July 2023 Newsletter

July 2023

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

As beautiful cards flow into the Card Team’s boxes, we collect them and prepare shipments to 64 Fisher Houses throughout the USA. The handmade cards include QR codes on the business cards designed by composer Michael Tacy. We will also send a shipment to First Responders Children Foundation. MCPADNET ships out on June 26th for arrival by the3rd of July. 

Happy Independence Day!

This is a joyful time to remember the birth of our great nation and to remember with deepest gratitude those who offer their lives to serve their country.  Below are two of the volunteers’ cards. Additional cards are shown in the following story.

Painting by Marielou Holmes; music print by World Beat Music, composed by James Plakovic

Thank You Cards to Encourage the Military

Rukmani Lara, Tacy Foundation Volunteer

Many volunteers participated in this year’s Tacy Foundation cards project to encourage and thank military members for their and their families’ service. As in other years, the cards were shared with military personnel at Fisher Houses and with First Responders Children. The packages included business cards that display QR codes with links to music.

All the cards were uplifting, encouraging and clearly communicated our appreciation to the military personnel and their families for their commitment to our country. Thank you to the volunteers for participating in the project and to Mcpadnet for sending them to so many locations. Also, thank you to Ms. Holliday for collecting and bringing the cards to Mcpadnet for delivery.

Mario and Ruki Lara

Young Composer Spotlight

Michael Tacy, Lydia Schwartz

Composer’s Circle continues to grow and more and more amazing original pieces are being created every week.

This Month features a waltz written by the Tacy Foundation’s own Lydia Schwartz, who was challenged to write in a style unfamiliar to her.

She said she had a lot of fun writing it and the piece is just beautiful. Watch the video of the piece below!

Waltz in E Major - Lydia Schwartz.mscz by Lydia Schwartz

Our Wonderful Program Manager

Charlotte Holliday

Alison Boynton has served the Tacy Foundation youth and senior residents in the Washington, D.C. area for five years. After finding us in Montgomery County Volunteer Services, she attended a Black Rock benefit concert and reception sponsored by my studio for the Foundation. Aiming both to give back to the community and to utilize her executive management skills, she inquired about a management volunteer position in the summer of 2018. Ms. Boynton came at a time when the Foundation was growing far beyond our imagination.

Upon becoming a 501c3 nonprofit in 2009, The Tacy Foundation opened Live Music for Seniors in two or three senior facilities. Shortly thereafter, we were invited to open Live Music events in new places. As word spread in the assisted-living community about this opportunity for young people to play live music, more and more doors opened. Relationships between seniors and the young musicians continued to grow throughout the years, as did opportunities for the musicians’ growth. By 2012, we were playing regularly in seven senior facilities every month. These events were in addition to four weekly events in hospitals and the start of Piano Pals in FARMS schools and HOC Residences (Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County).

We continued to keep our promise to youth and their music every month to cheer seniors and to remind them of our youths' gratitude for them. By March of 2020 we expanded to 17 senior facilities. Ms. Boynton continued to track dates and times for every senior center as well as names of activity directors, chief interns, parents, and students. She corresponded with each facility with respect and efficiency and grew cordial relationships with senior facility staff as well as with Tacy teens and their parents.  

When the COVID epidemic worsened in late March of 2020, all senior facilities closed to the public. Ms. Boynton continued to communicate through email. She sent messages from the kids, hand-drawn pictures from them, and games, puzzles, and hand-made cards. She continued to reach out to seniors and staff with love and optimism as she organized new projects for the youth enrolled in the Foundation. As in-person opportunities resumed in 2022, her work gradually multiplied beyond belief. She is now managing 23 senior facilities!

I am among hundreds of volunteers who deeply appreciate all the behind-the-scenes efforts that Alison Boynton has undertaken with care to handle our work. She makes the management of chief interns and participants lighter for parents, other volunteer staff, and certainly for me.  

Even when she has been out of the area on travel, Alison has always continued to coordinate and secure the Foundation's music events for multiple facilities. When she began in 2018, there were seven senior facilities to manage. The coordination task, already formidable then, has more than tripled today.

