Inspiring HopeMay 2021Director’s Corner: Springtime opens our hearts and minds to new possibilities, new life, new hope.
Thank you once again for reading the stories of sheer generosity and courage from the youth in the nation’s capital. April and May have sprouted the emergence of Live Music in three locations: Harmony in Chantilly, VA, Tall Oaks in Reston, VA, and Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, MD. A very memorable experience for me personally was attending the Tall Oaks concert on April 17th. The seniors’ excitement filled the large room when they saw and heard their young friends in person playing piano and violin. Despite the COVID testing, temperature tests, swiping down of everything, plexiglass barrier between seniors and performers, safe-distancing at all times, and uncomfortable masks, the youth played their beautiful music for the most attentive, appreciative audience I have seen.Message from Tall Oaks Assisted Living in Reston, Virginia
Thank you for your kind words. I will make sure to pass them on to our team members. Residents’ and guests’ safety is our top priority during these times, so we will not let our guard down until it is safe to do so. Thank you for following our protocols, we appreciate it.
As you may already know, music is an excellent tool to improve health, enhance moods, and even improve memory. Among the psychological benefits of music, I would like to mention: a happier outlook on life and better social interaction, especially in elderlies. Music has been shown to enhance moods, improve interest levels and increase positive emotions. Those diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have been known to increase communication with others after listening to music since a song can trigger a memory from when they were younger, and reminiscing is their favorite past time. Music also promotes positive overall health. We have noticed that residents who listen to music often have better nights’ sleep, diminished pain and improved recovery time. Music has also been shown to increase mobility, coordination, and overall cognitive abilities. Because it has proven to help stimulate brain activity, music is the best therapy for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents. Some of these patients who have lost the ability to speak are still able to hum along with songs. We see music as a gift, so we offer it to our residents as often as we can because we know it helps them live better. The fact that it is brought to them by younger people gives the residents hope. It fills their hearts with joy, as many of them played an instrument in their early years, or they remember their kids or grandkids taking lessons. It becomes personal to them when they see young artists performing.
The young performers were true artists: they performed with grace and passion. The residents stopped me numerous times today to praise them. We are looking forward to host more recitals in the near future, hopefully quarterly, if possible. The residents in the audience did consent to have their photo shared. Unfortunately, my assistants did not have a great angle to take a photo of the performer and the audience in the same frame, given the required 6 feet distance, but I am attaching what I have. They will do better next time, as we had a training today on this exact topic by our community relations director.
Thank you again for coming to Tall Oaks, we are looking forward to the next recital.
-- Activity Director, Adina Cimpean
Performance at Tall OaksAndrew Zhang, pianistSonia Cupala, PianistFarrah Cupala, ViolinistHow My Perspective on Music ChangedMandy GuoOne of my most memorable moments while performing for The Tacy Foundation was when I was playing Nocturne in B Major by Frédéric Chopin at the Shady Grove Hospital. While I was performing, I noticed a man coming up to listen. After I finished my performance, he came up and complimented my playing. He told me that his mother, who was in the hospital, had asked him to come down to see who was performing. He told me she loved this piece and used to play it all the time. She was very pleased to hear a familiar piece, and it brought both of them a lot of memories.
We talked a little bit more about our own views on the piece. After he left, I decided I wanted to perform again at the end of the session in the hopes that both of them would be able to enjoy it while they were in the hospital. After this experience, my views on music completely changed. I realized how important music is to people and how much it impacts everyone in our everyday lives. I began to truly appreciate the value of music not just to the performer, but also to the audience.
Now that we’re all stuck inside because of COVID-19, we haven’t been able to perform in person. Even still, we’re trying our best to bring music to everyone, wherever they may be, in the hopes of spreading optimism and strength to better overcome the current situation.
– Mandy GuoPersonal Growth While Helping OthersVincent LeeI have loved performing for senior citizens and hospital patients ever since I started in 6th grade. Through performing, not only did I establish a connection through music with the audience, but I also gained many essential skills in public performing and speaking, while sharpening my musical technique. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, large gatherings and performances were no longer safe, so I needed to find other ways of helping the community. At first, I was a little stumped, but after looking at the Tacy Foundation winter projects list for inspiration and ideas, I discovered something I could do: writing books!
At first it seemed easy to just write a few sentences and draw some pictures. I had read many picture books as a child, so I was familiar with what they were like; however, I was unaware of how long it actually took to write and illustrate even a simple book. The first step would be brainstorming ideas for the story, such as the setting, plot, and characters. The setting was easy to pick, but I ran into a little trouble with the characters and plot. I wanted the story to be an exciting adventure to keep kids interested, but I also wanted it to be relatable to their lives in the future. I settled with the idea of the first day of school. Although my own experience was long forgotten, I had a sister who was undergoing the process so, using her as inspiration, I started writing. Next were the characters. I liked the idea of animals acting like humans since they ignited imagination (and animals were easier to draw), so I chose a giraffe. Next were the illustrations. I had always loved art. Even as a child I loved to draw, so I put my skills to the test. After a few hours of work, I finally finished the book, and although it wasn’t long, I was proud of it. Through this experience, I discovered talents that I had never known or pursed.
I truly thank the Tacy Foundation for giving me these opportunities to discover more about my skills and myself, while helping out the community in such harsh times. I really hope we can return to normal soon so I can continue to serve the Tacy Foundation in making our community a better place.
