September 2023 Newsletter


August 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

Summer has flown by! It seems there should have been one more month…nonetheless, here we are in September ready to move on to new opportunities in a new school year! Read the stories of summer projects. Be proud of your children and celebrate their vibrancy. I am amazed that they just keep coming up with more ideas of how and when to serve. The “why we serve” seems to be permanently embossed in each one’s heart and soul. For that, we give thanks to their parents and grandparents before them.

In light of the Maui, Hawaii devastation, we are responding with two Benefit Concerts in Maryland and Virginia, organized, prepared, and hosted by Tacy Foundation volunteers:

  • Sunday, September 3rd at 3 p.m. at United Church of Christ Seneca Valley, 13421 Clopper Road. Germantown, MD 20874. Reception following. Free admission. Free parking.

  • Sunday, September 10th at 3 p.m. at Community of Christ Church, 5610 Inverchapel Road, Springfield, VA 22151. Reception following. Free admission. Free parking.

Teens are preparing flyers listing the most reputable organizations that are contributing to the recovery. The flyers will be available at the benefit concerts. The overwhelming initiative of all the teen chief interns has launched this spur-of-the-moment opportunity to help all people in Hawaii.

Please join us on September 3rd or 10th to hear the message of Hope for Maui. Following the concerts, Raymond Lim, violinist and Chief Intern of Sounds of Hope for Turkey, will prepare a YouTube playlist for young artists to continue sending their music to support indigenous and residents of Hawaii as they mourn the loss of their loved ones and begin to recover and rebuild their lives.

MostArts Festival Young Pianist Competition

Anna Bray

A few weeks ago, I participated in the national 2023 MostArts Festival Young Pianist Competition in Alfred, New York. The experience was both encouraging and very formative.

For the competition, I performed a solo recital and the 2nd and 3rd movements of a Mozart concerto with the MostArts Festival orchestra. The solo recital enabled me to learn and present to an audience a large amount of repertoire, and it also taught me the art of creating a program.

My program consisted of Chopin’s Barcarolle, Op. 60, Rachmaninoff’s Etude Tableaux Op. 39, No. 1, as well as the third and fourth movements of Ravel’s Miroirs, “Une Barque sur L’Ocean” and “Alborada del gracioso.” I chose pieces that I was passionate about, but also ones that showcased versatility. Chopin’s Barcarolle is a piece with both sensitive and victorious moments, whereas Rachmaninoff’s Etude Tableaux Op. 39, No. 1 is moodier and more tempestuous. I have always had a special connection to Ravel, not only because of his unique style, but also for his storytelling. “Une Barque sur L’Ocean” can be translated “A Boat on the Ocean,” and one can hear the swelling of the waves and sense the vastness of the ocean. However, “Alborada del gracioso,” or “Morning Song of the Jester,” is more playful and boisterous. Ravel wrote this piece in the Spanish style, and one can almost hear the strumming of the guitar and percussive rhythm of castanets. Each of these pieces tells a beautiful story, which makes the program engaging, yet touching.

Performing with the MostArts Festival orchestra was a memorable experience. I chose to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 because of its sunny character, but also its balance of lyrical and playful passages. It was so wonderful to share the stage and the music with the orchestra members and conductor. We were able to savor the music of Mozart in an unhurried, reflective way, listening to each phrase in the second movement and enjoying the playful dialogue between soloist and orchestra during the third.

The jury decided to award me the Grand Prize, and I won an Audience Award for my concerto performance.

Although performing taught me much, I was also impacted by the audience and the supportive environment created by the festival. People from the community looked forward each year to attending the performances, and each concert felt like a celebration. People were excited to share their enthusiasm, yet still deeply touched by the music. I think that the way the audience viewed these performances is similar to the way senior residents eagerly anticipate Tacy Foundation concerts. They appreciate the time students dedicate to performing for them and love the entertaining and varied programs. The MostArts Festival reminded me of a message I have learned from serving with the Tacy Foundation: never underestimate the power of music. Links to the performances:

Solo recital:


Young Composer Spotlight

Michael Tacy and David Wang

The young composers of the Tacy Foundation continue to amaze me and inspire me. Featured this month is David Wang, a veteran of Composer’s Circle who just finished his piece for small string ensemble, “Night Shift”.

David has agreed to share his original creation with all of us and wherever our foundation reaches. He will now be featured in several of our playlists (See the Playlist Portal at the top of the newsletter). I think his music is truly inspiring and I hope it brings a little bit of hope to whoever listens!

Night Shift - David Wang

Young Artists of Tacy Foundation Perform at CC

*Reprinted and reformatted from NIH RECORD. August 18, 2023. Vol. LXXV, No. 17

If you were in the atrium of the Clinical Research Center at lunchtime on July 25, you were treated to a Young Artists Noon Concert by musicians of the Tacy Foundation.

According to its website, the nonprofit 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.”

