Graduating Seniors of 2020 Inspire Hope
The visionary, talented, compassionate, creative, serious, diligent, resilient icons on these pages tell a most beautiful story of courage, integrity, and heroism.
Meet these engaging High School Graduates! Their tools are intelligence, determination against all odds, respect for the wisdom of their parents and forebears, and joy to share the privilege of bringing to the world the great gifts of music and philanthropy.
When you see them, congratulate them, honor them, and encourage them for the next leg of their journey. They are young, and yet so wise. They have much to do for humanity. And they will come through! They always have, and they always will.
In alphabetical order
Description: Cyrus Amini has served the Tacy Foundation for five years, both as a pianist for Live Music and as a Piano Pals mentor for seniors. His dedication and kindness to the seniors at Hebrew Home and Town Center in Rockville have left a legacy of kindness and respect for the elderly among the HOC staff and residents.
Personal statement: After 4 years of teaching, performing and practicing with students, I am very happy to be both the Chief Intern of Piano Pals and Live Music Events.
My involvement with the Tacy Foundation has shown me the impact of dedication, interaction with seniors, and caring for others in my community. My students have really grown since I first started teaching them. I learned that the best way to teach them is to take small steps in order to give them confidence so they can move in the right direction.
I plan to pursue a career in medicine after college. A job in medicine requires not just intelligence, but patience and discipline. Both of these key traits have been instilled in me with the many years of teaching seniors and performing for the Foundation. Without the Tacy Foundation, I would never be able to see a real-life example of the impact my work and perseverance has on others.
Description: Zoë signed up to play for seniors at Asbury Methodist Village when she was six years old. Now eighteen, she has played for them for twelve years. She is a cornerstone of the Foundation. She has performed every month for ten years, shared more than one entire recital for Asbury Assisted Living residents, made a solo CD this past year that contains all of her recordings since age seven. Her leadership in hosting monthly Live Music Events in Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Bethesda leaves a legacy of diligence, compassion for the sick and elderly, agility in serving everyone well for intergenerational events, and humility in service for others.
Personal statement: My name is Zoe, I'm 18 years old, and I love reading, baking, and traveling. I run on the cross country team, write for the school newspaper, play piano for the pit orchestra, and anchor on the morning announcements. I first began playing piano for charitable purposes when I joined the Holliday Piano Studio in 1st grade. I never really thought about the impact of music until I came to Mrs. Holliday for lessons. Before this, playing piano was more like something I had to do. But the Tacy Foundation opened up brand new opportunities for me in music. Instead of recitals that were so formal and silent you could hear a pin drop, Mrs. Holliday arranged for us to perform in nursing homes. The residents would always tell me I did a great job, striking up conversations with my family and me after the recitals. The positive encouragement from both fellow students and residents was so amazing. There were older students (middle and high school) that I looked up to because they came to Asbury every single month, with pieces that were 10+ pages and very advanced! I wanted to be just like them, so I continued to practice.
Now, as a high school senior, I am attending American University in the fall. I want to major in journalism through their School of Communication and eventually become a staff writer for a newspaper. I hope that I can find a pit orchestra that could use a pianist or maybe a club for musicians in college. I also would love to continue playing piano all throughout adulthood, just for fun. I want to adopt a dog and cat(s) one day to keep me company.
Description: Kate has graced the assisted living Live Music for Seniors halls, hospital lobbies, including NIH, Walter Reed, Shady Grove Adventist, and Children’s National since her first inquiry about the Foundation through her friend Holly Lam. She has played for all ages, all situations, and all cultures. She solos and accompanies. She searches the music for the occasion and learns it ably. A remarkable youth who, like her peers graduating this spring, will change the world for the better.
Personal statement: My name is Kate Chen, currently a high school senior. I’ve been playing piano since I was six years old, and it’s been a huge part of my life. I’ve been volunteering for the Tacy Foundation since sixth grade. Through music, I’ve been able to communicate and connect with others — seniors, patients, hospital staff, and visitors, all those people with different experiences and life stories that I wouldn’t have encountered in my daily life. After high school, I will still continue to practice and perform music whenever I can, because sharing music has opened up a whole new world for me. Hopefully my music can bring happiness to all who hear it!
Description: Bryce has participated in a myriad of Tacy Foundation programs for the past nine years. As a volunteer and devoted leader in every program for The Tacy Foundation, Bryce has participated enthusiastically. He has continued to serve through the years with kindness, generosity, and wisdom. Since 2013, he has contributed to CD Projects, the Piano Pals Program as mentor, and many Fundraising projects. Bryce is the youngest Manager of the elegant Tacy Foundation Reception at BlackRock Center for the Arts for four consecutive years. This has become an annual Benefit Concert.
Personal statement: To the Tacy Foundation, I started playing piano in the third grade with Mrs. Holliday at her studio. As I progressed, I was able to play at Asbury Methodist Village. My favorite time was Christmas Eve when we played for the seniors. I would like to thank the Tacy Foundation for allowing me to be a volunteer through my senior year. I enjoyed planning the Blackrock events over the years and continued to be amazed by the talented students each year who prepared for the concert. Continued success to the Tacy Foundation in all you do. See you next year at Blackrock.
