Caitlin Gowdy has spent most of her life hearing, playing, and living music. She began playing the violin when she was four years old and has studied with Li Lin since age nine. She has participated in various orchestras in both Southern and Northern California, and was the concert mistress for the nationally recognized Orchestra da Camera at San Domenico High School, which was the recipient of the Grand Champion award at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival for three years in a row. She was a winner of the Marin Symphony Youth Orchestra Competition in 2008, a participant at the Junior Bach Festival in 2011, and a five-time winner of the Marin Music Chest Scholarship. Outside of music, Caitlin has worked at Marin General Hospital, helping both patients and nurses in their surgical department, and has done research work with surgeons at Stanford Hospital. Caitlin co-founded Children in Need with her friend, Peggy, because she felt a desire to give back to the community that could provide her with the opportunities to succeed in her life. She wanted to help those who are not as priviliged as her in addition to spreading the joys of music all over the world. She plans to bring Children in Need to Stanford University, where she currently attends school.
Chang (Peggy) Cui, a junior at San Domenico School, has been seriously engaged in charity activities for over two years. In Grade 3, led by Ms. Alison Lim, a close friend of her mom's, Peggy went to Sun Village, Beijing, an orphanage for the children of convicts, and realized for the first time that some kids are not lucky enough to grow up with their beloved parents. In her visits, she brought them gifts such as stationary and accompanied them to festivals because their parents were absent. From a total stranger to a dear friend who they would love their pizza and stories, Peggy tasted the joy of helping others and grew into a positive and strong person like the kids there. She started participating in a broader range of service work, including assisting Jane Goodall in preparing her lectures in Beijing in October 2006. After she entered high school, she gathered friends who were interested in charity activies and co-founded "Children in Need".
Chener (Cherry) Yuan
Chener (Cherry) Yuan started taking violin lessons at the age of 5. Three months later in July 2001, she came first and second the 8th Guangdong Provincial Violin Competition in the Chinese piece category and the overall category respectively. Subsequently in 2004, she won the first prize for all three awards at 9th Guangdong Provincial Competition and came second at the National Violin Competition in both the Chinese piece category and the overall category. In 2005 Cherry came first in the Guangdong city School Competition.
In 2007, Cherry began studying under Professor Lin Yaoji and continued her violin studies under Professor Vera Tsu in 2009. In 2011 and 2012, Cherry attended the Moritzburg Festival Academy as the youngest artist. She was also the youngest violinist selected to play at the masterclasses for Pinchas Zukerman and Shlomo Mintz in 2010.
In 2012, Cherry received full scholarship from both the San Domenico Upper High School in California and the Preparatory Division of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She moved to the Bay area and became a student of Mr. Li Lin. In 2013, Cherry won First Alternate in the 2013 VOCE State Competition, First in the 2013 Pacific Music Society Competition, and First in the 2013 International Youth Music Competition by CMTANC.
Cherry is also dedicated to music through philanthropy. While in the Bay Area, Cherry became the president of the CiN Club, a student music charity club dedicated to helping less privileged children around world by fundraising through musical performances. In 2013, Cherry performed in more than 20 benefit concerts at various retirement centers, and visited an orphanage in Jiaozuo, China, where she helped a music therapist treating autistic children. Cherry has helped CiN to expand its reach to many children through her love of music and helping children.
Cherry is the recipient of the 2015 Jessica Hung Scholarship under the Lin Yao Ji Scholarship Programme, and is currently attending The Juilliard School as an undergraduate student studying with Ronald Copes and Daniel Philips.