November 2021 Newsletter

Inspiring Hope
November 2021
♩ Director’s Corner: Adagio

We received a lovely thank you note from a family in Alaska [below]. As soon as we heard from them, Mike Engel, recording engineer for the Foundation since its beginning, made 3 copies of the 2014 Tacy’s Gift CD [see box below] that lifted their spirits. The CDs have arrived safely in Alaska at this writing. It is now in USB format.   
Tacy's Gift was an album of original songs by Michael Tacy, Brendan Bui, Julia Baker, George Benskin, Belle Do, and Chris Zerhusen. Michael, Chris, Julia, and Brendan were in high school, George and Belle were in middle school. They all donated copyright permission for their songs. Aleli Rumbaugh (8th grade at that time) designed the front graphic for the insert with her uncle from Philadelphia. Matthew Scott (currently the graphic designer of this newsletter) designed the insert for the 2014 shipments. Cynthia McCormack, Co-founder, edited the inserts. Mcpadnet printed them and arranged for everything to be shipped to Fisher Houses. To this day, they ship for us to a growing number of Fisher Houses nationwide for Memorial Day/4th of July and Veterans Day. We have included Tacy’s Gift in almost every shipment through the years because it touches the hearts and souls of so many people of all ages who have tremendous challenges.  

One of my bucket-list dreams is to continue a legacy of original songs from our kids to beam hope, as these first composers did and continue to do. Composer's Circle is now in full swing with young ones finding ways in their own music to express their hope, their love for others, and hope for the world.  Both Michael and George are giving their own concerted effort to help others find their musical messages. One of these days, you will see another USB program with original songs, with the inspiration from their predecessors.

I am in awe of all of you who continue to support and create and love the community whom we serve. Thank you and the Board for supporting the Foundation's long-term investment in shipments of CDs and USBs to Fisher Houses. As we prepare to upload and send this holiday season’s USBs, we invite you to donate towards the cost of these unique music gifts and handmade cards to 92 Fisher Houses, Quantico Marine Base, and Joint Base Andrews Air Force families. We will also ship to First Responders Children's Foundation.  Your donation will bring music from our youth to those who serve and protect us.  Thank you!

♪ Audience Perspectives: Largo
A Note From Alaska

“We learned about the Tacy Foundation through CDs that were available at the JBER Fisher House (Anchorage, AL). With four family members with chronic medical issues, we have been frequent guests there over the past few years. The music CDs that were donated to Fisher House helped our children settle and get to sleep on nights when we were away from home and from everything familiar. 

In 2019 our then 8-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and we lived at the Fisher House during the next ten months of her treatment. Thankfully, she completed treatment and has been cancer free for one year!

During her almost year-long treatment, there was a CD that our children especially enjoyed. They played it so much that they nearly wore it out, and now nobody knows where it has gone. I believe it was called Tacy's Gift. Songs included Waterfall, You Are You, The Wall, and Foresight. (
The songs of Dennis Erickson, now in college, included "Foresight" on his solo album called "Harmony #8, published in 2019. The Schwartz family might have received this one on another Fisher House stay in 2019.)

Thank you for making our difficult times a little more bearable!”   – The Schwartz family

♫ Volunteer Perspectives: Allegro
My Participation During COVID-19

Prior to the pandemic, I participated in many of the Foundation’s events, playing at Asbury and Shady Grove Hospital and serving as a member of the Tacy Foundation Technology Team among other activities. One of my favorite events was Piano Pals, which aims to teach underprivileged students how to play the piano. Through Piano Pals, I served as a chief intern at Brown Station and, most memorably, I spearheaded a Piano Pals trip to India alongside my sister. 

The rising number of COVID-19 cases and school closings inevitably led to the end of Piano Pals for that term. For the initial chunk of the pandemic, I didn’t do too many piano-related activities, as I didn’t believe there was much to do during that time. However, last September, I was asked to serve as a Chief Intern for a new Online Piano Pals Training Session for future mentors. I agreed, hesitantly at first, as I didn’t understand the ins and outs and the goals of the sessions. 

Later on, I realized the direct impact that it made. Each meeting went through aspects of the Faber Books, helping the students get a preview of what they would teach in the future. Also, in the sessions, my Co-Chief Intern and I would impart the experiences that we had in Piano Pals and different ways to teach these students. From that, the mentors would also share the experiences that they had teaching and what worked best for them for us, which provided me with a new perspective on teaching. Though I joined as a Chief Intern to help other students prepare for Piano Pals, it was also a learning opportunity for me. 

Due to my enjoyment of the Piano Pals Online Session last year, I joined as a Chief Intern once again last month for a similar online session. My experiences were more of the same: though I passed on knowledge that I learned from years past, I also gained many tips and teaching points that I can use in the future. Although many activities like Piano Pals were suspended in the past year, this time has also helped me to become a better leader and mentor for now and in the future.   -- Siddharth Kondam 

Piano Pals Going Live Again

After 19 months, Piano Pals is finally returning to Title 1 elementary schools, giving underserved youth the opportunity to learn piano from teen mentors after school. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced an abrupt suspension to the program in 2020, but in response to the shutdown, over 100 Tacy Foundation volunteers attended virtual 10-week mentorship training in preparation for a safe return to schools. Chief Interns with previous Piano Pals experience trained these future mentors to effectively deliver instruction from the Faber piano curriculum and gave them tips on keeping younger students engaged during lessons. Some volunteers also attended training for the new Theory Pals program, which uses the leftover lesson time to teach students music theory through games, activities, and the Faber Theory Primer level book. 

Gaithersburg Elementary School will be the first school to open its doors to Tacy Foundation mentors, on Thursday, November 11. Led by Chief Intern Daniel Serpas, the Gaithersburg program aims to serve at least 20 students and will run until spring break. We are still seeking more mentors, and we know that the students will appreciate all contributions of time and effort to their music education! 

For more information, email Tacy Foundation Founder & Executive Director Ms. Charlotte Holliday, at -- Ethan Schenker
♬ Alumni: Presto
New Michael Tacy Album

Michael Tacy, Composer’s Circle Teacher, has just released his own album called Simpler Times. 

He writes: Simpler Times is an album written, produced, and performed by me, Michael Tacy, in my home-grown studio in a small basement in Cincinnati, OH. I wrote this music to be about overcoming the struggles that humans have had for our entire existence. Struggles of the mind. The title "Simpler Times" comes from a desire to return to a time when things appeared "simpler" and "easier". It is a mixture of many genres of music from rock to hip-hp, fusion to folk.  

My music comes from the heart, and I hope that comes across to listeners. If you want more information about the songs, as there is a story behind each one, you can follow me on bandcamp or Instagram. I will post more information about the songs in time. See (The link will take you to a sample and a connection to Spotify, for you to purchase. The content is for mature audiences.)

A picture containing text, book

Description automatically generated
Little Charlotte and the Piano

As described in the last newsletter issue, Tacy Foundation Director Charlotte Tacy Holliday has written a book on the benefits of music for children. Please consider purchasing the book for yourself or as a holiday present. The link below is the official notice of a new audio book. 

Printed copies of Little Charlotte and the Piano are available from the Amazon, Barnes, and Apple libraries.

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, Graphic Editor

Michael Favin, Chief Editor

Siddharth Kondam, Teen Editor

Ethan Schenker, 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!  

Donate online via PayPal at:

Or send your donation to: 

The Tacy Foundation 

Box 2334

Germantown, Maryland 20875

Ask to donate a 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!
Back to blog

Leave a comment

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