Although her job to coordinate and schedule monthly live music events for the seniors has always been a challenge, Alison became more and more immersed in initiating and securing specific dates and times for each senior facility. As the enrollment grew and grew, and more facilities requested the power of youth and music just before COVID, she became more and more immersed in communications among parents, teen volunteers, and staff of assisted-living directors. Truly, under her careful liaison work, our growth has continued to grow solidly, with conviction and steadfast support from families and from the community. As COVID sheltering in place lifted, we experienced an incredible burst of interest in Live Music for Seniors and in requests from new facilities.  

Recently, In mid-June, the new month and dates for Live Music were being assembled for July and August, the summer term. Naively, I offered to help with summer scheduling as Alison was on travel out of the country and having challenges connecting all the dots remotely for smooth transition into the summer and fall schedules. As I began to sort out who would be going where and when, I was stunned by the enormity of this job!!!! To finish up the summer scheduling for our senior assisted-living facilities and chief interns and parents, I met with a tsunami of work -- back-and-forth emails from all parties, changes in plans, changes in chief interns, last-minute cancellations, new volunteers looking for just the right program -- all areas that Alison embraces with such dignity, skill, and diplomacy.  

Oh my! What a whirlwind I found in setting up two months of Live Music for Seniors events! Alison Boynton earns my respect and all of our thanks every day. She is my hero!  

Thank you, Alison, for five years of dedication, brilliance, and inspiration!

Alison and Jenny Utz, the data manager for all volunteer hours for everyone (and another story soon, if she allows) are the drivers of efficiency in planning and documentation on a year-round basis. These managers, the volunteer youth, parents, teachers, and activity directors are the living reminders of what generosity and good will abound among us all.

Thank you!

Performance at the Walter Reed National Medical Military Center

Wei Liu, Site Supervisor

Four of our wonderful players did a terrific job today, June 20, at the America Building of the Walter Reed Medical Military Center: (left to right in the photo) Holly Lam, Aliki Shoemaker, Shaun Wang, and Samuel Wang. We were delighted that this was Samuel’s first time joining us and that Holly rejoined us. Also special thanks to Ms. Holliday for coming down and bringing the medals.

Holly Lam reflects: It was a pleasure to perform in the concert at Walter Reed! I started playing in these concerts in 2016 during my high school years as an American Red Cross VolunTEEN, and playing again has been very meaningful to me. I also really enjoyed getting to know Aliki, Shaun, and Samuel. The atmosphere at Walter Reed was incredible, filled with a sense of gratitude and resilience. I had a great time speaking with passersby and connecting with the audience. Since July 4th is coming up, I played Souvenir d'Amerique by Henri Vieuxtemps, a thrilling piece that captures the spirit of patriotism and celebration. It was enthusiastically received by the patients, their families, and staff members, who were all appreciative of the uplifting performance!

A Good Day at Black Rock

Charlotte Holliday

Dear Volunteers, thank you for your support for this spring's tenth fundraiser concert at BlackRock Center for the Performing Arts. What a great celebration!  Each one has found a voice in the community through music and art through their participation in The Tacy Foundation's outreach to senior citizens, underprivileged children, first responders, disaster victims, and military members. This year’s benefit concert displayed their talent and encouraged support for funding the ongoing programs (listed on the flyer below).

The concert featured those on the left side of the program (see Black Rock Program below). Once again, families came to hear music and share stories of the ongoing programs and new activities created and staffed by all-volunteer youth and adults. This community has supported all the projects listed on the flyer. Mr. Richard E. Pedersen, President, hosted the event with warmth and humor.

We extend our thanks to FastSigns for the posters and to McPadnet for the printed programs, flyers, and QR Code business cards.

The excellent staff at BlackRock Center supported setup, lighting, amplification, and reception. For accommodating every aspect of the event, we were so grateful for the warmth and enthusiasm of each staffer. CEO Katie Hecklinger graciously appeared with a very positive, enthusiastic presence for us that evening as well. We all felt welcome and appreciated by the management and set-up crew.

