November 2022 Newsletter

Inspiring Hope!
November 2022

♩ Director’s Corner

We are launching Piano Pals in five schools! There is a huge demand for mentors who can volunteer to teach two students per week at the children's school. To support all the children whose parents want them to study music, we would need coverage for: 
•    91 children at Clopper Mill, 
•    60 children at Gaithersburg ES (and counting), 
•    70 children at Fox Chapel, 
•    96 children at Brown Station  
•    an unknown number of at applicants Great Seneca Creek.  

Title 1 children have little hope for private music lessons. Some are homeless; some of their families can barely afford food. Piano Pals® and Guitar Pals® bring lessons from teens to children at no cost to them right at their own neighborhood school. Their parents know the great boost in brain development that music study offers to children who are learning to play an instrument. Of course, all parents love their children and want the greatest opportunities for them. They want their little ones to have every advantage of an excellent education. With the parents' deepest hope for their children's futures to be bright with possibilities, we are working in teams to bring Piano and Guitar Pals to the above elementary schools. When other schools request this program for Title 1 children, we will continue to respond. There is a great benefit to the teens who teach these children. They learn to appreciate what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to give private music lessons.  

Volunteers, please help these children who live in our communities and want the same opportunities as you and I have to create a bright future! Join the Piano and Guitar Pals teams!

1750 beautiful autumn cards have arrived from Tacy volunteers from Montgomery County and Northern Virginia! Thank you to the Cards Team: Mario Lara, Matthew Kim, Eric Zou, and Supervisor Karina Willis-Lara! We also extend a special thanks to each young artist who designed and created the beautiful cards for our senior friends. The cards will be distributed to each facility we serve. 

Kenji Yokote
Sean Wang
Davide Barbero


The flyer below lists locations where youth currently perform live music. Live music in the lobby of the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore for patients and families started in January 2020, but due to the pandemic was quickly suspended. Peabody Preparatory Music School in Baltimore has offered to work with us to send chamber musicians to this renowned center. We are looking for a key person to give us the "go ahead" to resume the live performances. This is an opportunity to work with a Peabody faculty chamber music teacher and an official at the Cancer Center to schedule live music (such as we offer at Holy Cross Hospitals, NIH, Walter Reed, Shady Grove Adventist Healthcare, and Frederick Health Hospital. If any newsletter readers have information regarding the outreach department at Kimmel, please contact me.  

We welcome three new assisted living facilities to the Tacy Foundation live music programs. Their invitations to bring teens and children to seniors on a regular basis materialized through great efforts of busy teens:  
•    Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center in Frederick, discovered and organized by Rebecca Fan; 
•    Sterling Care Rockville initialized by Sonia Rodriguez, new Activity Director at this facility and formerly of Shady Grove Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; and 
•    White Oak Cottages Senior Center in Massachusetts, discovered and organized by Matthew Weber and Needham High School Tacy Club in Massachusetts.  

Our joyful, thankful task this season is to share music and story and open others’ eyes and hearts to endless possibilities. We continue to encourage others to be the harbinger of hope in the lives of their friends and acquaintances. Please hold the youth in our communities and their families in your thoughts and in your hearts. 

Throughout the season, all volunteer staff and young musicians and artists here in the nation’s capital area join you in celebrating family and friends through music and stories.  Happy Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Day!

