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Inspiring Hope in June 2020

Charlotte Holliday

Inspiring Hope In June 2020

To every youth and his or her family who has stepped forward to serve from home in the TEN Remote/Virtual Service Projects, thank you!

Since March 18th, our world has turned upside down, inside out, backwards, and sideways.   What had been heralded as a splendid upcoming spring for graduations, competitions, celebrations, sports spectaculars, and large cultural events, and family gatherings turned into silence………. at work, on the highway, schools, and every extracurricular event….. as quarantine for everyone in Maryland and Virginia shut down the world that we have known.

 

Within minutes of the Foundation’s posting of the quarantine projects listed on the Web Site, many youth sprang into action.  They made Get Well and Thank You Cards, assembled CDs for Fisher Houses, First Responders and hospitals, wrote email messages to seniors in lockdown, recorded their very best wishes and music on the YouTube private playlist. They reached out to the larger community that we have known and frequented for the past decade.  They sent wishes for safety and longing to be with their senior friends as soon as possible.  Rather than complain of disruption and closure of Live Music, they ramped up their efforts to touch the lives of those elderly who have made this wonderful world.  Live music through VIDEO has become the means to stay connected.  Youth continue to sign up as more and more kids hear how much the community needs their inspiration.

 

Considering that the children and teens are also undergoing enormous upheaval, their optimism has touched this community deeply.  As they learned how to go to school online, stay at home 24/7, give up sports, all dreams of graduations, closing events, prom, special recognitions, and the constant interaction with their peers, they have looked inside to the deep well of compassion and generosity for those who are elderly, sick, and first responders.  They continue to give back to their community as they struggle to make sense of the dangerous world of Covid-19.  These hundreds of youth in the nation’s capital are among my favorite heroes in the world!

 

Allow me to introduce Andrew Zhang, the Virginia, the Chief Intern for Larmax Homes in McLean.   

Andrew is a devoted Tacy Foundation Volunteer, a Champion of Live Music for Seniors.   He expresses his commitment by weekly visits to the Seniors in three facilities in McLean.  He organizes Live Performance, personal visits, and Piano Pals for Seniors.  Andrew serves with humility, compassion, and dedication from his heart.  The photo shows Andrew in his usual place at the piano with the Tacy Foundation Poster proudly displayed.  Read his message to us all and meet a true philanthropist.

 

“Amongst the hundreds of volunteer service hours that I have accumulated over the past few years, the experiences that have truly made a positive impact on me are from working at Larmax Homes, a trio of elderly homes located in McLean, Virginia. I began my journey working with Larmax Homes by being a Chief Intern at Tacy Foundation’s Live Music performances. These Live Music performances comprised of many young musicians who came from all over Virginia and played a vast range of instruments.

The first time I hosted one of these concerts was an experience I will never forget. As soon as I walked into the home, many of the residents were already sitting in chairs or wheelchairs that were placed around the piano. I could smell the sweet and rich scent of cookies being baked, I could hear the faint hum of a radio in the background, I could feel the expecting gazes of the residents in their chairs. It was my first time needing to talk for several minutes before beginning my performance; I was to introduce the Tacy Foundation, the other pioneering performers, and my own piano pieces, so I was quite nervous and kept hesitating while giving my speech. As the performance continued and performers got on and off the stage, many of the residents were smiling and swaying to the music. One of them was clapping her hands to the notes, it seemed like she had some background in music because often times she could predict what rhythms would be played next! At the end of the concert, the performers were greeted with a resounding round of applause. Each of us went to shake hands and have a short conversation with the residents. Every resident loved the performance, and I distinctly remember some of them talking about how they reminisced on a memory from the past while listening to our music. 

It is truly amazing how music can heal. Many of the audience members had dementia or other mental illnesses, but they were all extremely engaged with the performers after the concert and also felt very relaxed. Looking back at this time, I now understand how much I have benefited not only others, but also myself. Through the numerous times that I have given opening speeches before the Live Music performances at Larmax Homes, my ability to present in front of an audience has significantly improved. I am now confident while giving speeches; I am able to speak clearly and effectively during school and extracurricular presentations. It has been 12 years since I first started learning piano, and over this long period of time, the experiences I had playing piano for the residents at Larmax Homes have been so remarkable and memorable. I look forward to working with the Tacy Foundation to bring happiness and joy to as many as I can through music.”  

Andrew Zhang

Here are more stories to embolden and inspire you:

Keerthana Srinivasan, home from UMD because of the Quarantine, offered to create, organize, and manage the inaugural Tacy Foundation Video Live Music Library on YouTube.  The playlist is private for senior facilities and hospitals.
 

As soon as she posted this opportunity, many, many youth sent videos of their performances, both concerts and at-home performances with messages of encouragement to everyone.  Their music says it all!

Here is Keerthana’s story:



My name is Keerthana Srinivasan and I am leading the recording project in putting together various playlists in order to create a virtual library of songs. I am a senior, bioengineering major at the University of Maryland. I am so honored to take part of this recording project. The playlist that we have created contains a collection of music from students that are part of The Tacy Foundation. We are grateful for the number of students that have taken part in this project as it has created an exhaustive library that is vast with a variety of pieces from numerous composers.  

The tech team started the idea of a Youtube channel and playlist in order to continue a virtual format of live music at the communities we serve. In order to keep inspiring hope, strength, courage, and gratitude, we started this quarantine project that I hope will continue even after the pandemic rests. I understand how difficult it must be for everyone to adapt to these circumstances. Many patients, senior homes, first responders, and the medical community can ease their burden through this library of pieces. Providing them a virtual performance at the comfort and safety of their homes will surely encourage individuals and deliver the support that they need. 

