May 2023 Newsletter

  • May 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

    For the past three years, as we have slowly gained confidence to play live music again, we have found meaningful ways to touch the lives of others and bring them hope. Last week, I mailed a package of handmade get-well cards made by Tacy Foundation kids. At the same time packages went to various hospitals -- Suburban, Sibley, Shady Grove, Frederick Health, Holy Cross, and Walter Reed -- a package of cards arrived at the NIH Clinical Research Center Patient Library. We have also been sending the private YouTube playlist from the Foundation kids to that library and to Children’s National Hospital each month since May of 2020. The NIH librarian, Marie Kaplan, in turn, has aired selections of our work for the hospital patients on Sundays.


    As we returned to live music at NIH in the fall and spring of 2021, we brought music CDs, usually the latest solo albums, to the NIH library after performances. These albums were taken from videos sent to us from young soloists. Sound engineers Mike Engel and Nacio Chavez prepared links with audio only for CDs for NIH and Senior facilities. Programs for CDs, USBs, and now QR Code cards were designed by Ana Eastep and printed by Mcpadnet. The steady support we have been privileged to offer has always been warmly received by the patient librarians. Please read Marie Kaplan's kind message. She embodies the spirit of welcome and appreciation. To be so kind and gracious to those who bring their gifts, however those gifts arrive, truly demonstrates genuine warm-hearted generosity.

    Once again, let me extend a heartfelt thanks to you and all the wonderful Tacy Foundation students for the beautiful music and thoughtful and very amusing get-well cards for the Clinical Center patients. On our center table, we have a display of the cards, along with some of the Tacy student music performances on CD, for the patients. The patients are so grateful for the kindness and for knowing that they are remembered on their difficult healing journey.


    We so appreciate all that you and your students did for the patients, especially during the COVID shutdown. With the music recordings, your foundation turned what was a grim pandemic period into a prolonged moment of grace.



    Marie Kaplan

    Patient Library, NIH Clinical Research Center

    March 26 Benefit concert for Turkey: Thanks to all who participated in the three benefit concerts for earthquake refugees in Turkey and Syria. For the March 26 Concert, Dr. Yonter’s words were moving and heartfelt. She wrote the following message to the Springfield audience:

    Dear Friends,

    As you all probably heard, the southeastern part of Turkey hit by two powerful earthquakes with the intensity of 7.8 and 7.6 on February 6th. Simply, the damage was equivalent to an atomic bomb detonation and left the area completely in ruins. The death toll has climbed beyond 50,000 people, and there are still so many missing people and children.


    Back-to-back earthquakes left millions of people homeless and thousands of children as orphans. Roads and airports were also severely damaged. Aid trucks, rescuers, bulldozers, and volunteers fled to the area but were all stuck in queues of traffic that stretched for miles. Most people died under the rubble while waiting for the rescuers. Buried alive under crushed cement and steel screaming, “Can you hear my voice?” This phrase will be the knife in the heart of everyone for generation after generation in Turkey. Survivors lost everything. Literally everything overnight. Their loved ones, families, children, parents, homes, businesses, money, everything. They watched helplessly as their loved ones died under rubble hearing their screams sometimes even holding their hands.


    Imagine you go to bed at your comfortable house and in the morning everyone you love and everything you have and worked for is gone. You find yourself in utter chaos in the freezing cold snow. No water, no food, no shelter; surrounded by blood and death.


    Many hospitals and medical centers turned into ruins as well. Several doctors and health care workers died. Survivors had to be transferred to other cities for medical care. Many of them died from their injuries on the way before even reaching functional hospitals. Doctors all over the country and world went to the area to help, but their efforts were crippled due to lack of medical supplies and equipment. They watched people die in their hands.


    It is still chaotic and will stay that way for a long time. Nothing will be the same, and it won’t get back to normal for many, many years, if ever. All those cities and lives will have to be built again on top of the ruins.


    Among all that devastation, what is so hard to comprehend and what makes everyone shake with terror is the misery of the children. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies and young children rescued with no one to claim them. Likely parents, relatives are all dead. They don’t even talk yet to tell their names. They are given name tags in hospitals as Anonymous Child 1, Anonymous Child 2 and so on. Some of them are severely injured, suffering from multiple bone fractures, head trauma, internal bleeds, disfigurement. Some required amputations and other major surgeries.


    Imagine please imagine hundreds of kids, babies with no one to care for them when they are battling with such severe injuries. Imagine those children who lost their parents and all their relatives, and they are all by themselves in this brutal world.


