16th century or earlier. It's a different style of music. Every part is kind of their own piece, in a way, and there's something about the clarity of that time period music. But I'm trying to become more interested in 20th century music, and 21st century music, too. It's kind of like modern art in a way. It requires an acquired taste. I hope to learn more about it.
In college, I plan to do the same thing I did here: join a bunch of ensembles. I've considered a possible music major. I'd like to try to learn more theory, music history, things like that. And then we'll see where that takes me later. I don't see myself totally focused on music in my future, but I would love to get a church job on the side, and still have it be a big part of my life.
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