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Esther Segal began playing violin in the third grade, becoming an accomplished player by the time she graduated Hoover High School in 1947. After earning her bachelor of arts in music and journalism (with a minor in psychology and social studies) from UCLA in 1951, she founded the Serra Naders in 1962, later incorporating the ensemble into San Diego Choraleers in 1966.
Segal went on to serve as that group's director for over fifty years, as well as teaching music in numerous San Diego schools. She passed away in May 2016, at the age of 87.