    Most immediate help is needed to treat those kids, find safe shelters provide

    psychological support, education, and secure permanent homes for the earthquakes’ anonymous children. We are asking you beautiful people for a moment to close your eyes and visualize those children who need help from all of us.


    All donation sites listed are funding earthquake’s children in need.


    There is also a team named “Tacy Foundation” at Bridge to Turkey foundation

    earthquake relief fund website. Our donations will be our collective effort to be the grain of salt for wrapping some wounds.

    Cards: Since March 26, we have prepared two more projects for Turkey: cards for first responders and a fast-growing playlist sent on QR cards with handmade “Thinking of You” cards—a message of hope from us. Read the cards story below from Mario Lara, Chief Intern for this project and gold medal recipient from Presidential Volunteer Service Award.


    Raymond Lim, 9th grader and recent recipient of the Gold Medal Presidential Volunteer Service Award, has prepared this playlist from submissions sent to him in April: enjoy the beautiful musical messages:

    Sounds of Hope for Turkey

    Cards for Ft. Campbell, KY families and Nashville, TN families are on the way to Kentucky and Tennessee with hopeful artwork and words.

    Young Composer’s Spotlight

    Lumina Zhang (Chief Intern, Composer’s Circle)

    I wanted to portray the different sides of the ocean: the calming waves, the storms, the bubbles floating around, the sunshine, and more. I am a strong environmental advocate, and I have been interested in creating music about nature to raise awareness on the importance of nature. Pollution, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching are all threatening the environment. I believe that creative forms of art and expression can contribute to activism.


    This piece also represents a lot of the skills I learned from my musical experiences. I have played piano for ten years and viola for six years, which has set my strong foundation and passion for music. Through my experiences in orchestras, I know that the viola is often ignored in compositions. It is extremely rare for the viola part to have a melody, and I wanted to change that in my piece, so the viola takes the spotlight. There is a running joke among violists that we are always playing on the offbeats - a very common accompaniment part given to violas. In my piece, I reversed the typical roles given to instruments by giving the viola the melody, and the “offbeat rhythm” to the violin parts. Mr. Tacy taught me many composition techniques that framed my piece, allowing me to use various chord progressions to effectively portray the mood of the piece. I wrote out the piece using a notation software, and made the music come to life through Studio One. After that, I used a video editing software to add in video clips to visually illustrate the music.


    I have also applied what I learned from Composer’s Circle into other aspects of my life, including teaching children piano under the Tacy Foundation’s Piano Pals program. Some of my students are very creative and interested in experimenting with music, which is why I have also incorporated mini composition lessons into their classes. I am excited to continue making music through Composer’s Circle and helping others with my music. Thank you so much to Mr. Tacy for all his guidance.

    Kindness for Hospital Patients

    Mario Lara, Chief Intern, Cards Projects (Tacy Foundation Volunteer)

    In April, several Tacy Foundation volunteers created cheerful get-well cards for hospital patients. These beautiful cards included poignant messages. Our volunteers show their compassion for the hospital patients by sending them get-well cards. The cards bring them some small joy and let them know that we care about them.


    Cards were distributed to Suburban Hospital, Sibley Hospital, Shady Grove Adventist Healthcare, the Frederick Health System, the NIH Patient Library, and Holy Cross Hospital. We have received positive feedback from hospital administrators. Many have requested more of these cards.


    The Patient and Family Experience Coach at Suburban Hospital, a John Hopkins Hospital, acknowledged our cards by stating, “Thank you for the lovely cards! I think I am going to save these for Patient Experience Week (the first week in May). Thinking about giving to patients on their food trays and/or giving to staff to give to a patient so they can get in on this, too! So, appreciate this!”


    Thank you to all the volunteers who continue to participate in this ongoing Cards Project. Of course, thank you to Ms. Holliday for coordinating all the interactions and delivery with the receiving hospitals.

    Bringing Joy to Seniors during

    the Easter Weekend at Sunrise at McLean

    Sophia Lin (Chief Intern)

    On April 8th, Tacy volunteers returned to Sunrise at McLean to perform for the residents of the community in a beautiful Easter weekend celebration. Besides the five volunteers who signed up, two additional young musicians joined the team, making for a very exciting event.


    The volunteers brought a diverse range of music, from classical to contemporary, piano to violin, and the seniors were thrilled with the musical performances. The volunteers brought a fresh energy to this new site, and it was clear that they were committed to bringing joy and happiness to the seniors. It was heartwarming to see how the community came together through the power of music. The concert was a success, and the seniors expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the volunteers' efforts.

