“If you’re going to have a mid-life crisis,” 49-year-old Zain Kahn says, “I highly recommend starting an orchestra.”

Just a few years ago — 2016 to be exact — the software company overseer and side orchestra conductor Khan says he felt life catching up to him.

Kahn’s dream when he was younger was to conduct an orchestra. However, at a young age with modest means, he had to put his dream on hold. “I had to get a job-job. It happens. You gotta pay rent, bills, that kind of thing, but next thing you know, you’re 50. Life doesn’t go on forever.”

While running a software company on the side, Kahn says there was “no time like now” in determining when to make his dream a reality. Eventually through word of mouth and social media, local musicians liked what they heard from Khan, joining to become the Vicente Chamber Orchestra.

These musicians, Khan notes, aren’t household names in the wind and strings sections of the worlds; they’re 9-5ers, freelancers, people around the city that share a passion for music.

“We’re totally organic and I couldn’t be more proud,” Kahn says. “We’re not perfect, we’re not professional, but we are energized, enthusiastic and we want to share that with audience.”

The demographics of the group, according to Kahn, range from all races and ethnicities, from young to old, from experienced to amateurs. What started off as a 15 piece orchestra has swelled to 59 musicians.

Built on a shoestring budget (the orchestra almost entirely survives on foundation grants–generally under a few thousand dollars a year), with practices where they could find them (starting out at a Presbyterian church, Khan says rehearsal space is a challenge), the Vicente Orchestra is set to perform at their biggest venue yet, the Broad Stage.

When asked if he or his musicians were nervous — this is the biggest venue Khan or any of his musicians will have played in — Khan shrugs off the question, saying excitement overrides any nervousness that may have crept into their minds, noting he and his musicians like the “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” atmosphere.

“The musicians’ passion and commitment make this exciting. This isn’t a commodity kind of event. This isn’t a group that gets to have 4 concerts a year. There may not be another chance. This is it. I just want to do what I love.”

The Vicente Chamber Orchestra will perform Saturday, February 3rd, at Broad Stage, 1310 11th St, Santa Monica 90401. For tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-gala-concert-with-pianist-noah-simon-and-the-vicente-chamber-orchestra-pre-concert-talk-with-tickets-34786973775. For more information about the orchestra, visit www.vicentechamberorchestra.com.