August 2022 Newsletter

Inspiring Hope!
August 2022

♩ Director’s Corner

Director's Corner: As you can see from the many articles in this issue, our wonderful Tacy volunteers have not had a lazy summer. An additional story that I would like to mention began on July 18 when the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington reopened its doors for kids to play their music at the Wasserman and Smith-Kogod buildings. The silence during a year and a half generated a deep longing to play for this very sophisticated audience from all over the world. We have sent many cards with drawings of the season, coloring books, crossword puzzles, joke books, and video playlists of kids playing their songs and speaking to their audience as though they were right there in the room. Our youth have sent their love all these months. And now they are able to go in person to thank the seniors for their strength and courage during their long lives and now during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cards for Uvalde
By Karina Willis-Lara
Thank you to all the volunteers who participated in the Tacy Foundation Cards Project in June. The effort to provide some small encouragement and hope in Uvalde also included Tacy Foundation USB's and Reading Express projects. All Uvalde cards and gifts were shipped by Ms. Holliday. 
Ms. Holliday communicated to the executive director of the Community Foundation that serves the Uvalde community. The Children's Bereavement Center based in San Antonio, which now has a location in Uvalde, and the Uvalde public library are distributing the cards.
The Tacy Foundation’s handmade cards were accompanied by USBs that included George Benkin's original compositions on "Someday" and Tacy's Gift USBs with kids' original music. Hundreds of cards with QR codes as fliers were in the shipment too. 
The Tacy Foundation also sent the links to Reading Express stories for children. The Uvalde librarian is showing these stories on a large TV screen at the public library during the Summer Reading Program. The music links are available at The Children's Bereavement Center, which provides counseling.
In the end, the 500+ cards and other materials will be far-reaching in this desperately needy town on the U.S. border.
Thank you for your steady support.  The Uvalde community will be impacted for years to come by your goodness. Volunteers make such a huge difference in the world!
Cards by Amelia Schreier
Cards by Samuel Wang
Cards by Sean and Katie Wang
Cards by Eric Zou
Cards by Matthew Kim
Links from the Montgomery Serves Awards

More on the Cards Project

Over the last few months, several Tacy Foundation volunteers have made cheerful get-well cards for hospital patients. These cards have brought joy to patients in hospitals because they know they are being thought of during their trying time of illness, sickness or injury. Our volunteers care about these patients, and we wish them well for their recovery!

Our cards have been distributed to hospitals such as Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Holy Cross Hospital at Germantown and Suburban Hospital. In some cases, the cards are placed on patients’ food trays and the patients receive the cards with their meals. We have received positive feedback from hospital administrators, and they would like more of these cards!

Thank you to all the volunteers who continue to participate in this ongoing Cards Project. Of course, thank you to Ms. Holliday for coordinating all the interactions and delivery with the receiving hospitals.

If you are interested in learning more about the ongoing project of cheerful get-well cards for hospital patients, please email the Cards Team at 

-- Karina Willis-Lara, Adult Supervisor for the Cards Team, The Tacy Foundation

Cards by Sabrina Vasu
Cards by Rukmani and Mario Lara
Multiple Rewards
By Larson Ozbun
This June, I competed in the National Technology Student Association conference in Dallas, Texas. The event I entered, called Endurance Flight, required making a balsa wood model propeller plane, powered by a single rubber band, that stayed aloft for as long as possible. I prepared for this competition for several months, and it all paid off in a satisfying conclusion when I won first place.
Although it felt great to be handed the trophy, I was much more impacted by the events after the competition when I met with several other competitors. We talked as peers brought together by a common interest, sharing tips, stories, and experiences. I even had the privilege of meeting other flyers who did not participate in the competition, many of them seniors. They shared their own unique wisdom and memories, which was very exciting.
This experience greatly reminded me of when I was working towards the President's Volunteer Service Award. I was given the privilege of helping the community through several opportunities. Whether it was teaching youth through Piano Pals or connecting with others through live performances, every service was done to build the community. Although I may have received a new trophy or medal, the real gift was serving others so everyone could benefit from a supportive community. 
Communicating through Music and Beyond
By Anna Bray
Serving with the Tacy Foundation has been such a rewarding experience. Not only do the Tacy Foundation concerts develop leadership skills and provide performance opportunities, but they also bring joy to seniors and staff at senior homes. Residents repeatedly express gratitude that busy teenagers take the time to meet them and play for them. Their excitement has been contagious and touching to watch.