– Vincent LeeContinuing to Perform and Grow during the PandemicRoy FischmanI enjoyed playing in the virtual concert. It was very cool that the concert was taped and sent to seniors all around the area. I hope they enjoy our playing.
I’ve also enjoyed playing piano for seniors and hospital patients at Shady Grove, which helped improve my public performance skills and hopefully made other people happy! I've really enjoyed doing some improvisations, and I just really enjoyed the whole experience. I've also enjoyed improving my compositions and style with Michael Tacy at the Composer's Circle. Spending time with these people has really helped me with my keyboard skills and made me more confident. Thank you for providing this opportunity to me and everyone else.
– Roy FischmanVolunteer Service Award ReflectionAbhijeet GhodgaonkarI am truly honored to have received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award because of my volunteer activities for the Tacy Foundation. This past year has been like no other, forcing people to take precautions that isolate them from each other. Because of COVID-19, patients in hospitals and seniors in nursing homes cannot see their families. I wanted to help them by giving them joy during this time of isolation, so they could feel comforted and get through these tough times.
Even though I got the award, there are so many people who deserve much more. Doctors, nurses, and all other workers have had to face various hardships and risks yet found the strength and courage to keep going. They are ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, and it’s up to us to encourage them. I hope my creations can serve that purpose.
I also want to thank Ms. Holliday and the Tacy Foundation for giving us many opportunities to serve the community.
I really loved helping those in need of emotional support by making several greeting cards, jokes, and puzzles to cheer them up. I also recorded some piano songs for them to enjoy. It makes me glad when people can benefit from what I have made for them.
-- Abhijeet Ghodgaonkar
Reflecting on My Experience with the Tacy FoundationCandace MooreI will never forget my first day as a Tacy Foundation volunteer. As an aspiring, 4th grade, homeschooled pianist, I often wondered how I could possibly use my gifts to make a difference in my community. Yet, little did I know that I would soon to embark on an unforgettable journey, one that would permanently change my life.
My first activities with the Foundation involved performing for seniors in local living facilities, where I first learned the priceless gift of serving others. To this day, I carry vivid memories of audience members singing to familiar songs, beaming from ear to ear, and expressing heartfelt appreciation for the music that filled the air. As time progressed, I began participating in CD recording projects, eventually completing my very own solo CD, which was sent to military families, hospital patients, senior citizens, first responders, parents of high school shooting victims, and underprivileged children within the community. Inspired by the difference my music was making in the lives of others, I continued looking for ways to serve. After helping to start the very first Piano Pals program at Fox Chapel Elementary School, I spent the next seven years teaching students and later becoming the Chief Intern. Even after the program was temporarily discontinued due to the pandemic, I helped train current and future volunteers for the program once it returned. Through these experiences, I grew substantially as a leader, administrator, and inspiration for youth, attributes that will remain with me for the rest of my life.
When I was a high school senior, the Tacy Foundation supported me as I initiated my own “Puzzles for Seniors” COVID-19 project. Through this project I was able to coordinate collection of over 300 puzzles and more than 1,000 cards for seniors at various facilities in Maryland and Virginia, in an effort to show them that they are loved, appreciated, and not forgotten during these challenging times.
I cannot express enough gratitude to Ms. Holliday and the Tacy Foundation. Not only did I develop a sincere appreciation for the power of music, but I also fully embraced what it means to “inspire hope, note by note.” As I look forward to graduating in May, obtaining a high school diploma and Associates degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, I anticipate attending college in the fall, and I will remain committed to serving my community through the gift of music, as its power knows no boundaries.
--Candace MooreTacy Foundation Programs Manager Alison BoyntonMs. Boynton works behind the scenes to schedule and coordinate the many Live Music for Seniors events. After COVID began, she continued to contact all of the activity directors in Virginia and Maryland via regular email messages with messages from the kids, artwork, and links to the Tacy Foundation YouTube playlist. This playlist now numbers over 400 songs of all types from youth.
Alison Boynton has remained a vibrant volunteer staff leader. We thank her for all of her encouragement, management skills, and continued presence among us. Here is part of her message to Volunteer Directors each month:
Greetings to all of our activity directors. We very much miss sharing our in-person performances with you and getting to visit with your residents. We hope that everyone is doing well and enjoying the beautiful spring weather. We have new virtual performances with links that we are excited to attach below. Our student volunteers have been hard at work making beautiful music that they hope you will share with your residents to help brighten their days!
Additionally, we are so grateful to have been able to hold two live performances recently in Virginia. When you are ready for a small, socially distanced event in your facility, please let us know and we will work with our interns and volunteers to see if we can accommodate your requests for performances.Links to Recent Composers’ Circle CompositionsRoy Fischman, FlightHenry Golden, NocturneSean Wang, Sonata no.1, mvt. 3We thank every parent who has encouraged his/her child and teen to enroll and to continue through COVID-19. Each one has traveled repeatedly to pick up and drop off materials to be donated. Most of all, we thank the youth who inspire us each day with their good will, humor, resourcefulness and resilience, through music and stories!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 connectionsWhom We Serve
Individuals who want to serveHow We Serve (Programs)
Live music concerts
Musical equipmentCharlotte Holliday, Founder and Executive Director
Matthew D. Scott, Graphic Editor
Michael Favin, Chief Editor
Anika Seth, Chief Teen Editor
Siddharth Kondam, Teen Editor
Ethan Schenker, Teen EditorDonations are appreciated. Thank you!
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The Tacy Foundation May 2021 Newsletter