November 2023 Newsletter

November 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

This Thanksgiving season, I am remembering vividly the people in my life who have believed in me and who are always with me, even if we are apart.  Those people who became my touchstones and who stood with me through the challenging crossroads of my life are with me still, some in person, and some in my memory. Because family, friends, colleagues, and foundation families along my life's path have pointed ways to discover hope, I am inspired and always reminded to offer hope to others.

My years in New York City as a graduate student at Manhattan School of Music and afterwards as a working musician for Manhattan School Preparatory, Juilliard Preparatory, and Peabody Preparatory were deeply affected by survivors of the Holocaust of WWII. When their lives were shattered and their families devastated in Germany, Poland, France, and elsewhere in Europe, some managed to escape and to flee to America. Slowly, through music, they were able to heal and find new lives, and in doing so they touched the lives of young musicians like me. Their rekindled hope to go on has always inspired me, even in those times when hope seemed distant and unattainable.  

I remember my professor Artur Balsam, who played worldwide concerts with Yehudi Menuhin. Mr. Balsam lost every one of his family members in concentration camps in Germany. He survived by fleeing to New York City and shared the great piano repertoire with all his grateful students and his audiences. Imbedded in his life and music was hope. Music spoke healing to him when all other voices failed to make sense of such great tragedy.

As we move forward into the holiday season, let’s share our story with others, if only to open their eyes and hearts to endless possibilities. To encourage others and to be the touchstones of hope in the lives of family, friends, and acquaintances is truly a sacred trust.

Continue to send your uplifting thoughts and prayers to all who suffer in the Middle East at this catastrophic time. Look for a concert from our musicians and attend it with an open heart. Our youth will send oceans of love through their sounds of hope. They will send music’s healing and restorative support in thought and prayer to all who are hurt by the conflict in Gaza and Israel and the surrounding region.

In addition, please hold the youth in our communities and their families in your thoughts and hearts. Many challenges await them along their paths of life.  

Thanksgiving Day is every day in my life. With this message, please accept my gratitude for all of you during this special season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Young Composer Spotlight

Michael Tacy, Melody Chen

The Featured Composer this month is Melody Chen! She wrote a beautiful piece for string quartet called “An Esoteric Caprice”.

The minor key and dance-like nature of this piece are often at odds, and it’s very interesting in how it changes moods, sounding dark sometimes and almost humorous at others!

I’ve so enjoyed joining Melody on this journey, and I look forward to seeing many more pieces from her in the future.

Hope you enjoy this amazing musical piece by Melody Chen!

-Michael Tacy, Composer’s Circle Director

An Esoteric Caprice

A Harmonious Sunday at Sunrise:

Tacy Foundation Volunteers Bring Joy Through Music

Sophia Lin

On this beautiful, sunny Sunday, October 15th, the dedicated volunteers of the Tacy Foundation once again graced the halls of Sunrise at McLean with their musical talents. The quartet of performers included violinist Jaemin Lee, cellist Ethan Chen, and pianists Gregory Peng and Sophia Lin, who together offered a diverse range of musical styles and instruments.

At the end of our performance, the audience members rose to applaud and expressed their appreciation for the ongoing effort to introduce diverse music to the community. Their kind words and encouraging praise inspire us to come back each month. Their appreciation is a source of encouragement for all involved, reaffirming our commitment to continue to spread the joy of music throughout our community. Together, we embark on a harmonious journey as we look forward to more performances that will touch hearts, unite souls, and make Sundays at Sunrise even more special.

Ethan Chen, Sophia Lin, Gregory Peng, Jaemin Lee

Jaemin Lee performing

Expectations Fulfilled

Shaun and Samuel Wang

When we arrived at Brookdale Senior Living in Olney, a sister choir was already performing. As their beautiful music drifted through the door, with the sound of the senior residents singing along, we felt a little pressured to perform well, so we could sustain the audience’s level of enjoyment. After the last song ended, we entered the performance room, while the audience waited and murmured expectantly. A few of them recognized us from our previous performances.

While we were preparing, Mr. Antwon Coates, who works at Brookdale, took the microphone, and joked with the audience for a while. Among those that we can remember are: “If a pizza could talk, what would it say?” (Answer: “Probably what I’m saying, because I’m really cheesy”); “How do you fix a broken pizza?” (Answer: “Tomato paste”); and “What does an anteater like on its pizza?” (Answer: “Ant-chovies”). It was hilarious! All the laughter helped us relax and get comfortable before our performance.