This summer, we are planning on expanding our existing library of music and organizing it into playlists based on style and composer. We are so thankful to those that are able to contribute to the recording project and we would love to see more videos. The more videos you all send, the more variety we can provide to the communities. The students that are part of this playlist are so talented and dedicated. They have definitely inspired me to keep practicing the piano and keep up with my own music! Now is the time to do the things we love and serve with music. As of now, we have a little over 100 songs on the playlist! We appreciate everyone who has contributed to this library and demonstrated that music has the power to heal. 

Keerthana is ably assisted by Shairee Arora and Anika Seth.  

 

From Shairee:   

My name is Shairee Arora and I have been volunteering alongside Anika Seth and Keerthana Srinivasan to create a virtual music library. I am a rising sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School in the International Baccalaureate program and I have been with the Tacy Foundation for about 7 years. 

One of my favorite things to do was play music and preside over our monthly recitals at the Asbury Methodist Village for seniors so I was excited when I had the opportunity to continue bringing music to the seniors during this pandemic. We collected videos of students playing various music pieces and then compiled them into a Youtube playlist. Playing music at hospitals, senior centers, and other places not only brought joy to those listening, but to the students playing. This is why there was such a large interest in sending in songs, as all of us students wanted to find a way to continue to bring joy to our community during these tough times. My job along with Anika and Keerthana has been to take the videos emailed to us, ensure they are public domain, and upload them to the YouTube Playlist. 

As of now, we have over 100 beautiful videos in our playlist from so many amazing students, and there is a growing interest as we approach the summer. Thank you to everyone who has sent in videos! It has been a pleasure listening to and uploading everyone’s videos and I can’t wait to continue to help bring joy to everyone during these unprecedented times!

Shairee Arora

Emily Tam volunteers her piano experience to inspire courage for teens to serve as mentors for Title 1 children:

I would like to let Tacy Foundation volunteers and staff know that I have been very pleased to serve as a Chief Intern Piano Pals for the past three years.  I was a Piano Pals mentor for my first year of high school and Chief Intern on my Sophmore and Junior years at Brown Station Elementary school every Friday, and I hope to continue volunteering for Piano Pals for my senior year.  I am very serious about mentors taking this opportunity seriously, not just showing up every Friday. I want students to know how to play piano and to help them like piano.  During these three years, I saw some students keep participating in Piano Pals.

They improved a lot and became more interested in playing piano.  Seeing this interest grow encourages me to keep volunteering to mentor.  Of course, I love music and art.  I am happy to see kids have this chance to learn piano.  Thanks to Tacy Foundation for giving me the opportunity to teach them.

My mother (Amanda Kwok-Adult Site Supervisor) also appreciates how Tacy Foundation has helped students learn to know and love music, especially because these are the children who cannot afford to pay for music lessons.

Emily Tam

 

From Anika Seth, Communications Chief Intern for the Tacy Foundation:

My name is Anika Seth, and I’m a rising senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. I’ve been involved with the Tacy Foundation since the first grade, and in the eleven years since, I have had the distinct privilege of growing up both within and alongside the Foundation. Since when I started, in 2009, the Foundation has grown from one live performance a month at the Asbury Assisted Living Home in Gaithersburg, Maryland to over 70 live events a month all across Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the District – and that’s before we consider other projects, lke CD recordings and fundraisers.


In an article I wrote last year for the website’s blog describing what the Foundation means to me, I wrote that “the Foundation has taught us [volunteers] to communicate, to listen, to sympathize, and to empathize.” 
 

There has been no time that this sentiment has been truer than the present. We volunteers must remember that while the ongoing covid-19 pandemic continues to affect us all in different ways, we each are blessed with some level of fortune. I know that for me personally, I am lucky to have a comfortable roof over my head, relative financial stability, good health (with respect to myself and my immediate family), and above all, the unending support of my family members. Even when I feel anxious, even when I feel overwhelmed, and even when I feel alone, I have the privilege of falling back on that support, and it keeps me – and so many of us – going, taking it day by day. But for so many members of our community, especially residents of hospitals and senior homes, this is not the case. And to top it all off, they are also the demographic most predisposed to severe covid-19 complications, making this threat still more apparent for them.


There is no time to serve like the present. Amidst quarantine, the Foundation has managed to find a way to continue to make an impact, through a series of at-home covid-19 relief activities, including compiling an online library of live music and sharing it with hospitals and senior homes. We continue to leverage music – a tool that, above all, is used for connections, for hope, and for healing – to spread light in a time of darkness. We continue to leverage music – an activity that, while often misconstrued as primarily competitive, is instead a platform to dream, to share, and to love – to demonstrate our support. And we continue to leverage music to show all members of our community that even when they feel anxious, overwhelmed, and alone, we stand together in solidarity – now and always.


If you are unsure of where to start or where to go next, reach out to me at volunteer.thetacyfoundation@gmail.com or to Mrs. Charlotte Holliday, Founder & Executive Director, at thetacyfoundation@gmail.com. This summer, let’s all make it our priority to give back to our community. There is no time to serve like the present, and no effort is too big or too small.

Anika Seth

Thank you for your most kind responses!

Stay safe and healthy.

Give your generous gifts

of Music and Story.

You make a difference!

Charlotte Holliday, Founder and Executive Director
The Tacy Foundation

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