DCME: A look at their past, present, and a possible future


Doha Wind Symphony performs regularly at various events throughout the year. Photo from DCME webpage – Photographer John Samples

Rishi D., Academics Section Editor

Look back seven years ago, at a scene in Doha College: a small varied group of musicians, huddling together in a dark hallway.

The crowd shifts and looks vaguely disgusted: the paint is peeling around them, and some of the tiles are missing. As the clock slowly ticks to 6:30, the small assemblage, children and adults both, slowly disperses when the music directors, Mr. Mark Seay and Mr. Jim Kulpa, come up and notify everybody that practice has been cancelled — again.

Fast forward to the present day. Replace the peeling, decaying hallways of Doha College with the music room of ASD. Lessons take place on time, and the small band of musicians no longer has to wait huddled outside the door. That same crowd has grown a little, and now the group features members from all over the skill spectrum.

As Doha Community Music Ensembles (DCME) continues to prepare and perform at various events, let’s take a look at the history of the group, what they have going on at the moment, as well as what the future may hold.

The Past

DCME was founded in October 2005. At that time, lessons were available on some musical instruments in Doha, but there was no opportunity for amateur players to get together as an ensemble. Two music teachers, Ms. Kathy Stuart and Ms.Lesley McBright, decided to see if that gap could be filled.

The plan was to build a full symphony orchestra for the whole musical community, children and adults. It was also intended to be the most accessible music group in Doha, as well as a learning experience, for both beginners and experts. The first director, Kathy Stuart, left after the first year, so Mr. Seay took over both the directorial position of DCME and joined the Instrumental Music (IM) program at ASD.

The most challenging difficulty that the music program faced in its early days was bringing in interest from the local community, Seay said. He also stated that without social media, DCME had a small, very local membership. “It was mostly just friends or family, you know, just the people that we worked with and knew from our employment.”

The Present

Nowadays, the DCME has split from a full orchestra into two separate strands: the Doha Wind Symphony and the Doha Orchestra. The overall organization is active on social media and has a website that promotes and highlights the group’s performances and activities.

DCME is currently hoping to conduct more concerts and small events outside of the ASD school community. Plans had recently been made for concerts at Doha Festival City, but those were, unfortunately, canceled due to overscheduling and other complications.

The recent departure of Mr. Seay from the group encouraged a contingent of the DCME membership to express their concerns about the future. Their hope is that his leaving will not negatively affect the quality of the groups’ practices, and they hope new leadership will help navigate difficulties in venue booking for upcoming performances.

The Future

The future of DCME is very much up in the air. The departure of Mr. Seay, a leader who oversaw the group’s growth, offers challenges. In addition, the actual administration that makes DCME an organization, a community, rather than a club is also changing with the times. Transient members often move away from Doha, so they are often searching for new musical enthusiasts.

Members hope inspired leaders step forward, and they invite interested, aspiring musicians to join them. They know their organization, DCME and its two subdivisions, can offer opportunities for anyone to be part of a band or symphony, even without prior experience. In exchange for enthusiasm and commitment, they can offer an invaluable chance for anybody to develop experience.