For every student, staff and parent that has passed through the hallways at ASH, our school song is one of those things that unites us all as part of our community and the #ASHexperience. We all know the words, we all know the tune, and most certainly, we have all sung it at one point in time or another. To this day, "Tell Me, Tell Me" is sung throughout the school year for several key events. Its lyrics, melody, contemporary harmonies and, most of all, message unite our ASH community and never fail to inspire both singers and audiences. But do you know the story of our school song, and how it came to be?
"Tell Me, Tell Me
" is an original work written and composed in 1986 by former ASH Music Teacher (and resident composer) Gary Cramer. Gary worked at ASH for 33 years, teaching band and choir to our grades 5, 6, 7, and 8 students, and later on, leading our music technology classes for high school students. Sadly, he passed away in 2018, leaving behind a magical musical legacy of original works, plays, productions and unforgettable events, such as our annual musical Extravaganza.
When the song was first performed for an elementary school concert in 1986, the director at the time, Gail Schoppert, immediately suggested that the school adopt it as the school song and was done so in 1987. Since then, it is a tune that thousands of students, parents and staff have sung over the decades, quietly finding its place in our hearts and spirits - connecting us all as a global community.
We are so thankful that Gary shared his personal reflection of writing "Tell Me, Tell Me" with us in 2016, describing the process of how the song came to be what it is today.
"I was teaching elementary choir at the time... and we were singing a song about the 50 States ("Fifty Nifty United States"). At that time, we were a predominantly American populated school; the international kids in the choir asked me, "Isn't there a song we could sing about our (own) countries?" I was at a loss, so I decided to write something myself, which would incorporate the names of the countries of students who were in that choir.
We sang the song at the spring concert and the audience was very enthusiastic. There were frequent requests made by other choirs to sing it, at various events, throughout the years. When Queen Beatrix opened our new school in 1990, we sang it for her, and for President Bush Sr. when he visited the school 1991.
In 1989, American singer Amy Grant gave ASH official permission to use the title "Tell Me, Tell Me". That year, Amy had a hit song called "Sharaya", from which the opening line of the chorus began with the line "Tell me, tell me, where do you come from?" This, of course, is a line in our beloved school song, so it was very important to have artistic consent with these lyrics. I went along with ASH teacher Tony Gay and met her backstage after her concert at the Congresgebouw in The Hague to discuss the lyrics. We presented her with a copy of the lyrics and music; she was delighted and felt honored that we were inspired by her song.
I loved hearing children sing it, particularly the elementary school children, who sing it with such passion and fun. Though we sing the song at the end of Extravaganza every year, I particularly enjoyed hearing it on International Day; the lyrics suddenly become incredibly poignant as you look out at all the kids in their national dress, waving their flags. It makes me feel grateful to be a part of ASH."
All these years later, the power of music and our school song connects us even more - discovering new ways to learn and grow together, making the world our home, but always a part of the ASH community.