Mr. Coates warming up the audience.

When we started the concert, it was immediately evident that the audience enjoyed our music. As usual, Samuel played classical music on the violin, and Katie played on the flute. Both Shaun and Claire played not only piano, but also their own string instruments, and Niko sang jazz and pop while accompanying himself on the piano. Our concert offered a huge variety of entertainment. We were very glad to have Claire and Niko with us, who were both new to Brookdale. They were brilliant additions!

Samuel, Shaun, Katie, Niko and Claire, from left to right.

Upcoming Workshop on Music and Health

Wen Grace Chen

The workshop “Music as Medicine: The Science and Clinical Practice,” to be held December 14–15, 2023, aims to highlight accomplishments from the last six years in advancing scientific research on music and health, develop a blueprint for the next phase of research, and further build the research community.

The workshop, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), is jointly organized by NIH, the NEA, the Renée Fleming Foundation, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The workshop is co-chaired by Dr. Francis Collins, former NIH director, and Ms. Renée Fleming, a renowned American soprano, both of whom will deliver keynote speeches.  

There will be six scientific sessions during the two-day workshop:

1. Research on the Science of Music

2. Research on Music Therapy and Music Medicine

3. Research on Music Education and Health

4. Future Research Directions

5. Networks and Capacity-Building of an Integrative Health Research Community

6. Integration of Music-Based Interventions into Health Care Systems

Each session will feature a short musical performance highlighting its scientific theme, followed by scientific talks and discussions with eminent speakers and panelists to enrich the content and perspectives for general discussions.

Information about the workshop: Music as Medicine: The Science and Clinical Practice | NCCIH ( and link to Registration.

An Unforgettable and Rewarding Moment

Katie Wang

I have been volunteering with the Tacy Foundation since I was in the second grade. When I first started, I was so little that when I played the piano, my legs dangled as I sat on the bench. Year after year, I grew a bit taller and gained more volunteering experience. Before I realized it, I turned into a middle schooler, and volunteering at the Tacy Foundation has become part of my life. It has become a normal part of my life that I play piano or clarinet for patients and seniors in hospitals or nursing homes over the weekends. However, the music event on October 7th was a special and unforgettable one for me, as it was our debut at the Johns Hopkins Suburban Hospital.

The introduction of the Tacy Foundation’s music events in Suburban Hospital is particularly meaningful because, as I learned from Mrs. Holliday, the Foundation started its work about 13 years ago by making CDs for the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center in Baltimore. From that experience, Mrs. Holliday went on to create the Tacy Foundation. Therefore, it is wonderful to have the opportunity to bring the music events to the local Hopkins hospital in our community. I feel so honored that I was able to participate in the debut of the music event there!

That day, we had two concerts at Suburban Hospital, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. In the afternoon, my brother and I took turns performing for the patients, doctors, nurses, and other staff. Since a piano was not available, I played clarinet and my brother played violin. Many people stopped by to listen to us. At the end of each piece, we received cheers and compliments. A few people came to us and told us how much they appreciated our performance.

In the evening, I went back to perform again. Some staff there already recognized me and gave me a warm welcome. I was the only musician in the evening, so I played all the clarinet pieces I know to fill the entire one-hour concert. It was not easy, but I managed it! At the end of the concert, I again received a lot of compliments. The staff told me how much they enjoyed my music, and I was so proud to be able to bring happiness to them.

Thinking back to what Mrs. Holliday did 13 years ago at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, I feel so proud that I did something similar at the local Johns Hopkins Suburban Hospital. I want to do it again and again, so I asked Mrs. Holliday about being the chief intern and continuing the music events at Suburban Hospital, and I was granted that position. I am extremely thankful for this opportunity and hope more people can participate in this program. Together we will inspire hope, note by note.

A Wonderful Experience

Claire Lee

I am a high school sophomore who recently started to volunteer with the Tacy Foundation. Two weeks ago, I performed at Sibley Hospital, and it was a fantastic experience that I would like to repeat. I had been looking for a way to share my music and inspire hope for others, and this organization gave me the opportunity to do so in a caring, appreciative manner.

Two months ago, I was so nervous about my first performance. I kept thinking about what people would think about my playing, and whether it was good enough or not, or the fact that I could have played better, among other thoughts. But after people came up to me and showed true care towards the music that I and others I played, it hit me that none of those anxious thoughts really mattered. My performance at Sibley Hospital confirmed this idea, mostly due to the peaceful environment and the support of others.

