Dubai Youth Orchestra, a group of musicians dominated by children aged five and up, held its annual concert on Sunday at the Pavilion Downtown Dubai. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai:If you were to put them onstage side by side a typical symphony orchestra, Dubai Youth Orchestra will definitely prove that when it comes to the love for music, age is just a number. 
And rightly so, when the master conductor raised his hand to begin the concert on Sunday night, their music dominated the jampacked Pavilion Downtown Dubai and left the audience in awe.

From their debut concert in March, the Orchestra — a non-profit organisation of children aged 6, teens and above — has definitely grown and expanded to accommodate more young musicians and some of their parents. Now its second concert this year, the repertoire included the debut performance of another musical group, the Dubai Oud Club.

The introduction of the Oud Club is part of the Orchestra’s goal of keeping their performances fresh, innovative, and pleasing to the ears. Majority of the Orchestra’s members may be young, but their talent is being honed to perfection to contribute to the UAE’s cultural scene.

“We are working very hard to improve the sound production. We are working very hard to improve the musical materials. We are a serious group of people. We are working hard and we are going to continue our mission,” Imad Abeidoh, conductor and co-founder of the Orchestra, told Gulf News.

Witness to this ‘hard work’ is six-year-old Maryam Al Khayyat, the youngest and newest addition to the group. Asked what Thursday rehearsals are like, the bright-eyed Emirati said: “It was hard before, but now it’s easy because I practise. [My teachers are] very, very strict. “Do this, do that!” they’d say. So I do it,” Al Khayyat, who plays the violin, said.

For Aditya Bhatia, 14, who has been playing the violin for nine years under Abeidoh’s tutelage, things were hard only at the beginning.

“Only when we start sight reading then it’s tough. Sight reading is when you see the notes for the first time and you’re playing them for the first time. That’s the only tough part. And then it becomes very easy,” Bhatia said.

The Orchestra rehearses at The Third Line every Thursday free of charge. Other than that, they do not have a permanent place of their own. They also lack musical instruments at the moment. Despite these setbacks, the Orchestra plans to have one more concert in December, a bigger one, Abeidoh said. But they will need support from the community.

“We need a home. We cannot continue without help and especially from the government. We really need a regular home; we need a place to stay. We want to be legitimate,” Abeidoh said.