Thank you to all volunteers who came to play as well as to those who came to appreciate the performers.  Graduating seniors from the studio are Shairee Arora, Mridhula Bharathwaj, Kavi Daliparti, Armon Emtiaznoori, Emily Le, Medhini Muralidharan, Nora Paulson, Jake Porter, and Lilian Wang. All have participated in the varied music projects as Tacy Foundation participants and all have become young philanthropists.

Top Row:  Excellence Awards, Alexander David Daniels, Riona Sheikh

2nd Row: Richard Pedersen, President, Vinh-Khang and Lanvy Newgen, Trophies, Poster of the event

3rd Row: James Horng, Vedd Chandane, Amir Foosherian

4th Row: Original Paintings for CDs by Marielou Holmes, Alex Daniels, Ms. Holliday, Zoe Bell, and Anika Seth

5th: Row: Avi Gupta, Farhan Zaman

6th Acrylics Awards for Chief Interns,

7th row: Graduating Seniors:  Kavi Dalipart, Lilian Wang, Mridhula Bharathwaj, Armon Emtiaznoori, Shairee Arora; Awards & Certificates, Khoa Hoang and Alex Daniels.

We would not have had such a festive gala without the guidance and artistry offered by Karen Edwards through the years. She has taught us how to celebrate at BlackRock Concert Hall, how to design and present awards, and how to enjoy delicious food for delightful receptions. This year is the first that she has missed in 11 years. We all missed her special Holliday Studio and Tacy Foundation Oreo cookies and colorful balloons!

Returning and speaking with passion and vision were Zoë Bell and Anika Seth. Zoë is an inaugural Tacy Foundation youth volunteer. Anika, now a rising junior at Yale University, arrived on the scene as a seven-year-old shortly after the Foundation began. Both have contributed in every capacity of service through their entire childhood and teen years. Also, Richaa Kalva, now a graduate of Boston University, helped set up reception tables. Richaa was one of the first mentors for Piano Pals at Fox Chapel ES. Victoria Aghamalian, a rising senior at Hood College, came to manage the reception. She volunteered for Asbury Live Music for 10 years and for Piano Pals at Gaithersburg ES for four years. Victoria is heading to law school after college graduation. Julia Ting, a rising junior at UMD in nursing and her parents joyfully returned to help with the festivities.  All of the above performed at BlackRock Center during their high school years.

You will see the contributions of Zoë this summer as assistant to Mr. Favin, editor of Inspiring Hope. She will assist in his excellent work with her own vision as a rising senior journalism major at American University.

Winnie Chen arrived for the evening to take photos of the event. You have seen her fine work for the Turkey benefit concerts. Winnie has produced single photos of performers, the reception area and awards, and a collage of the event.

At the writing of this newsletter, we are still receiving funds. To date, we have raised more than $1200 for the Foundation's programs. Thank you to families and friends who have led in the financial support of The Tacy Foundation!  All donations support Composer's Circle, Piano Pals teaching materials and other supplies, Piano Pals for Seniors, QR Code cards for the Fisher Houses nationwide, and First Responders Children Foundation.

At this time of year, we all are excited about the coming summer of fun and play. New music, new opportunities to grow. We thank you for journeying with us.  

NIH Concert

Max Belyanstev

On June 21, 2023, I and several other Tacy Foundation volunteers gathered at the atrium of the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center to present a Noon Concert for the Center’s patients and staff. The performers’ beautiful piano, violin, and cello music spread throughout the atrium and adjacent hallways, rooms, and floors overlooking the atrium space.

We are incredibly thankful for the gracious help of Janice Duran, from the NIH Office of Communications and Media Relations, to coordinate this concert. The Clinical Center’s atrium is a lovely performance venue with very grand acoustics. The Steinway & Sons grand piano is an absolute delight and allows performers’ musicality to truly shine through.

The Clinical Center at NIH provides an incredible opportunity for young musicians like us to engage meaningfully with our community and apply the skills we have developed over years of practice and hard work. We hope that our performances bring moments of comfort, joy, and peace to the people who dedicate their lives to the important scientific and medical developments taking place at NIH.

View some of the performances at NIH:

NIH Noon Concert on 06/21/23
NIH Noon Concert on 06/21/23

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

Evan Yee, 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!  

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.