New York, April 2, 2008:
As pitchers take to the mounds and fans take to the stadiums, there is more to celebrate this spring than just the start of another baseball season. 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the most iconic and beloved of all American sports anthems - "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
The legacy of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" extends beyond the joy it has brought to listeners for the last 100 years. The song is directly responsible for the formation of The ASCAP Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs.
The ASCAP Foundation was incorporated in 1975 when Amy Swor Norworth, widow of Jack Norworth, the lyricist who penned "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" with composer Albert Von Tilzer, left a generous bequest to ASCAP to establish the Jack and Amy Norworth Memorial Fund to assist deserving young composers through the use royalties from "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." That initial program was called the The ASCAP Foundation Grants to Young Composers competion, designed to encourage composers in the earliest stages of their careers. The program, now known as The ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, has provided cash awards to hundreds of composers under the age of 30 since 1979.
"The deep, emotional connection that the American public has with 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' is a testament to the power of music to shape our experiences and to bring us together," said Karen Sherry, vice president and executive director of The ASCAP Foundation. "The place that this song holds in the history of American music is all the more special, given its role in helping many others to pursue the craft of songwriting that Jack Norworth himself so loved. All of us at The ASCAP Foundation are indebted to his generosity and celebrate this amazing milestone, as we continue our work of encouraging young songwriters to pursue their dreams."
Highlights of the intertwined history of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and The ASCAP Foundation include:
- 1908 - ASCAP member Jack Norworth and Albert von Tilzer collaborate to write "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
- 1975 - The ASCAP Foundation is incorporated in June after the estate of Jack Norworth leaves a bequest to ASCAP with instructions to create a program to honor and support young composers.
- 2008 - To date, The ASCAP Foundation has directly benefited thousands of songwriters and composers.
- Over the course of the century since it was written, there have been hundreds of recordings of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" by artists ranging from Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and the Andrews Sisters to Frank Zappa, Arturo Sandoval and the Goo Goo Dolls.
The ASCAP Foundation supports ongoing programs for music education, talent development, awards and grants, and overall recognition - all funded by donors such as Jack Norworth. Recently, The ASCAP Foundation's ChildrenWill Listen
program, established in honor of Stephen Sondheim, and which is designed to introduce the American Musical Theatre to youngsters who might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience it, teamed up with ASCAP member Lin-Manuel Miranda - lyricist, composer and star of Broadway hit, "In the Heights" - to expose students to the Broadway stage.
Fun Facts on America's Favorite Song
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game," which is traditionally sung during the seventh-inning stretch at baseball games, has become a mainstay in the American songbook. Here are just a few fun facts associated with the song:
- It is the third most frequently sung tune in the United States after "Happy Birthday" and "The Star Spangled Banner"
- It has sold over 10 million copies in sheet music and/or recordings
- Over the past 100 years, more than 400 musicians from every conceivable genre have recorded the song
- The original lyrics are now part of the collection at The National Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown, New York
The ASCAP Foundation and its connection to this beloved song is featured in a new special edition hardcover book and CD titled Baseball's Greatest Hit: The Story of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game
," published this year by Hal Leonard.
The ASCAP Foundation is planning further activities to celebrate "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" throughout 2008. For more information visit www.ascapfoundation.org
About The ASCAP Foundation:
Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org