March 2021 Newsletter

Inspiring Hope
March 2021
Director’s Corner: March 18, 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown here in the Nation’s Capital Area.  At the close of every week and month, I have thought that we were near its end.  Not so.  There is more to come.
The opportunity to lift others has never been more urgent and demanding than now. Youth, parents, first responders, hospital staff, hospital administrators, nursing home staff, senior citizens, neighbors, friends, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, diverse nationalities and socioeconomic levels…all exemplify hope. The Tacy Foundation youth volunteers, parents, and staff offer our very best efforts to all those whom we serve and to all those whom we will continue to serve in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.  Kindly lift up your hearts as you read the ongoing stories of this generation's vision, courage, ingenuity, and boundless hope.
Tacy Foundation Project Updates
New Club at Urbana High School in Maryland

Longtime Tacy volunteer Rebecca Fan is organizing a new club at Urbana High School called Inspiring Through Music. The club will liaise with the Foundation to help support and grow music-related service projects in the local community. The idea formed as Rebecca and other students at Urbana High School crafted hundreds of holiday cards that the Foundation sent to senior homes across the state. On behalf of the Tacy Foundation and students at Urbana High School, Rebecca also presented hundreds of cards to the Volunteer Director at Frederick Memorial Hospital.  After securing staff counselors from Urbana High School and authorization from the school’s administration, The Club will officially become active on  February 26th.  We are so thrilled by this new club's initiation and ecstatic about our future partnership.
Piano Pals for Seniors

We are excited to announce a new expansion of our Piano Pals project. Pre-approval for Student Service LearningCredit from Montgomery County Public Schools has been offered to prospective youth  mentors for Piano Pals for Seniors for this virtual training! Mr. Richard Pedersen, who serves as a music mentor for seniors, has volunteered to teach this course. The Faber Company has donated all Piano Adventures for Adult Beginners books for Piano Pals for Seniors. The relationship between teens and seniors has a multitude of benefits for all involved.  Young people share their love for music with the seniors, and the seniors impart their invaluable life experience with the teens. These relationships are unique and rare.  We are so fortunate to have this unique opportunity to begin these trainings in preparation for youth volunteers to forge those relationships.
New internship opportunity for volunteers

The Foundation is currently seeking two Maryland students to lead a Live Video Concerts project in Maryland, similar to what Alexander Suh and Anna Hsu are launching in Virginia. This project would organize performances, coordinate youth musicians and senior Foundation leadership, and document all events and artist participation through spreadsheets. Two internships are available for the Live Video Concerts project. A third -- and maybe fourth -- internship is also available for a tech-savvy student interested in working with the online video library. The current master playlist of student performances will ideally be broken down into shorter, themed playlists to be sent to senior facilities and hospitals. Additionally, the role will involve marketing these videos to a wider audience throughout the area. If you are interested, please contact and for more details.
Being a Tacy Volunteer during the Pandemic - A Connection to Love
My name is Sean Wang, and I am a 7th grader. I have participated in various activities held by the Tacy Foundation since I was in 6th grade. When I first started, I played piano in hospitals and nursing homes for patients and the elderly. This experience not only helped me improve my performance skills but also taught me how I can “talk” to people with my music. Being able to do something for the community also brings me a lot of positive energy. 
I also joined the Composers' Circle to learn how to compose my own music. After the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, I was sad that I could no longer perform at hospitals and nursing homes. However, thanks to the online projects provided by the Tacy Foundation, I could still record my piano playing and share it with seniors. I have also made a few violin recordings in addition to piano, and I am so glad that I can share those recordings with the elderly and patients. 
If there had been anything good brought about by the pandemic, it would certainly be the remote Composers’ Circle. Instead of learning face-to-face, I have been able to attend Michael’s Composers’ Circle remotely. I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity. I look forward to every Tuesday when I will “meet” with Michael from Cincinnati! I learned so much from him in the past months. So far, I have composed two sonatas and a string quartet, and am currently working on my 3rd sonata! 
I am very grateful for the opportunities that the Tacy Foundation provides. Because of them I can bring joy to my community by doing something that I enjoy. Even with the isolation caused by the pandemic, I am still connected to people with love. Thank you, Tacy Foundation.
New Compositions from Composers’ Circle
Submitted by Composer/Teacher Michael Tacy
Sean Wang's Sonata Mvt. 2
A short invention by Alex Doan
Looking Back
Ashley Lee, College Freshman and Foundation Alumna
Over the past few years, my love of music has grown so much as I've deepened my understanding of the meaning behind performing and sharing music. Much of this stemmed from working with The Tacy Foundation.  When I served as the Chief Intern of Sunrise at George Mason, I was always very inspired and humbled by the seniors I interacted with. For instance, a man told me about how he used to attend concerts at the Kennedy Center, but due to his health, traveling there became much harder. He then expressed how much he looked forward to performances at Sunrise because he could still hear live music.
I am now in my second semester at Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, and I still frequently think about these experiences because of the profound impact they've made on my development as a musician and a person. This was particularly evident when I took a course called Exploring Arts Careers this past fall. The content in this class revolved around concepts like citizen artistry, connecting with an audience, and using art as a healing power. I found that these topics were naturally tied to my volunteer work, which shows how integral it was in introducing me to so many important ideas and values.
A Survivor’s Tale
Gabrielle, nineteen-year-old survivor
I will not lie, sugarcoat, or trivialize my experience in any way. I have endured a great deal in my short nineteen years, which have placed me in compromising positions and traumatic situations. I will discuss one of these situations, and how music and the sharing and expression of music aided me and those in my situation.