Guidance for Tacy Newsletter Articles
Text: We're happy to receive articles from current and past Tacy volunteers as well as from other persons involved in the Foundation's activities. Most articles are less than a page in length, but they can be longer if necessary. We lightly edit the articles submitted, and (if there is time) send the edited version back to the author for approval. Try to submit articles by the 18th of the month for the next month's newsletter. Articles received after the 20th may be held for the next newsletter. Send articles to: with a copy to
Photos: We're happy to include photos with articles. Please send photos as email attachments. If there are people in the photos who are not Tacy volunteers, you need to receive written permission from the institution or person(s) to use the photos.
Thanks for your articles. We can't produce the newsletter without them.
A Challenging but Rewarding Experience
By Shaun Wang
When I arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on June 17, 2022, to perform there for the first time, I was excited but also nervous. The campus was huge, and the entire place seemed like a labyrinth to me. I was concerned that I might get lost or end up being late, even though I had been there before to get my badge.
The performance was part of the Arts in Healing Program at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). Its onboarding process was very complicated. First, I had to get a referral from the American Red Cross and make an appointment to request base access. Then I had to go to a Pass & ID office to be granted a 30-day access. After coming back to the Red Cross Office to fill out paperwork, I needed to obtain a medical clearance from Occupational Health so I could get a badge. This whole process can require several trips and depends on coordination among the offices. Luckily, I got my badge successfully during my second visit. I need to thank my mom for taking days off to help me with the process. I am also grateful for all the help along the way, from including the parents who shared tips for the process and timely help from the staff at Red Cross offices and WRNMMC. I am sure Mrs. Holliday spent a lot of time and effort behind the scenes to make this program happen.
On my way to the building, a person in a military uniform saw me carrying my violin and asked me if I was going to the performance in Building 19. I said yes, and he offered to walk me there. On the way, he introduced himself and wished me the best with the performance. I arrived at the lobby of a hospital with this kind gentleman's help. The staff there worked diligently and quietly, and I was impressed by how willing and focused they were. While I was playing my songs, I saw a lot of patients in military uniforms. Their smiles and nods really made me feel proud that I was able to perform for these people who served our country.
Mrs. Holliday told me about a conversation she had with a patient there who had his leg amputated. When she asked him about it, he told her that if given the chance to do it again, he would choose to do the exact same thing. The story resonated with me deeply, and I am honored to be a team member of the Arts in Healing Program. As Mrs. Holliday said, “It is our deepest hope to provide encouragement and empowerment to those who serve in the military and to those who serve them.”
A Happy Award Winner
By Cassie Lee

My name is Cassie Lee, and I am in the 7th grade. Over the course of the year, I managed to attain over 50 SSL hours from The Tacy Foundation. As a result, I recently received a bronze Presidential Volunteer Award. I am so happy to receive this award, which I view as solid proof that I can make a positive impact on somebody’s day. I feel honored to have received this award. I honestly cannot believe how I even managed to get it. Thanks to The Tacy Foundation for giving me this wonderful opportunity in the first place!

Ice Cream Social at Asbury
By Amy Appella
At the end of the summer, I and three other musicians performed at the Asbury Methodist Village’s ice cream social. Our group included my violin as well as a clarinet, a cello, and a trumpet. The weather was great, the sun was setting, and a large crowd gathered around the shuffleboard court (our makeshift stage) to watch us perform and enjoy some ice cream. I had prepared a setlist of upbeat fiddling and folk music fit for the summer evening. Every time I play my violin, I tune out everything else around me, which is why when talking to the audience after performing, I was shocked to hear how much they had enjoyed the music. One group of seniors even told me that they wanted to get up and dance! They were curious to learn more about me and the music that I selected, and I learned about their own interest in and experiences with music. Performing music has always made me happy but hearing the residents’ comments about how much fun they had made me even happier.
Amy playing. Audience members are blurred to protect their privacy.
By Lumina Zhang

I recently wrote and recorded a song I called Bittersweet. Bittersweet is about the fading away of my friendship with one of my friends from middle school. As we got older, we went to different high schools and slowly drifted apart. She really loved her new school. I felt happy for her, but I also felt nostalgic about the days back when we were in middle school. In a word, that complex feeling was bittersweet.
In Composer’s Circle, Mr. Tacy asked me what emotion I wanted to illustrate in my music, and I chose bittersweet. Recording this piece was fun and educational. I played the piano, sang, and then added them together using Studio One, a music editing software. Later I recorded videos so that the audience could see the story as well.

Bittersweet by Lumina Zhang
Summer Chess Story
By Abhijeet Ghodgaonkar

This summer, Ms. Holliday arranged a wonderful opportunity to teach chess to seniors at Asbury Methodist Village. I had played chess for many years, so I looked forward to this endeavor. However, while I was delighted to visit Asbury, I was nervous because I Iacked teaching experience.
On the first day, the Asbury staff conducted a routine temperature check on me to ensure I would not spread COVID to vulnerable seniors. The Asbury recreation coordinator showed me to the room where we would be teaching. To our disappointment, only one enthusiast showed up to play chess, and my friend and I took turns playing against him for an hour. I was dejected by the low turnout, but playing against the participant was really fun!
The next week, two more ladies were present. Unlike the first gentleman, they had never seen a chessboard in their life! Both had different learning styles and had difficulty distinguishing between the rules of chess and checkers. However, I proceeded with the lesson, explaining the moves of several pieces, until they kindly told me to slow my pace. This made me realize that I needed to be more patient and understanding to adjust to my “students.”
The next few lessons were easier because I knew what pace to teach the seniors at. My teammate and I covered the movements of every piece, demonstrated intermediate concepts, and assisted them in playing a few games against each other. They gradually caught on to the game and needed less intervention, making me feel proud of the effort we had put in.
Over the course of this experience, I realized that it was not about the content I taught, but the human connection and bond that came as a result. I was delighted to see the gears turning in their brains and their faces lighting up as they caught on to the gist of the game. My attitude has also changed drastically: I was initially apprehensive about teaching senior adults a complicated board game, but now I feel more compassionate and comfortable approaching them.
Unfortunately, Asbury limited our visits to the facility due to COVID-related restrictions, so I couldn’t give the seniors all the skills they required to play games by themselves. I hope the seniors have advanced their skills in chess; meanwhile, I miss playing and having conversations with them. I am very grateful for this meaningful and incredible experience, and I look forward to having similar ones in the future.