Bryce C. Edwards
Description: Looking for a way to give back charitably to others through his music, Dennis sought out the Tacy Foundation in middle school. Now a Senior in High School, he plays advanced music of the great Masters as well as his own compositions for audiences in the Nation’s Capital Area for charitable purposes. He also continues to win awards in Local and State Competitions. He continues to remember those less fortunate and to play his music to inspire them.
Dennis remains a treasure of knowledge, a congenial mentor, a loyal ally, a dedicated musician, and a passionate ambassador of the Foundation’s mission. His family serve the country through his father’s service in the United States Navy.
Personal statement: During this strange and stressful time, I truly believe in the power of music. No matter your situation, it is important to relax, even for a second. With my music, ideally you relax for the duration of the piece and tune out the world around you! I hope for nothing more than my music to recharge its listeners.
I wish the best for all of you! -Dennis
Description: Chief Intern for Harmony in Chantilly located in Herndon, Virginia, Kayleigh Hoang initialized Live Music for Seniors at this charming facility. Having participated in three other locations for the past three years for Tacy Foundation Live Music for Seniors events in Northern Virginia, she found an excellent opportunity to bring her artistry and strong leadership skills. Kayleigh has carried out the spirit and heart of the program with beauty, grace, and inspiration since its inception. Her ongoing legacy there of leadership and generosity will continue with her sister and friends in Northern Virginia.
Description: Evan remains an icon. His advocacy for all musicians to roll up their sleeves and play their music for those in need to make the world sing in harmony resonates among the entire student body of volunteers. While winning competitions, he portioned part of the purse for the Foundation’s programs. Always, he played in every kind of situation, in every place where the Foundation served, and crossed any cultural, socio-economic, and generational barriers with few words and beautiful music. He inspires us all!
Personal statement: The first time I volunteered for the Tacy Foundation was in 6th grade, at Asbury Methodist Village, and I remember it vividly. Being a classical pianist, it was the first time I had played something that was pop, a song called "All of Me," by John Legend. I remember the warmness with which the audience greeted and complimented me. I remember meeting Ms. Charlotte Holliday for the first time, a woman who changed my life and taught me lessons that I will never forget.
Being an ambitious and rather brash middle schooler, playing the piano was a way of self-validation. At that time, nothing would beat the joy and satisfaction of winning a piano competition. Hours and hours of hard work paid off. I was determined to win every competition I could. And so, piano became almost a sport.
As I gradually began volunteering more and more, at local senior homes, hospitals, and schools, I came to a realization. I remember the smiles of the elderly in wheelchairs, who would accidentally clap in between a movement of my Beethoven sonata. I remember seeing the awe of hospital patients, friends, and bystanders at Shady Grove Hospital as I performed a Chopin Concerto. I began to see the real value, the real power behind music. Music is a medicine that can heal and bring joy to various people of different backgrounds. It can inspire the youth, the elderly, the poor, the wealthy, the kind-hearted, and even those who might not have well intentions.
And as I went through my high school years, piano began to take on this different meaning. I made it my mission to use music to connect with as many people around the DC Metro area, but also around the world. As I continue my education next year at Yale University, I will always cherish the memories I have had with the Tacy Foundation, and especially Ms. Holliday, who has become one of my closest mentors in music, as well as life. I cannot express how grateful I am to everything she has contributed towards my musical growth. I am determined to continue her vision that she has instilled in me, throughout college, and beyond.
Description: Sahithi has volunteered since she was 9 years old when she moved to Maryland from Chicago. Her performances at Asbury were often and joyous. She has served as Chief Intern at Eden Home at Gainsborough Road for three years. Her trip to India to establish Piano Pals is documented in the May Newsletter. For 4 years she has mentored piano at Fox Chapel and Brown Station Elementary Schools. Her legacy will be long remembered.
Description: Holly has graced the Tacy Foundation programs with diligence, artistry, and imagination. Her six years of volunteer service include Live Performances in every house we have sponsored, CD Recordings every year on violin and piano, and lately on viola, hospital appearances everywhere we offer Live Music, Piano Pals Chief Internship at Brown Station ES for two years. Whenever invited, Holly came prepared to touch the hearts of every person in the room. Holly also brought many friends to events and showed them how to find purpose in their music. Her Solo CD has just been sent to First Responders in NYC and to Fisher Houses. Holly's legacy warms the heart and heals the soul.
Personal statement: Hi all, I’m very glad to have this opportunity to share music with you! Though I may not have been through what you are currently going through, I hope that our music can help brighten your days up. Through my years of learning music and volunteering for the Tacy Foundation, I have seen many times how music brings us together and heals us. I hope that this CD can bring us closer together as a community. Through its emphasis on empowering those at elementary schools, senior homes, hospitals, and Fisher Houses through music, the Tacy Foundation has helped me discover my lifelong goal of serving the community as a physician.
