‘Abby’s Army’ celebrating a special life

Fundraiser to benefit scholarship in memory of Abigail Segler

Family and friends of Abigail Segler, who passed away June 17, 2016, will gather with community members for an afternoon packed with fun and music hosted by Great River Arts, Saturday, Aug. 5, from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for the Abigail Segler Memorial Fine Arts Scholarship, set up to honor Abby and keep her memory alive. People of all ages are welcome and there is no fee to attend.

“Abby’s Army,” a group of family and friends of Abigail Segler, remember the young woman through a scholarship in her name. A benefit to raise funds for the scholarship is planned for Saturday, Aug. 5, at Great River Arts in Little Falls.

The event includes music, a silent auction, snacks, and fun activities for all ages, such as face painting and crafts. Performances feature some of the area’s finest young musicians and vocalists, many of whom performed alongside Abby in concerts and theater productions.

“When she was having a rough time, music was her way of processing things,” said Lisa Segler, Abby’s mom. “It’s interesting that we are processing losing her through music.”

The concert will feature three sections. First to take the stage is local band “Total Monroe,” featuring classic and modern rock numbers. The band was formed in 2015, by three musicians who met at St. Francis Music Center.

Abby was very involved in band, choir and theater during her years at Little Falls Community High School (LFCHS), where she graduated in 2015. Her teachers Jonathan Laflamme and Camilla Larson are leading the LFCHS Musical Revue performance at the event, reprising performances from several recent musical theater productions at the high school.

Closing out the event will be local band “Your Friend and Mine,” with a wide variety of crowd-pleasing songs from Indie pop to Broadway. It’s a musical collective, combining the talents of 14 local musicians and vocalists who have been friends and musical collaborators for several years. Many members of the band are friends and classmates of Abby’s.

The scholarship was the inspiration of three grieving friends and family members who wanted to keep Abby’s memory alive. Jennifer Burr, Mary Hanson and Janine Cushman put their heads together through the winter to get it formed by scholarship night in May of this year.

In the autumn and winter of 2016, the band members of Your Friend and Mine “started thinking we could do something in memory of Abby,” said Michael Burr, band manager. “Ideas started flowing and it developed into a benefit concert. Everybody loved the idea. It made perfect sense.”

Abby was an outstanding student at the top of her class and a bright light in the school, Burr said. Her obituary describes her true joy as “music, family, and her many friends accompanied by her strong faith in God.”

“It was her faith in God and her trust that his plans were best that got her through (123 days in the St. Cloud Hospital),” said Lisa. “Whether she lived or she died, it was a win-win situation for her.”

Abby’s strength and endurance through the days of adversity showed her faith – the answer to the question “When facing adversity, are you going to crumble or are you going to shine?” her mom said.

“It has been so comforting and so humbling through the concert planning to see what Abigail meant to other people and not just to us,” Lisa said.

“So many people have said how honored they are to be part of the concert,” Michael said. “It’s been a healing and growing experience to be able to do this. They loved Abby and they all saw the light she brought into a room.”

The event is planned to be an afternoon filled with fun where many people can share memories and be entertained by music for all ages.

“We want everyone to feel welcome whether they have a dollar in their pocket or not,” said Michael.

As Lisa has seen and enjoyed the many Facebook posts of Your Friend and Mine practicing for weeks, she feels that “The concert has already been a success because people are already having fun. Abigail loved to make people smile; the fundraising part is secondary.”

“It’s going to be a fabulous show,” said Lucas Burr, pianist for Your Friend and Mine.

“A lot of talented people are coming together to honor Abby’s memory in the best way they know how – with lots of great music.”

“We want everyone to have fun,” said Lisa.