A Beneficial Collaboration
By Jennifer Hoang

At Cornell University, I found many extracurriculars that I enjoyed being a part of, but my favorite by far was being a part of my service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega (APO). Three pillars were central to the fraternity: service, fellowship, and leadership. The fraternity focused on serving people in the Cornell community as well as the surrounding Ithaca area, through different service projects and initiatives that addressed such issues as food insecurity, poverty and homelessness. Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many of our members were at a loss as to how to meaningfully contribute. Activities with organizations that we used to help in person were on hold due to the pandemic, and we could provide online help to only a limited number of organizations, some of which we did not know well. I knew that many of the APO members were seeking a variety of new virtual service ideas that they could contribute to, and thankfully the Tacy Foundation came to my mind. 

I had volunteered for the Tacy Foundation in high school, occasionally playing music at Shady Grove Hospital, and I loved being a mentor in the Piano Pals program. It was through that program that I found my passion for teaching children, and I will always be grateful for the plethora of opportunities and programs that the Tacy Foundation had to offer. Surprisingly to me, there were many ways to volunteer through the Foundation, even in the midst of COVID-19. I was able to connect the Tacy Foundation and APO, and in no time, multiple APO members were signing up to create puzzles for seniors, get well cards for patients, thank you cards for veterans, and videos of themselves reading stories for pediatric patients. The diversity of projects that we could volunteer for had increased, and we were grateful; it was difficult to jumpstart these sorts of projects with organizations in our local area, as they were navigating how to adapt virtually before accepting volunteers. 

As I was the liaison between both organizations, I found myself admiring everyone's efforts. I noticed that some people put interesting trivia in crossword puzzles, and those who were more artistic were able to express themselves more artistically in making cards. Although we were helping through the Tacy Foundation, we were also happy to just be able to contribute to a cause and feel a little less limited in what we could do, given our situation. 

As restrictions were slowly lifted, I was able to create and host events in which we could all come together and make cards while listening to music. Events like these were a de-stressor for a lot of our members who were enrolled in demanding classes. Eventually, members became more interested in learning about the Tacy Foundation's initiatives and their impact, and our service-learning chairs scheduled a virtual conference to discuss and learn more from the Tacy Foundation members themselves. At that conference, everyone in APO admired the drive that Tacy Foundation members had because we also shared the same passion for service.

Members of APO learned so much from the collaboration. Taking part in Tacy Foundation events kick-started ideas on how we could help our local organizations in similar ways. Connecting with the Tacy Foundation inspired us to take initiatives and continue to serve during the difficult circumstances of the pandemic, and I believe this intensified our members’ dedication to the pillars we cared about: service, fellowship, and leadership.

An Active Student Volunteer
Kavi Daliparti, Senior at Poolesville High School

I have been doing many volunteer activities over the past years. I played at Asbury Methodist Home consistently for several years in middle school and into high school. The most recent time was last year around Christmas when I played The Entertainer. I have also assembled CDs, twice in the conference room assembly line and a few times when I brought home a box of CDs and assembled them.
I have also been doing Piano Pals since the 6th grade, starting at Germantown ES, then moving to Fox Chapel ES during 7th grade, Brown Station ES during 8th and 9th grades, and back to Fox Chapel ES during the 11th grade. I am at Clopper Mill ES right now where I am chief intern. Also, last year during COVID, I taught online lessons on how to teach the yellow books.

In addition, I have done some miscellaneous volunteering activities, such as playing at the mall during Christmas time every year, doing a reading of the Polar Express at the library one year, and playing at the hospital a few times.
Thank you for all your love and support over the years, I can't even imagine what I would be like if I hadn't played the piano and volunteered over the years.
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: 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
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
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