Augusta Couch brings people together through music

ROCK HILL—Augusta Couch uses her love of music to help others raise their voices to God in song.
The 18-year-old senior at South Pointe High School created a 50-voice international youth choir at Divine Saviour Church in York in 2010.
The singers range in age from kindergarten to middle school and perform in both English and Spanish at special holiday events including Mother’s Day, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Christmas.
On Oct. 9, Augusta received the 2011 Annual Award of Youth Achievement from Divine Saviour for her work with the choir and other service at church. She is the daughter of Frank and Maura Couch.
“I was completely surprised to receive the award, and it was really an emotional and captivating moment for me,” Couch said in a recent phone interview with The Miscellany.
A lifelong love of music led Couch to use her talents at church. She has played in school bands since sixth grade and said Tom Robinson, the former music director at her parish, inspired her to play the guitar and flute, and serve as a cantor at weekly Mass about four years ago.
Couch played at both the English and Spanish Masses and saw a divide in the community.
“ I noticed we weren’t really together as a church, and I thought the best way to bring everybody together was to start by bringing the children together in one choir, to sing bilingual songs,” Couch said.
The choir’s first large performance was, “Christmas around the World,” in December 2010. Children sang carols and spoke about holiday traditions in other nations.
This Christmas season, the choir plans to perform for residents at area nursing and retirement homes, and hold another holiday special.
“The choir has increased my faith so much because I just feel so much closer to God,” she said. “I’m teaching children to sing for Him, to praise the Lord and sing for the people. It strengthens my relationship with God so much. I can’t wait to go to Mass each week.”
Couch’s work at church is part of a busy life. At school, she runs cross-country, plays in the band, is on student council and belongs to service clubs.
After graduation, she plans to study either music or biology at Winthrop University. She chose the school because she wants to stay close to home and continue working with the choir.
“I believe all it takes is one positive influence to make a difference in the world, and the choir is making a difference,” she said. “It’s such a great feeling to teach the children and see the smiles on their faces.”