In June, I was packing up after a concert at Brightview Fair Oaks when I started chatting with an elderly lady. She began telling me that she had studied piano in Germany with a teacher who rapped her knuckles with a ruler whenever she played the wrong notes; in addition, she shared more about her family’s musical background. This conversation reminded me that senior home residents are often lonely people. Tacy Foundation performances enable them to share their decades of life experience with younger generations. It is extremely meaningful to seniors that Tacy Foundation volunteers perform beautiful music and chat with them. This reciprocal relationship of each group taking time to listen to the other makes this organization one that will always be needed.
My Achievements at Tacy Foundation
By Katie Wang
Hello, my name is Katie Wang, and I am a volunteer at Tacy Foundation. I began my volunteer service at Tacy Foundation in the summer before entering second grade, and I have been volunteering ever since.

The last time I wrote for the newsletter (in February 2022), I had mentioned about how I felt about earning a president’s award. This time, I am going to continue the story. Read on!

Why did I volunteer at Tacy? The answer is obvious. We do this to inspire hope through the power of music! However, I found this true purpose after volunteering at Tacy for a while. At first I volunteered only because my older brother Sean was doing it, and I didn’t want him to beat me. After a while, I had a growing feeling that I was able to bring happiness and hope to the audience. The joy also came back to me and made me feel extremely proud.

I still volunteer at Tacy Foundation by performing at musical concerts, senior housing, and hospitals or by giving virtual musical concerts. I also volunteer by drawing cards. When I perform, the seniors praise me and encourage me to keep performing, so I do. Now performing for Tacy is like a hobby that I do every week.

In my last newsletter article, I had mentioned earning my first president’s award last December! It was a silver medal and a letter from the president. This year I also earned another silver medal and letter. I can still remember what happened that day:

One of the performers had just finished performing. It was about to be my turn when Ms. Holliday arrived. I was very pleased to see her since I really like her. Suddenly, I found myself hearing Ms. Holliday introducing the person who had just earned a silver medal again…me! I was proud of myself. So was my family. Maybe Ms. Holliday was too. Anyway, she read the letter aloud, and I smiled through the entire “read-a-loud.” To go along with the award and not let the audience down, I played my best on the piano that day. I think my plan worked.
Katie receiving the President's Award
Sean (my brother) and I get a lot of volunteering experience at Tacy Foundation. As a result, Ms. Holliday suggested that Sean could do a summer program. My brother agreed to it and let me join in. So, we have a “Sean and Katie’s Musical Hour” every Monday for the rest of the summer. Every time we finish the concert, I notice that the seniors always look very happy, pleased, and hopeful. This makes me feel extremely good. I think Sean feels the same way.

Whenever I finish playing at any concert, I notice how the audiences applaud and smile. The smiles on their faces seem to be contagious. I like to make the audience smile because it makes me smile too. I think that anyone would enjoy making others happy. As a result, I encourage those who read this article to continue volunteering and try their best to spread hope and joy.

I like to spread peace, happiness, hope, kindness, love, and warmth, so I will also continue to volunteer.

Tacy Foundation’s goal is to spread hope. I also have a goal, too. In fact, three goals. These include:
  • Try to make others feel happy.
  • Try to make yourself feel happy.
  • Never give up.
Thank you, Tacy Foundation. Thank you, Ms. Holliday.
My Summer Internship Experience
By Sean Wang
This summer is different and meaningful for me – not because I graduated from middle school, but because I am doing a summer internship! When Mrs. Holliday told me about this opportunity and asked me if I was interested, I was very excited about this “job.” With tremendous help from Mrs. Holliday and Ms. Adams, the coordinator of the Brighton Gardens of Friendship Heights, I was fortunate to get accepted for this summer internship. Even more luckily, my sister Katie agreed to be my partner!
After several days of discussion with my sister, we came up with an idea for “Sean and Katie’s Musical Hour,” which we thought the seniors would enjoy. Our plan was to do a weekly one-hour program. Each week we would feature a composer and play a few of the composer’s pieces along with some interesting stories. After that we would add some other pieces that we love and some that I composed. Finally, we would conclude with some easy-listening, light music. We wished to share some music that we love with the seniors and let them feel that we’re all connected through love and hope. Thus, our summer program was born!
Our debut was on July 4th, 2022, a day that is worth all celebration! On the debut day, I felt quite nervous in the beginning, because I was not sure if the elderly would enjoy the program. My anxiety was all gone after I played the first piece and got a round of applause and cheers from the elderly. It was so rewarding that instantly I knew we had connected through the power of music. My sister also received lots of acclamation and encouragement. After the program, several seniors came over to us and told us how much they enjoyed our program and how grateful they were for what we did for them.  They said that they looked forward to our next show and would refer our program to their families and friends. I was so moved and proud that my sister and I were able to do something for the seniors that they enjoyed.
So far, the “Sean and Katie’s Musical Hour” has been a success, and my sister and I have become celebrities (sort of) in Brighton Gardens of Friendship Heights! Furthermore, we made several elderly friends there. They still look forward to our performances every Monday! This is a huge encouragement and motivation to us. I really appreciate this opportunity, and thank you, Mrs. Holliday and Ms. Adams, for making all these come true!
Our program brochure for the Brighton Gardens
Sean and Katie
The Joys of Playing for Others
By Yulania Wang
As most of the senior homes opened their doors in the past year, I was finally able to go and perform for many of them after a long wait. It is a truly rewarding experience, being able to meet seniors in-person and share my love for music with them. Many of them have bright smiles on their faces and really enjoy hearing us play!
I was gratified to see how eager the seniors were to hear us play. They would all be waiting around the piano for us, which I found very touching. After I performed, the seniors would always say such kind words about my performance. I remember when a daughter of one of the seniors came up to me and said that my playing made her want to learn piano again. I felt really proud when she said that. 
 Returning to perform at senior homes has been a rewarding experience that motivates me to keep working hard. And I get to make the seniors happier as well!
Reflections of a New Tacy Volunteer
By Ankush Karmakar
I am a middle schooler in Montgomery County who recently became affiliated with the Tacy Foundation. After going through an orientation, I was able to sign up for some volunteering opportunities offered by this organization. For example, I was able to take part in a live performance at the Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, where I played the piano. There were other youth participants, and all of us took turns playing different pieces of music. Most of these were solo performances on the piano, with one duet on clarinet and piano.