Since 2011, when Tacy musicians rendered their first live concert in what the foundation called NIH’s “Hall of Hope,” young people have given performances for patients, staff and visitors at the Clinical Center.

A Gracious Letter of Appreciation

Adithya Nair

Dear Ms. Holliday,

I hope this letter finds you in the best of spirits. I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude for the invaluable support and guidance you have provided me during my time as a piano teacher with Piano Pals. Your dedication and passion for music education have played a pivotal role in shaping my journey as an instructor and have contributed significantly to my growth and success.

When I first joined Piano Pals, I was excited, but also a bit nervous, about teaching young students the art of piano playing. However, your warm welcome and continuous encouragement made all the difference. From our initial training sessions to the ongoing workshops, you ensured that we were well-equipped with the necessary teaching techniques, strategies, and resources. Your commitment to our development as instructors was evident in the personal attention you gave to each one of us, addressing our concerns and fostering an environment of collaboration and learning.

Throughout my time with Piano Pals, I have had the privilege of witnessing the transformative impact of music on the lives of our students. Thanks to your guidance, I have been able to create meaningful connections with my students, helping them discover their musical abilities and fostering a lifelong love for the piano. Your belief in my capabilities and your unwavering support have bolstered my confidence as a teacher, and for that, I am truly grateful.

Once again, thank you, Ms. Holliday, for the incredible experience and support you have provided me throughout my time at Piano Pals. Your mentorship has been instrumental in my growth as a piano teacher, and I am eager to apply the knowledge and skills you have imparted as I continue my journey in music education.

I look forward to keeping in touch and updating you on my progress as I embark on this new chapter. Please convey my warm regards to the entire Piano Pals team for their unwavering commitment to music education.

With deepest appreciation and warmest regards,

Adithya Nair

Cards Team Update

►The Cards Team has been so busy this year!  Thank you to Site Supervisor Karina Willis-Lara and Chief Interns Mario Lara, Rukmani Lara, Matthew Kim, and Eric Zou. Congratulations to the hundreds of card-makers among the Maryland, Virginia, and Alaska volunteers!

Below are some thank-you notes from Fisher House staff members. These facilities provide lodging for families of the military while their parents (service members) receive long-term treatment for injury or illness.

-- Tacy Foundation Cards Chief Interns

►In late June 2023, our volunteers created cards of encouragement and thanks for military service members and their families. As in prior years, the cards were shared with military personnel at Fisher House and First Responders Children. The cards were uplifting, encouraging, and communicated our appreciation to the military personnel and their families for their commitment to our country. The Tacy Foundation also included cards that displayed QR codes with greeting cards as well.  

During the summer, our volunteers also made thinking-of-you cards for patients in local hospitals. The cheerful cards were delivered to local facilities, including Holy Cross Hospital in Germantown and Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. From Holy Cross Germantown, Kimberly Elliott, Chief Nursing Officer shared that, "On Behalf of Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, I wanted to thank you for the wonderful greeting cards for our patients and staff. Your kindness brought smiles to everyone who received a card. Please share our thanks to all the youth who participate in your program. Thank you again for your support and donations to our staff."

Thank you for all your efforts on behalf of the Tacy Foundation, especially Ms. Holliday for coordinating and delivering the cards to these locations. Also, thank you to Matthew Kim and Eric Zou for all their efforts as chief interns of the Cards Projects.

-- Mario Lara, Chief Intern - Maryland Cards Projects

Excerpts from 24 recent thank-you notes received from Fisher Houses and hospitals:

  • On behalf of the families and staff at the St. Louis Fisher House, please accept our heartfelt gratitude and thanks for your generous donation of (10) music notecards. Through donations like yours, the St. Louis Fisher House can continue positively impacting morale and the quality of life for "our greatest national treasure...our military servicemen and women and their loved ones."

    100% of your donation will be used to supplement the excellent care and services provided to our Veteran patients and their families.

    The veterans' families join me in expressing our collective appreciation for your generosity and support of the Fisher House Program. Thank you!

  • On behalf of the VA Connecticut Fisher House staff and families, we would like to extend our appreciation to you for your generous donation of thank you cards and music, available through QR code, for our Fisher House families to enjoy. Your thoughtfulness reflects the appreciation you have not only for our Veterans and their service to our nation, but also their families and caregivers.

    Without your support, we could not sustain lodging accommodation and provide a "Home Away from Home" for our well deserving Veterans’ family members and caregivers while their loved one is receiving treatment through the VA.

    The VA Connecticut Fisher House Staff and families thank you for your continued support.

  • Thank you very much for the Donations you made to the Fisher House here at Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans Hospital. That was very kind of you, and our families really appreciate it. As you know, our Fisher House provides free accommodation for our families (approximately 1,200 - 1,400 per year) who have hospitalized Veterans. Many of them are dealing with serious health issues and may be struggling financially as well. Often, they would not be able to be together during this difficult time if the Fisher House was not available for them. As we rely almost entirely on donations and our volunteers to continue to support the Fisher House, we are truly grateful for your contribution.

    lf we can be of any service, please e-mail me or feel free to call us …. Come visit us any time; we would be happy to see you. And again, thank you for supporting our Veterans and their families through Fisher House!

