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V’Ohavta L’Reacho Komocha: The Sweet Sounds of The Yeshiva Boys Choir

By Rochelle Maruch Miller

They came, they sang, and they conquered! Since we first introduced you to the Yeshiva Boys Choir not so long ago, they have taken the world by storm and become the hottest group on the Jewish music scene. Frankly, we’re not surprised. As we stated on these pages after reviewing their debut album, the Yeshiva Boys Choir have an exciting sound that is distinctively theirs and success could not have happened to a sweeter, more deserving group of youngsters. Put together by producer par excellence Eli Gerstner, the musical genius who has brought us The Chevra and Menucha, the Yeshiva Boys Choir is conducted by Yossi Newman, whose patience and rapport with the boys inspires their professional, polished performances, both on their albums, as well as during their concert appearances.

With his finger on the pulse of musical talent, Eli can spot a gifted performer at first note. And what he heard – and saw – from the start was that the Yeshiva Boys Choir were brimming with talent. Their debut album, produced, composed and arranged by Eli Gerstner, was a huge success, and catapulted the young performers to instant stardom, making them household names. From a personal perspective, I can readily attest to the Yeshiva Boys Choir’s tremendous fan base – as a bubbie, I find that their album is the most requested one, by far, by each of my grandchildren, whether at home or in the car. Recently, my students took a poll of their favorite group. The Yeshiva Boys Choir easily won first place. Indeed, the YBC were the subject of a recent composition that one of my students wrote, as well. The topic that I had assigned my students to write about was "“Role Models." Nathan, an unabashed fan of the Yeshiva Boys Choir, named them as his role models and wrote, “I think that they inspire many boys like me because they make you feel very proud to be a yeshiva boy. They look and act like yeshiva boys in everything they do – when they sing on stage and on the cover of their album. They’re great role models.”

Indeed, both Eli and Yossi emphasize that the young performers are, first and foremost, yeshiva boys. It is not merely the name of the choir but rather who they truly are. To that end, they are immensely proud of the fact that the parents, principals and teachers of the young performers call to express their appreciation of the fact that there is never a conflict between yeshiva and choir practice or performances. Eli does not acquiesce. “I believe that a lot of the hatzlacha of the Yeshiva Boys Choir is due to that.”

Following the unprecedented success of the YBC’s debut album, Eli decided to begin producing “V’Ahavta L’Reacha Kamocha,” their second album. Inundated with emails, phone calls and letters from virtually every community across the country, including remote areas. from people who waxed enthusiastic about the Yeshiva Boys Choir, decided to accelerate production of the second album and release it in time for Purim. Following the success of The Chevra and Menucha, he was in the midst of producing an exciting new debut group album, “Teknoy,” with a scheduled Purim release. But due to the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response elicited by the Yeshiva Boys Choir, Eli changed his original plans and focused on the speedy release of their new album. “Teknoy,” a breakthrough new sound, will be released in September, and is, in true Eli Gerstner tradition, already generating a great deal of excitement.

Fans of the Yeshiva Boys Choir, young and old, will savor their new album. Says Eli, “I wanted it to be fresh and different, unlike anything that i’ve ever done before. We kept to the catchy style of songs like, ‘Kol HaMispalel,’ and upped the production value. “Bar Hay Hay,” lively and spirited, has an infectious beat and is destined to become a wedding and simcha favorite. “V’Ahavta L’Reacha Kamocha” sets the album’s theme, that everything can be resolved by these words. This is not just another “first” song featured on an album. The fact that no brass is featured on this track emphasizes this point. Sit back, savor the selections and enjoy. Indeed, the album is a treasure trove of Gerstner gems, each one showcasing the sweet sounds of the Yeshiva Boys Choir.

If you’ve seen the YBC perform in concert, you know why they draw audiences from near and far. Be it at the HASC concert at Madison Square Garden, their Chol HaMoed Succos concerts at various venues or other appearances, these talented performers enchant their audiences with their charismatic stage presence. In response to popular demand, the Yeshiva Boys Choir will be weaving a web of musical magic this Chol HaMoed Pesach. On Wednesday afternoon of Chol HaMoed, they will appear in concert at the 20,000 seat Philadelphia Spectrum, with the Ringling Brothers Circus. Easily accessible from New York and New Jersey, this is great family entertainment. They will also perform on Tuesday of Chol HaMoed in a soon-to-be-announced Brooklyn location among a few other performances in the tri state area, so look out for a venue near you!

All of the YBC performances will be accompanied by the Yosis Orchestra (of course conducted & produced by Eli Gerstner). Tickets – and albums – are in great demand, so be sure to get yours immediately. See you at the Spectrum!

 

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