Description: Ashley Lee of Fairfax, Virginia, has served The Tacy Foundation with distinction. Without needing any special attention and encouragement, she has always known and understood the intrinsic precious value of music. And she has generously shared her hope for healing without ever needing any coaching. As Chief Intern for the George Mason Sunrise Senior Living Facility for two years, she hosted monthly Live Music programs with vitality and respect for the residents. Her visionary, self-motivated example will be passed on to the next Chief intern with the expert initial groundwork that Ashley has provided. We hope that she will continue to share her music charitably for others as a college student at Peabody, especially for a new opportunity at Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Hopkins has extended an ongoing invitation to play Live Music as patients wait for treatment.
Personal statement: I will be attending the Peabody Institute and Johns Hopkins University to pursue a degree in piano performance and a liberal arts minor.
Being a part of the Tacy Foundation has been such a humbling experience for me. Through my interactions with residents at nursing homes, I’ve seen and heard about the impact of live music from their reactions and the stories they’ve told me of their youth; this has deeply touched me and kept me grounded in the real meaning of music. Thank you to Ms. Holliday and all of the members of the Foundation for being so dedicated and inspiring! I’m so proud to have been part of this community and I know that I will continue to serve others through music in the future.
Description: Danny joined the Foundation to play piano. He loves jazz! He has recorded for CD Projects that are shipped to hospitals and Fisher Houses. Danny has also volunteered for two years at Town Center HOC Senior Residence. He taught an elderly man regularly and sent reports to us of this experience. Danny is a delightful young musician in any setting. He is a true philanthropist.
Description: Alexander volunteered to mentor elementary school children for the Guitar Pals® Program. His lessons were fun for the children as they took turns: piano for one part of the hour, and guitar for the other. A self-starter, Alexander came to find a way to help tiny hands play chords and tunes on the guitar, and he succeeded in leaving children at Fox Chapel and Brown Station ES with fond memories and a deep interest in music.
Description: Kavya has served as a performer for the Foundation since Elementary School, playing for Asbury Methodist Village Seniors often. As a high school student, she has been a compassionate Chief Intern for Gaisborough Road Eden Home for 3 years. She and Sahithi have shared monthly programs, even initiating g special spontaneous program for Mother's Day! Her dedication and care for others have been wonderful gifts to the Seniors.
Description: Jialin is a star performer in her own right. Consummate artist and competition winner, she joined the Foundation by invitation of other musician friends in Northern Virginia. When she came to NIH to play for the Noon Youth Concert Series, I met Jialin. She is a joy! To join other Tacy Foundation musicians these past 2 years, first as one of the pianists who performa at 3 sites, and then as Chief Intern for Tall Oaks in Reston has been a true gift to seniors and young performers. She is an inspiration to everyone.
Description: Natalya came to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in 8th as a budding artist. Her parents encouraged her to play for the staff, patients, and visitors on Saturday afternoons. Every week for 5 years she came and brought beauty and hope to many. She saw very ill patients, newborn babies, doctors, nurses, visitors pass by as she played the beautiful music of the masters. Natalya served as Chief Intern, taking the leadership role in organizing the steady stream of music, often for two hours each Saturday. Her music is now recorded on 3 solos/duet albums with her brother Vladimir. The current new Tacy Foundation CD has just been shipped to Fisher Houses, First Responders in NYC, and to Navajo Indian Service Hospitals where COVID-19 is raging as this is being written. Natalya has become an amazing, impassioned philanthropist.
Personal statement: My name is Natalya Volkova and I am a senior at Churchill High School. Soon, I will be graduating and entering a new, exciting chapter of my life by heading off to college. I joined the Tacy Foundation, along with my brother, when I was around 13 years old. I am now 18 and this Foundation has given me so many wonderful opportunities and has let me grow into the person that I am today. I am extremely thankful to Mrs. Holliday and my parents for letting me be a part of the Tacy Foundation. I'm blessed to be able to play music for those in need of healing and for the general public too."
Description: Michael Xie of Rockville, Maryland has served as Chief Intern of Hebrew Home and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital for three years, and five years as a volunteer for Saturday afternoon Live Music at Shady Grove Hospital. His beautiful service to the community continues with his 2020 CD for First Responders and Fisher Houses and Navajo Indian Health Service Hospitals. Here is his message on the 2020 CD to be sent out to First Responders and Fisher Houses:
Personal Statement: The poet Steven Wallace wrote: "Music is feeling then, not sound". This, I feel, perfectly expresses why music is so important to the human experience. It has the unique ability to touch the soul and make us feel, regardless of who we are or where we come from. Music is diverse, creative, and exciting, and it offers a medium through which we can experience something larger and greater than ourselves. During these dark and uncertain times, we hope that the music on our CD will offer some sort of comfort and healing, and in it, we can find the strength to face the challenges ahead.
Thank you. Michael
CONGRATULATIONS to the Graduating Seniors of 2020!
Thank you for Inspiring Hope and Blessing us With your Brilliance!