The performance area in Sibley is a good place for any musical sound to resonate, and when music is played in that area, it does not sound dry or flat; instead, the sound rings out, and the audience can take in the music fully. It is a large space that can seem like a concert hall. I played cello and the extremely high-quality piano there. Along with other student volunteers, I performed for visitors who stayed there to watch or who were walking along and decided to stop and listen. Throughout all the performances, many visitors and patients stopped and listened, and when the performance was over, they voiced their enjoyment for the music, which truly let me feel the connections that music can foster.

Ms. Holliday, the founder and executive director of the Tacy Foundation, was also there to support us. Along with the lead volunteer coordinator at Sibley, she ensured that the quality of the performances and the listening experience offered to the visitors and patients were the best they could be.

The performance at Sibley Hospital was a wonderful experience. Thank you to the Tacy Foundation, the hospital, and their staff for this chance to share music in meaningful ways.

Words of Appreciation

Shawn Hettiarachchi: I would like to give a massive thank you to the Tacy Foundation for helping me gain more than 80 SSL hours in one year and helping me get a Presidential Award.

I started volunteering with the Tacy Foundation last year in the 6th grade to use my piano-playing abilities to help those in need. I managed to acquire many SSL and presidential hours through performing and earned more by composing pieces with Mr. Tacy. By the time the school year was ending, I had managed to attain 80 SSL /presidential hours. A few days ago, I received my first award, the Silver Presidential Award.

I would like to thank Ms. Holliday, who helped me get to this position and become an achiever, and Mr. Tacy for helping me get SSL hours and supporting me to accomplish my goals. They are both excellent teachers and have taught me things ranging from musical terms to goal setting.

With the help of Ms. Holliday and Mr. Tacy, I’ve been able to accomplish many great things, including increased confidence, better goal setting, and many awards. Thank you, Ms. Holliday and Mr. Tacy, for helping me become who I am today.

Shannelle Hettiarachchi: The Tacy Foundation has helped my brother and I do community service and accomplish the goals that we were trying to achieve. Since we have been going to the Holy Cross Hospital in Germantown every Saturday, my brother has managed to gain many SSL hours, and both of us have received presidential hours. This was all possible because Ms. Holliday and Mr. Michael Tacy helped and taught us things we didn’t know. They have been a big help, letting us accomplish our goals, and teaching us piano-playing skills.

A big thank you to Ms. Holliday and Mr. Tacy, because without you it would have been much harder to accomplish the things we have done today.

Say Hello to the Tacy Tech Team!

Max Belyantsev, Executive Intern, The Tacy Foundation

Hi there! My name is Max Belyantsev, and I’m a senior at Richard Montgomery HS in Rockville, Maryland. I’m thrilled to serve my community as a Chief Intern, hosting Live Music events at the Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring and volunteering at several other locations. I’ve been playing piano for over a decade and am thrilled to support the Foundation’s mission of spreading joy through music.

My volunteering career with the Tacy Foundation began over two years ago! In June 2023, I started a new role as an Executive Intern while continuing my role as a Chief Intern. Now, I lead the Tech Team and support the Executive Director, the wonderful Ms. Charlotte Holliday, with any ongoing tasks.

The Tech Team is a behind-the-scenes group that works to improve the underlying mechanisms that fuel the Tacy Foundation’s operations. We essentially act as a support team to help new volunteers get started, answer questions related to SSL, receive YouTube videos, upload them to the Tacy Foundation’s distributed playlist, carry out projects to improve the volunteer experience, and so much more! This dedicated team consists of myself, Khoa Hoang, Samantha Rafiqul, Selene Lu, Tarun Senthil, and our latest addition, Zack Lam.

When I began my term as an Executive Intern, I immediately started a project proposal to improve the Tacy volunteer orientation process. At its recent September 17 meeting, the Tacy Foundation’s board officially approved this project! The Tech Team and I will work together to create new orientation materials and transition to Zoom to increase engagement and build a stronger sense of community among our volunteers.

When we receive the videos that you send us for the Foundation’s YouTube playlist, we ensure that they are properly formatted and keep you posted on their upload status. When you send us questions, we are here to answer them. Our goal is to make your volunteering experience as simple as possible so that you can focus on making a difference in our community.

A special thank you to our volunteers and interns who make everything we do possible. If you have any questions about what the Tacy Foundation does, the events we offer, the orientation process, or anything else, feel free to reach us at!

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

Zoe Bell, Teen Editor

Max Belyanstev, 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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