September 2021 Newsletter

Inspiring Hope
September 2021
Director’s Corner: In 2008, the very first music CDs that The Tacy Foundation produced went in each Avon Foundation’s gift bag to patients at the Cancer Center of The Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Avon Director Lily Shockney’s warm welcome and sincere appreciation for children’s unpolished, humble gifts of music changed our lives.
The more detailed Story of the Tacy Foundation is now on the Foundation website:

As I heard the news from Afghanistan this week, the picture of a young Marine at Walter Reed reappeared from my memory. For every person who is clamoring to be safe and to be taken to a safe place to live, I think of the ones going there to bring them home.  

On a cold December afternoon in 2011, Tacy Teen Volunteers played at a holiday party sponsored by the American Red Cross at Walter Reed’s America Building. As they took turns playing the piano, violin, or flute, one teen started to play Silent Night. A 19-year-old Marine Sergeant came over in his wheelchair and watched. When the musician finished and looked up, the Sergeant asked her if he could learn that song. She saw his prosthetic forearm, two prosthetic legs, and without blinking, smiled and said “Sure!” Together they sat at the baby grand piano in the America building while visitors, military, teens, and Red Cross staff and volunteers enjoyed refreshments and celebrated. I will never forget the story of this young man who, struck by an IED and thrown across a field, lost a forearm and two legs, and sustained brain injury. He survived!  And his first thought was to go and rescue his squad. This Sergeant’s father had flown up to be with his son during the long road to recovery. His dad said, “He is a Marine through and through. He would do it again, if it meant he would be serving his country and fellow service members.”

During COVID, we sent USB flash drives with two graphics to every Fisher House. The music and graphic design below express our eternal hope for the world. Music notes stream from outstretched hands releasing doves into the sky.  This symbolizes our hope and our mission, inspiring hope, note by note. 

Graphic Design by Ana Eastep
The second USB insert also expresses hope for the world at home and abroad. The dove, infused with music, ascends to heights of light and peace.
Graphic Design by Ana Eastep
Join us in our efforts.  In this and other newsletter issues, we share the work with you with renewed conviction and resolve. Our music and story, interwoven with hope for healing, will make a difference in our world. -- Charlotte Tacy Holliday
Note of Appreciation

From Paul Adam, LifeStages Director at Hunters Woods at Trails Edge in Reston, VA (sent August 18, 2021): 



Our residents are raving about what a great group of talented young musicians you have! They loved the in-person concert you held here at Hunters Woods this past Saturday. Out of all the volunteers we have in our community, your group stands out as one of the best. Thank you for all that you do. Are you interested in coming back for an in-person concert this fall? If it is easier, we can set something up consistently as the second Saturday of each month at 2pm. Let me know if that sounds good with you!

The Effects of Community Service on My Life
When I moved to Maryland, I yearned to find a musical instrument that would excite me. I found a multitude of sports that I loved: I enjoyed swimming, tennis, and playing basketball with my friends. Subjects at school like math and science captivated me. Yet, I could never find that elusive musical passion that I sought. A couple of years later, I started to play the piano due to my parents’ encouragement and my sister’s interest in the piano. I started practicing with Mrs. Holliday and later joined the Tacy Foundation. I knew at first that I loved to play the piano and enjoyed the intricate details that came with playing. What I didn’t know at the time was something I’ve come to deeply appreciate all these years later: helping out my community. 

Upon joining the Foundation, I started doing a variety of charitable work, including playing at the Asbury Homes, Montgomery Mall, or at the Shady Grove Hospital. Later, I became even more immersed with the work of the Tacy Foundation when I became a Chief Intern for Piano Pals and substituted as a Chief Intern for the Eden Home. However, all of the work that I and many others were doing came to an abrupt halt with the COVID-19 pandemic. For a long period of time, I did almost no charitable work. I didn’t know what to do. In time, I found my place in giving back in the virtual world. I started sharing my experiences in the Tacy Foundation with others online. I helped students track their SSL hours for their own charitable work. I served as a Chief Intern for Piano Pals, helping other Piano Pals mentors prepare for this fall. During this time, I gained a deeper appreciation for the effect we can have on others, whether it be in person or virtually. The emphasis that the Tacy Foundation and individuals like Mrs. Holliday give to doing good for our community has created a ripple effect on not only me but also on so many others. All the work we’ve done related to the Foundation has been another reminder of how service has changed my life for the better while at the same time benefitting my people in my community.  -- Siddharth Kondam
Composing a Scherzo
My name is Sean Wang, and I am a rising 8th grader. I have been volunteering for the Tacy Foundation since I was in the 6th grade. Among various projects I have participated in, one of my favorites was the Composers’ Circle held by Michael Tacy. I am very excited and honored by the opportunity to share my music and some thoughts about my composition.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, I joined the Composer’s Circle to learn how to compose. I learned so much from Michael in the past year. I have composed several sonatas and string quartets. One day, I got some inspiration when I was listening to Frederick Chopin’s Scherzo No 2. This piece is so beautiful, and it showed many emotions, using various techniques. Then, an idea struck me -- I should try to compose my own scherzo! When I told Michael my idea, he totally supported me, and taught me the style and form that a scherzo should have. After few weeks, my first scherzo was born!