It was amazing to be able to play music and spread happiness into the lives of patients, caretakers, and visitors at the hospital. It felt gratifying to use my passion for music to give back to others and make a difference. Also, this wonderful opportunity for community service helped me earn Student Service Learning (SSL) hours. In the future I wish to continue to participate in more of these musical performances and live events led by the foundation.
Anticipating a Rewarding Experience
My name is Triston Yu, and I will be a rising Junior (11th grader) at Langley High School. I have been playing the piano since I was five, and I also play clarinet for my school ensemble. I came to Tacy because of my passion for music and my desire to share it with my community. In this, my first summer with Tacy, I want to put my passion to good use through continued volunteering at the various Tacy locations as well as regularly going to the Tall Oaks to visit seniors. Among the things I look forward to doing there are bringing music through piano and possibly clarinet repertoire, playing board games, and interacting and conversing with the seniors. Although this is my first time, I really hope to make this a worthwhile experience both for the seniors and for me to grow as a person as well.
Tacy Volunteer Named Semifinalist in International Competition
Harrison Benford has been named an official semifinalist in The Rubato International Piano Competition, a seven-day competition that will be held in Oxford, Alabama, from August 8-13. He is one of eight young pianists chosen from a field of over 60 auditions from 12 countries. The competition will be professionally juried by Steinway Hall of Fame artists and experienced judges (and a medalist!) from the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which includes Drs. Yakov Kasman, Luis Sanchez and Janet Landreth. Each competitor gets a master class with all three judges, and there are special events scheduled throughout the week-long experience, which culminates in a Semifinal Concert on Friday and a Finals Concert on Saturday. Good luck to Harrison and congratulations to him and his teacher, Nancy O'Neill Breth of Washington, D.C.
The Library Playlists Project
By Keerthana Srinivasan
I am so glad I had the opportunity to lead the video library playlists project! I was able to experience the talent of many young students who were eager to share their music with everyone. When the initiative started during the brink of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were worried about how it could reach a larger audience and supplement the live performances in different venues. Now, after two years of this project activity, I am thrilled to see that students are willing to submit their videos and participate! We have over 600 videos, combining all the playlists in the video library. The 45-minute QR cubes will take this to a new level. 
I learned a lot while leading this project. I hope to use the skills I have cultivated while embarking on a new journey this fall as a first-year medical student at Drexel University. Ms. Holliday mentioned that many students are interested in applying to medical school, and I would be happy to share my experience and help in any way! Please feel free to reach out with any questions to my email:
The Tacy Foundation
Educational Mission: Foster youth development through music, story and mentoring
Philanthropic Mission Empower youth to discover and use their gifts in service to others
Social Mission: Build community partnerships and create intergenerational connections
      Whom We Serve
          Service members
          Economically disadvantaged
          Individuals who want to serve
     How We Serve (Programs)
          Live music concerts
          Reading Express®
          Piano Pals®
          Guitar Pals®
          Composers’ Circle
          Music USBs
          Musical equipment
          COVID projects: video, email, cards, puzzles for outreach to the community
Charlotte Holliday, Founder and Executive Director
Matthew D. Scott and Michael Tacy, Graphic Editors
Michael Favin, Chief Editor
Siddharth Kondam, Teen Editor
Ethan Schenker, Teen Editor
Donations are appreciated.  All adult and teen staff are volunteers.  No salaries or benefits. Every dollar you donate goes to supplies for all projects offered to the community. 
Thank you!  
Donate online via PayPal at:
Or send your donation to: 
The Tacy Foundation 
Box 2334

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