In the winter of 2019, I was depressed. My toil with life had become arduous and taxing, a battle that was wearing away my confidence, pride, and self-esteem. I felt as though there were chains around my ankles and a noose around my neck, suffocating me and restricting any and all of my movements. The weight of depression was like the ashes of Pompeii on my back, too much for me to bear, and I felt as though I could not escape. This led to my eventual hospitalization, which I can honestly say, saved my life. There I worked to lessen my stresses by returning to the things I once loved–– and something that I have and always will love is music. 
I believe I have an eclectic taste of music. I do not prefer radio music or pop, but more of the oldies and independently made music. This has made me shy away from performing publicly for many years, out of the fear of judgment. Nevertheless, around Christmas of 2019 I was in the hospital with people two-to-three times my age, who had never heard my music and had listened and enjoyed some of the classics I preferred. There was a piano and a computer there, so I printed some Morrissey and sat down at my once-revered altar: the piano. I began playing, and as I did, people came in and began singing along and dancing, as though it was the 1980s again. “There is a light that never goes out” by Morrissey, a favorite of mine, seemed to be quite adored by others. In this bleak time, people who had been abandoned by family and felt lonely during this holiday, together somewhere that, let’s face it, was not our first choice, embraced camaraderie, fun, and I dare to say, joy.
Although life can be challenging at times, because believe me I know it can be, things such as musical expression can not only liven your mood but also the mood of those around you. I am happy to have shared this experience with you, so thank you.
Editor’s note: This powerful story reminds us that if you feel depressed or extremely stressed, seek counsel from someone who can help you find your own way to feeling more relaxed. Music, physical activity, meditation, going out in nature, and opening up to good friends are among the ways that may help.
Becoming the Author of a Children’s Story
Sydney Finch 
Hello, my name is Sydney, and I am a senior in high school. I first started working with the Tacy Foundation last fall at the start of the holiday season. I was looking for ideas for holiday songs that I could perform and make videos of, but unfortunately a lot of my favorites were copyrighted. So instead of performing songs of other artists, I decided to try to write my own Christmas song. 

I’ve always loved to sing, and I had a GarageBand app on my iPad, so I thought, “how hard could it be?” Needless to say, writing the song and making the recording was a bit more difficult than I expected, but it was such a fun experience, and I am so thankful that I got to share something that was so personal to me with the community. More recently, using my old stuffed animals as inspiration, I wrote a children’s story for the Foundation. I made a recording of myself reading it, and then added some pictures to illustrate the video. 