A scherzo is a fast-moving humorous piece. It has a form of ABA + coda, with the parts often splitting into multiple smaller sub-parts. My scherzo starts with a slow, simple melody in F# minor. I use octaves for the left hand and second voice notes for the right hand as accompaniment. This leads to the A theme, with is composed in a similar approach to Chopin’s scherzo. The A theme then modulates to the B theme in a slow, ominous way. The B theme is in B flat major. It is a trio that starts slow, like the introduction, and adds high notes in the second voice that act as ornaments. The B theme then speeds up and reuses parts of the A theme in a different melody. The next part of the B theme is in C minor in a Beethoven-like style, and it shifts back to F# minor using a series of diminished chords and dissonance. Then the A theme is played again as the recapitulation, with some slight differences, before it slows down and reuses the slow, ominous transition from A to B. Next, a series of 6ths descend the F# minor scale from the dominant, leading to a powerful F# chord before entering the coda, which is a fast cadenza also in F# minor. Finally, it speeds up even more while getting more intense and ending with octaves playing a contrary, descending F# minor scale. That’s how my scherzo was created. 

I really enjoy composing music because it feels like traveling in a virtual space where I can use my imagination and connect the different themes that I created. I can go slowly and softly as if I am telling a happy story. I can also move swiftly and show my passion. It is so much fun to compose. I also hope that by sharing the music that I composed, I can also bring joy to the community. Thank you, the Tacy Foundation for all the opportunities you have given to me.
The link to a video of the performance and notes of Sean Wang’s scherzo is:
Allison Oh Performance at NIH Clinical Research Center
On July 29, Allison Oh performed Debussy's L'isle Joyeuse at the NIH Clinical Research Center. She writes: "Being able to return to the NIH for live performances was an incredible feeling. It was a great joy to play on the beautiful piano in the atrium, and share music with all of the patients, families, and workers at the NIH. I hope everyone is staying healthy and finding ways to spread love and happiness."
 Allison Oh performing Debussy's L'isle Joyeuse at the NIH Clinical Research Center

New Book on the Benefits of Music for Children:

A Fundraising Opportunity for the Foundation

Tacy Foundation Director Charlotte Tacy Holliday has written a book on the benefits of music for children. She wants to use the book as a fundraising opportunity for the Foundation. Here’s how she describes what happened: “I was approached by Audiobooks several months ago and invited to have the book read for Audiobooks. The telephone call from Audiobooks was such a surprise! At first, I thought it was a scam. They called me five times in a month and sent emails before I realized they were serious. I listen to audiobooks when I drive, when I cannot sit still to read, and when I am too tired to do anything else but want to keep my courage and spirits high. I did not know Audiobooks staff look for books to add to their children’s library. But the process has been delightful!

This true children’s story is my way of expressing to a child the mission of the Foundation. The arrangement for publication has been paid for in advance. It will cost the Foundation nothing. Although there is no way to estimate an amount that would come as a result of sales after fees to the sellers, I would be most honored to donate all proceeds to The Tacy Foundation.”

You can view the Trailer on this YouTube channel, through this link:   Please feel free to share the video in any way you'd like; it's a great way to spread the word about this book, the Foundation, and the Fundraiser.

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.

Charlotte is a little girl with a passion for music. Join her on a journey as she learns to play the piano and watch how her music helps her to become a better person! 

Charlotte's Secrets for Children:

Music is a Gift.

Music is Medicine.

Music and the Arts are the Keys to learning.

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 

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

Select The Tacy Foundation as your charity when shopping on Amazon! will donate a small percentage of your order to The Tacy Foundation upon request.  A very easy way to donate at no additional cost to you!

Charlotte Holliday, Founder and Executive Director

Matthew D. Scott, Graphic Editor

Michael Favin, Chief Editor

Siddharth Kondam, Teen Editor

Ethan Schenker, Teen Editor

Copyright © 2021 The Tacy Foundation, All rights reserved.

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