    Left to Right: Gloria Bao, Sophia Lin, Melissa Brown, Davanee Lee, Ethan Chen, Ellen Zhang, Claire Ash

    We are grateful to have the opportunity to serve the community in this way, and we look forward to continuing to bring music and joy to the seniors at Sunrise at McLean. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of others through the power of music.

    Music, Mood and the Mind

    By Sebastien Taylor

    At the beginning of this year, I started volunteering as a music mentor to “Rose”, a wonderful, elderly woman residing at an assisted living facility with suspected dementia. Having played the piano since the age of four, Rose is quite musically inclined. She not only was a gifted violin and organ player but also sang in a choir. Helping someone heal who suffers from memory loss through the transformative power of music has given new meaning to my performing and a great sense of emotional satisfaction.


    During my piano lesson with Rose on a recent afternoon in the lobby of her residence, a small group of seniors who were enjoying their cocktails nearby asked me to play a few pieces for them. I happily agreed and decided to begin with a piano cover of “Where Is My Mind” by the Pixies, to offer something unexpected from the alternative/indie genre. In the middle of playing, I looked up for a moment to see how the residents were reacting to this unconventional song about a fish that chased the lead singer Frank Black around in the Caribbean.


    To my pleasant surprise, I witnessed an elderly man and woman break out into an impromptu ballroom dance together, while their friends cheered and clapped. Then, I noticed Rose reacting too, smiling at her fellow residents dancing. The happiness was so contagious that I continued to play a handful of other songs, both contemporary and classical, for the group. This humble but powerful moment in the lobby of an assisted-living facility was to me a great reminder of the profound relationship between music and happiness.

    The joy that music brings is not anecdotal: it’s been proven by science beyond clinical settings. When combined with dance, music can tap into our bodies in ways that nothing else can, providing multisensory stimulation that benefits our physical and mental states. Pleasantly surprised that my piano songs inspired dancing and so much laughter that day, I clearly saw the positive, multiplicative effects of music. My hope for Rose is that by listening to and playing the piano with me regularly, she will not only experience short-term episodes of happiness and energy but also improve her memory and mental cognition over the long term.


    The social connection and sense of well-being that music fosters as a shared experience was very palpable to me that afternoon. As Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”


    Since I started tutoring Rose in piano, I have been able to witness the powerful connection between music and happiness, particularly for elderly people.

    An Impactful Performance

    Trudi and Harrison Benford

    Well, it was a day to remember at the Cohen Rosen Memory Care House. Because other scheduled performers were absent, Harrison Benford, first-place winner at the Music Teachers National Association competition, was the sole performer. He pulled off a deeply moving 75-minute concert. Every resident of the house (18 in total) attended for at least a portion of the time, and they seemed very soothed and comforted by the music. There was plenty of humming, singing, conducting, and clapping from audience members as Harrison played pieces by Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Chopin, and Bach. Aides praised his compassion and heartfelt playing even as they were able to take advantage of the downtime to fold laundry while watching, catching up chores, and setting up dinner. He even did a Q&A with folks at the end and engaged in conversation with several residents.

    My First Experience with The Tacy Foundation

    Ethan Chen

    Last summer when I visited my grandpa who was staying in Adventist Hospital to recover from brain surgery, I saw some students like me playing music in the hall for the care team and patients. At that moment, I wondered, “Could I be one of them?” I found the Tacy Foundation while searching online for suitable opportunities to perform music for seniors. After reading through the web page that explained how to apply and how much time I needed to commit, I realized that the Tacy Foundation provided a perfect opportunity for me. I contacted the director, Ms. Holliday. She gave me a warm welcome and patiently briefed me on the organization and volunteer opportunities.


    I gave my first performance at Brightview Assisted Living on March 23. When I arrived there, the very polite site supervisor introduced me to other performers and explained how I could help set up for the concert. I passed out the programs for the seniors. They were extremely polite and were very gratified to hear me and other volunteer musicians perform our pieces. After the performance, one of the seniors told me that she wanted to hear our music every day and that she felt very appreciative of us coming to the assisted-living facility to perform. Her words made me feel more inspired to perform.


    I felt extremely grateful to be able to perform for seniors. It was exciting to bring some happiness and spend some time with them. I really appreciate the experience and I look forward to performing many times for seniors in the future.

    We are grateful for you and would love to hear from you.

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    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!

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