Technology has been such a blessing as I’ve been working on these projects because there are so many free photo and video editing apps that help to make the creative process easier and a lot more fun. I know it can sometimes be scary to perform and “put yourself out there” so to speak, but we each have unique gifts, and when we share those with others, we can have a huge impact on someone’s life. I’ve always enjoyed reading stories and listening to music, and these things have been great encouragers to me in the past, so I have had a blast getting to share my passion for music and stories with the community and using something I enjoy to help those around me.
God Bless, Sydney Finch
Enjoy Sydney’s original children’s story for Reading Express. Written, illustrated and narrated by Sydney, the book can make a child’s imagination and soar, especially during the confinement of COVID-19.
A New Adventure and a New Friend.
Virtual Live Music Streaming
Alexander Suh and Anna Hsu
Anna Hsu and Alexander Suh launched Virtual Live Music Streaming in February! Here is Anna’s Story of originating Live Streaming and recording for video library of 45 minute to 1 hour concerts for a wider audience of seniors and hospitals:
I would be honored to lead volunteers in Virginia! I've asked Alex (Sasha) Suh to help out with this project, since it's much easier with two people, and we worked together to get this performance off the ground. Once someone takes the lead in Maryland, we'd be willing to work with them to share our process of organizing live events. We're currently preparing a document to remind performers what they need to do before they perform, and we'll share it with you when we're ready!
I've made the email account at  We'll be streaming from Streamyard directly into this channel, and you can find our performance from yesterday there, or by clicking on this video. 
Live Streaming Music. Video begins at 5:05, scroll ahead.
We're going to be hosting another performance with another group of interested students sometime in the next two weeks to try to smooth out things, and we'll send you the link when we're ready!
Thank you so much for your support throughout this process. We can't wait to bring more programs to you in the future! I'll let you know if there's anything else from my end, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments. -- Anna
Award Winner!
Evan Bian
On February 19, just as we were putting together this newsletter, we learned that Tacy Foundation volunteer Evan Bian had earned the President's Volunteer Service Gold Medal Award for devoting over 100 hours to make 1,020 homemade holiday cards and sending 30 holiday email messages. Evan’s cards were of his own designs, with hand-written messages and stickers and labels on each card. His brother Andrew has been busy also. He made 360 decorated holiday cards and sent 30 email messages.  
The Bian Brothers Reflect

“When writing the letters, I felt extremely grateful that I was helping people, and cheering them up during these tough times. It made me feel good that I was sending cards to first responders, healthcare professionals, and the sick. This was an eye-opening experience that let me and others help people all around the country during this pandemic.” -- Andrew

“I am grateful that I was able to help families during these tough times by making cards. During the process of making cards, I felt glad that I was able to help lift people’s moods and put smiles on people’s faces. Making cards was a very enlightening experience that I learned a lot from.” – Evan
The Importance of Music Theory
It’s one thing to play music; it’s another thing to understand it. Music theory is the underlying basis for a world of notes, rhythms, and chords that all come together to form the music we play. However, many students aren’t able to appreciate the nuances and progressions behind the music they play. Building on Faber’s Theory Books, Chief Interns Ethan Schenker and Keerthana Srinivasan are writing a ten-part theory curriculum that works in tandem with the existing Piano Pals program, teaching students time signatures, different keys, and sightreading. To integrate theory into the existing one-hour Piano Pals block, the Chief Interns are tentatively planning on using the 30 minutes that students aren’t in lessons to deliver the instruction. 

Piano Pals has been running successfully for years in elementary schools across the DMV, introducing Title 1 students to the world of music. Just as Piano Pals mentors completed a ten-week virtual training on the Faber Curriculum, the mentors will review a series of presentations that gives them the tools to effectively deliver the theory curriculum to young students. Although complicated at first, music theory utilizes basic math to fill each measure, and follow the time signature. In addition to helping them in school, an understanding of theory will enable students to continue their musical education beyond Piano Pals, giving them an understanding of music that spans far beyond the pieces they’ve learned. 

For more information on the theory project and Piano Pals, please email or
The Tacy Foundation

Educational Mission: Foster youth development through music, story and mentoring

Philanthropic MissionEmpower 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
Composers’ Circle
Music CDs
Musical equipment
Donations are appreciated. 
Thank you!

Donate online via Paypal at:
Or send your donation to: 
The Tacy Foundation 
Box 2334
Germantown, Maryland 20875
Ask to donate a very small portion of your order to The Tacy Foundation.  The Foundation will receive a small percentage of your purchases.  A very easy way to donate at no additional cost to you!
Charlotte Holliday, Executive Director
Matthew D. Scott, Graphic Editor
Michael Favin, Chief Editor
Anika Seth, Chief Teen Editor
Siddharth Kondam, Teen Editor
Ethan Schenker, Teen Editor
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