Young newcomers help raise over $13K for Charlottetown's QEH

·3 min read
Trumpeter Rey Tao was one of the performers at Gift for the Future charity concert held in Charlottetown July 22. (Thinh Nguyen/CBC - image credit)
Trumpeter Rey Tao was one of the performers at Gift for the Future charity concert held in Charlottetown July 22. (Thinh Nguyen/CBC - image credit)

Not long after 14-year-old Peter Ngo and his family arrived on P.E.I. from Vietnam, his father was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a health problem.

Ngo said he will always remember the doctors and nurses who treated his dad, and how well they took care of him.

So when he heard about a benefit concert to raise money for medical equipment at the QEH, he said he didn't hesitate to sign up to perform.

"They saved my dad from almost like the last minute of his life, so I'm thankful for them. That's why I'm here today."

Ngo can play nine different instruments. At the July 22 charity concert, Gift for the Future, he performed a rendition of Amazing Grace on the clarinet.

Thinh Nguyen/CBC
Thinh Nguyen/CBC

'Something that is worth doing'

The concert received donations from many newcomer groups on P.E.I. including the Chinese, Vietnamese and Egyptian communities, and raised more than $13,000 for the QEH Foundation, which raises funds to purchase medical equipment for the hospital.

Another 14-year-old performer, Rey Tao, came to the Island from China with his family four years ago. The trumpeter said he's interested in performing at events that can make a difference in the community.

In 2019, Tao won a gold medal at the P.E.I. Kiwanis Provincial Music Festival, but he said performing at charity concerts is a much more meaningful and rewarding experience.

"It's a very interesting, unique way to show your passion for music and also raising money for others," Tao said.

So when his mother suggested he join the Gift for the Future lineup, he said he agreed right away.

Thinh Nguyen/CBC
Thinh Nguyen/CBC

"I feel like this concert is something that is worth doing," said Tao.

The show's art director Vivian Zhou said young performers like Ngo and Tao put in a lot of effort to make the show happen.

"They spent a lot of time practising instruments at home, hours and hours of practice," she said.

What it means to be a citizen artist

Zhou left China for P.E.I. nine years ago and recently graduated from an arts-based high school in the U.S.

That's where she learned the meaning of being a citizen artist, which inspired her to come back to the Island and help organize the show, Zhou said.

Thinh Nguyen/CBC
Thinh Nguyen/CBC

"I think being citizen artists means making art not only for yourself, but having the idea of your community in mind," she said.

"It just all becomes so much more meaningful when you're performing for your community, when you're making other people feel a sense of meaning through your performance, when you can enrich other people's lives by giving in any way you can."

Zhou said she spent about a month planning the concert, making sure rehearsals ran smoothly and that the performers had enough space for their equipment and to move around comfortably at St. James Presbyterian Church where the event took place.

"It was quite a bit of work," she said.

"I'm just thankful that we've raised so much money for the QEH Foundation, and also having this to be something actually enjoyable because the quality of these performances is just top-notch."

Thinh Nguyen/CBC
Thinh Nguyen/CBC

Zhou's mother, Lian Zhang, said she's happy to see a charity concert put together by young performers and volunteers. Zhang was one of the show's organizers and is also a board member of the QEH Foundation.

"I try to get young people together and then make a contribution to society when they're in their earlier age. I think that's very important," Zhang said.

"We come to the new land. We should all learn from each other, help each other."

Zhang said she's planning another charity concert for the fall to continue raising money for the QEH Foundation.

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