January 2024 Newsletter

January 2024

The Tacy Foundation empowers children and teens to share hope and joy with hospital patients, military veterans, senior citizens, and disadvantaged youth through performances, music recording projects, and music mentoring programs.

Check out the music we’re making!

Director’s Corner

Hundreds of cards flooded the three card drop boxes in Rockville, Germantown, and McLean.

The above photo shows a portion of the packages as they line up for mailing December 18th and delivery for the holiday season. All packages will be delivered by USPS or by hand delivery. A package will go to each senior facility and each hospital where we play live music! Omitted in the photo are the full packages to Sibley Memorial and Suburban Hospitals. Those were hand-delivered on December 17th before the photo was taken. Also, we send our holiday wishes to NIH Clinical Research Center in Bethesda.

Credit goes to each busy young artist and writer and to the amazing Cards Team that keeps order and beauty in the middle of mayhem. The Cards Team are Mario Lara, Eric Lou, and Rukmani Lara. The Adult Supervisor is Karina Willis-Lara. AWESOME work, everyone!

Thank you to parents who drove through heavy traffic to pick up and deliver the precious messages! Such dedication by our families warms the heart on the cold days of winter.

We send out to you -- through music, cards, music videos and children's stories on video playlists -- all our Best Wishes for a very Happy New Year!

Piano Pals Experiences

Part 1: Victoria Lai

Inspiring Hope Both Ways

Nandini Kumar

I started playing piano at 11 years old. The Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on my interest and love for piano. I was taking online lessons and couldn’t find any reason to play for myself. Aside from my piano lessons, my motivation to open a songbook and play a song disappeared. That was until I came across the Tacy Foundation through a friend, and I wondered if playing for others would give me incentive to keep playing.


So far, I’ve played through the Tacy Foundation in senior homes and hospitals. The beginning of my first performance was a bit nerve wracking, as I had not played in front of a live audience in a couple of years. As I continue to play for others, my confidence has greatly grown. Seeing smiles on people’s faces has brought me joy that I hadn’t experienced from piano before. It has given me a reason to keep practicing piano more often than I ever have before. Despite having a packed schedule due to school and other extracurriculars, I’ve found myself able to carve time to practice piano and play it for others. I believe that the slogan of the Foundation, “Inspiring hope, note by note,” goes both ways. By playing, not only am I able to inspire others, but also to inspire myself. I am extremely pleased with my decision to give volunteer performances, as it has rekindled my interest in piano, and I can’t wait to keep playing in the new year.

A Resounding Success

Sophia Lin

On December 17th, the dedicated volunteers of the Tacy Foundation once again graced Sunrise of McLean with a delightful festive concert. This musical celebration was made possible by the unwavering commitment of long-time volunteers and pianists Claire Peng and Gregory Peng, as well as new volunteers to this location, guitarist Alan Yu and violinist Brian Yu. Together, we created a program offering a diverse array of instruments and talents.


As I played the opening and closing pieces this Sunday, I couldn't help but reflect on the contrasts between this year's holiday concert and last year’s. Last year, I presented a solo performance featuring only one performer and one instrument. This year, however, we proudly introduced new faces and sounds to the audience. I was inspired to make Sunrise of McLean a performance site for Tacy because of last year’s holiday concert, and I am motivated to continue because of this year’s concerts. I am profoundly thankful for the Tacy Foundation's unwavering support in providing opportunities for young musicians to contribute to the community.


The 30 or so senior residents were extremely enthusiastic about our ongoing effort to bring music to them. At the end of the concert, we reassured the senior residents that Tacy volunteers are excited to perform at Sunrise again in the new year. The kind words and resounding applause from the residents serve as a powerful motivator, encouraging us to continue spreading hope through our music.

From left to right: Sophia Lin, Gregory Peng, Claire Peng, Brian Yu, and Alan Yu

Alan Yu performing on his guitar

A Personal Reflection on Empathy and the Tacy Volunteers

Michael Favin (newsletter editor)

Having lived and worked for about 10 years in some 30 developing countries, I have both an “insider” and an “outsider” perspective on the United States and people who live here. Overall, I feel that too many Americans seem to be hyper-individualistic and materialistic, extremely focused on themselves with little or no concern for others. Just look at the way many people drive as exhibit #1. It astounds me how so many Americans lack sympathy and appreciation of new immigrants, given that this is a nation of immigrants and given how hard most first-generation immigrants work to try to give a better life to their children. (This is not a comment on immigration policy and its enforcement, which are very complex issues.)


These statements are broad generalizations, of course, as many Americans are courteous, concerned about other people, and try to help their own and other communities.


My dictionary defines empathy as “the ability to share in another’s emotions, thoughts, or feelings.” Consistent, perhaps, with American individualism, it seems to me that many Americans lack empathy for others. It also seems that empathy is not in short supply among the Tacy Foundation volunteers (of all ages). Tacy volunteers do care about residents of hospitals and nursing homes, the victims of natural disasters and violence, and their families. Tacy volunteers both stimulate and receive joy from their efforts. I suspect that, when they begin their volunteer work, many of the young musicians (and card- and story-makers) are already empathetic and that their empathy grows as they get to know some of the people they hope to cheer up and as they enjoy people’s appreciation of their efforts. In addition, it is lovely to see that these young people bring their attitudes, skills, and experiences into adulthood, with the result that they will become the kind of empathetic Americans that will make this a better country.

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 through 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

Zoe Bell, Teen Editor

Max Belyanstev, 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!  

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