Uniting Generations Through Chess

Jordan Go (Poolesville HS, 11th Grade)

It was my first time going to the 5th-floor game room at Asbury Methodist Village to teach and play chess with their senior residents. I was happy to see that game room has beautiful wooden chessboard tables, several comfy couches, and many board and card games. It was as inviting as the piano room on the first floor, where we volunteered with the Tacy Foundation to play music every month.

Poolesville High School students Abhijeet Ghodgaonkar, Joseph Mathew, and I, were very excited to continue the “Let’s Play Chess!” initiative they started last summer. This special program brings together young teens and beloved elderly residents for the wonderful game of chess. This activity gave us an opportunity to learn life lessons and form meaningful connections across generations.

Ms. Gloria, a former schoolteacher, was the first to arrive at the first session. She was eager to relearn how to play chess. Very patient and attentively, she took the short quizzes about how the chess pieces move, if certain moves were allowed, etc. very confidently, just like she would expect of her students.

Ms. Helen, also a former teacher, shared how her husband and his friends built one of the first personal computers from scratch out of materials they soldered together from a radio store. He and nine of his friends started the first computer class at their school in Michigan.

We were joined by Ms. Pat B., who has a degree in applied math from Albuquerque and masters’ degrees from Colorado. She was one of just a handful of women who played chess then. She said they were teased by the men, but that stopped when the women won against them.

Ms. Joan and her healthcare aide, Ms. Akouvi, Ms. Ruth, and Mr. Peter watched and listened intently to the chess lesson. Ms. Virginia, Ms. Mimi and her healthcare aide, Ms. Julianna were very sweet to have stopped in as spectators.

Mr. Oleg, a regular at last year’s chess events, brought the beautiful handmade chess set he bought from Poland to one of the sessions.

Ms. Pat T. was so thrilled to see us working with the senior residents. She was a former nurse and a very active resident who helped the Asbury administrators organize events for the residents of the Kindley Building where we volunteer.

We met the lovely Ms. Kinsey in the dining room when we stopped in to invite diners on each floor to next week’s session. She said she is so proud to see us working with the senior community. Ms. Kinsey was a former AP English teacher at Poolesville HS who advocated for the school to have a baccalaureate program when it was first proposed. She was so pleased to know that the program has evolved into one of the top magnet programs in the country.

We want to thank Ms. Ann, Ms. Celia and Mrs. Holliday who helped us organize Let’s Play Chess! at Asbury. We are also thankful for new volunteers, Jacob Lee (Poolesville HS), Caleb Yo (MLK MS), and Quan Nguyen (Churchill HS).

L-R, Poolesville HS Students: Jordan Go (11th Grade), Abhijeet Ghodgaonkar (10th Grade), Jacob Lee (11th Grade), and Joseph Mathew (10th Grade).

L-R: Joseph Mathew (PHS 10th Grade), Mr. Oleg (Asbury Resident), Ms. Shilpa Ghodgaonkar (Parent Volunteer), Abhijeet Ghodgaonkar (PHS 10th Grade), Quan Nguyen (Churchill HS 10th Grade), Ms. Helen (Asbury Resident), and Ms. Ngoc Nguyen (Parent Volunteer).

Bright and inviting fifth-floor game room. L-R: Ms. Helen (Asbury Resident), Quan Nguyen (Churchill HS 10th Grade), Abhijeet Ghodgaonkar (PHS 10th Grade), Joseph Mathew (PHS 10th Grade), and Mr. Oleg (Asbury Resident).

L-R: Caleb Yo (MLK MS 7th Grade), Ms. Ruth (Asbury Resident), Ms. Pat B. (Asbury Resident), Ms. Helen (Asbury Resident), Ms. Akouvi (Healthcare Aide), Ms. Joan (Asbury Resident), and Jordan Go (PHS 11th Grade).

Musical Performance in Rockville

Jodi Danis

On August 20, Tacy youth volunteers presented a 3 p.m. concert at Sterling Care Rockville Nursing Home. Many residents attended, and volunteers performed various musical styles on a variety of instruments. Michelle Ma played the theme to “Schindler’s List” on her cello, beautifully, and then pivoted to the Maple Leaf Rag (Joplin) on piano. One audience member particularly loved the Joplin piece and was dancing in her chair! Dylan Schenker ended with a special rendition of Happy Birthday for a resident who turned 102 that day, and whose family was there to celebrate.

(left to right) Tiffany Lu, Michelle Ma, Jocelyn Yuan, Alisha Dey, Thu Dang, Minh Dang, Eric Zhang, Daniel Lee, and Dylan Schenker

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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