Students use artistic talents to raise money for blind Chinese orphans

When asked how they spent their summer months, many students answer that they went to the beach or a swimming pool, visited with relatives, or took a vacation.

But one student from Carnegie Vanguard High School was able to write a most unusual “what I did over my summer vacation” essay this fall after she spent a week and a half in June playing the piano to benefit needy Asian children.

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Senior Kerrigan Quenemoen, along with her partner, Kenneth Yu (who graduated this spring from Bellaire High School), were invited to do a series of charity concerts in China to raise money for blind Chinese orphans.

“We went to Dalian, Gaizhou, Chuzhou, and Beijing and performed in front of thousands,” said Kerrigan. “Everywhere we went, there were posters with our names and faces on them. We also went sightseeing at the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City, and we were asked to go to Chuzhou University and speak with an English class, so they could practice. Overall, it was an amazing cultural experience.”

As a duo, Kerrigan and Kenneth have advanced to the national finals of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Senior Piano Duet Competition twice — once in 2013 and again earlier this year.