Ximena Escobar

Second Soprano

Ximena has lived in Toronto for four decades. She came to Canada with her family from Ecuador after a military coup in the late 1970s. Her father, Carlos, who had a strong influence on Ximena, impressed the importance of education upon his six children. She holds five degrees from University of Toronto, York University and Universidad Complutence in Madrid. Ximena has worked in the non-profit sector for most of her career and is a strong advocate for social justice.

In addition to singing in the choir, Ximena also finds joy in her weekly family gatherings, which include all sixteen members, including her mother, siblings and nieces and nephews. They spend time together discussing politics, watching soccer and eating. Ximena is a self-proclaimed foodie who loves to eat out and travel.

Echo: What inspired you to join the choir?

XE: I joined the choir in the fall of 2014, the same year that my father was diagnosed with lymphoma. We were very close; he was a very strong influence in my life. I was having a very hard time dealing with his diagnosis, and sought help.  I was advised to get in touch with my feminine side (I socialized and worked mostly with men at that time) and engage in an activity that was about being in the moment, like music, singing. Following her suggestion, I joined Echo Women’s Choir. They practiced in a church. And that is how I began singing with women in a spiritual space. My father attended Echo’s winter concert, and passed away soon after.

Echo: What do you like most about the choir?

XE: I like the diversity of the choristers who come from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and have different levels of music knowledge. The singers represent a diverse cross-section of society, with a common love of music. You all have other lives and interests. Another reason I have stayed with the choir is their commitment to social justice. It is a good fit for me. I do a lot of volunteer work with Social Justice organizations.

Echo: Where does your interest in music come from?

XE: From my father. He made sure that we all had some basic knowledge of how to read music. He listened to all sorts of music, and he whistled every morning. He had a keen aesthetic sense, even making flower arrangements. He believed that life was to live.

Echo:  You have just begun a second term on Echo’s Board of Directors, and recently offered to help manage the choir’s finances. What would you like to contribute to the Board?

XE:  A number of years ago, I participated in a program called “Diversity on Boards” that provided training for board members, and included such things as public speaking and interviewing. I have fourteen years of experience on two other boards where I was involved in finance (what I do in my day job) and fundraising. These are areas in which I can contribute to Echo’s Board.

Echo: Is there anything else you would like to add?

XE: I have no issue with having a man as Artistic Director of a women’s choir. It provides a good balance!