“Why do you go to Halifax every Sunday?”
“She can’t come, she has to go to Xara.”
“Why do you add work to your already busy schedule by doing Xara?”
Have you ever experienced something that filled you with joy and sadness at the same time? Love and hate? Laughter and tears? Could you put that into words? That’s why. That’s Xara.
Xara has been a major part of my life since I first joined the pilot season of the Xara Youth Ensemble. I was 16 at the time and, although I was very mature for my age, I still had a lot of learning and growth to go through. My two years with XYE provided me with a space to grow musically and as a person. I took on a leadership role within my section and the choir as a whole. I became more confident singing difficult choir music, which strengthened my vocal, ear-training and rhythm skills. XYE was a safe place, free of judgment. We did not care where you came from, what kind of training you had previously had. We did not care that we came from rival schools. We did not care about the 4-year age difference. We cared for the music. We cared for each other. We built each other up, we encouraged each other, something that does not always happen among teenaged girls.
Leaving XYE was one of the hardest things I have experienced. In 2014, my life was changing. I was leaving home for university and I felt like I was losing one of my main support groups. The girls from XYE took up a huge place in my heart, they were my sisters. I hated leaving them. The small consultation I got from leaving my XYE sisters, was the opportunity to sing with what we call Big Xara (aka Xara Choral Theatre). I was terrified. I had seen these women perform before, and they seemed larger than life. The way they captivated me, the way they made music together, they were magical. And so talented. How would I ever fit in with these women?
I did not just fit in with these women. I was fully adopted into their group, into their music. That’s the best part about Xara. We are not just a group of women who get together once a week to make pretty music and cool shows. We are a family. We even bond over food! (Heaven forbid someone forgets to bring snack…). I won’t lie to you, some rehearsals are hard and we get frustrated. But, at the end of it all, we have the same goal: to create something new and incredible that will allow our audience to become immersed in the Xara experience. And maybe, just maybe, if you look close enough, you’ll see the Xara love. Or, if you’re really lucky, you’ll feel it.
-Georgia Edwards, soprano 2