Yeshiva Boys Choir Volume III
Eli Gerstner Does It Again!
Nobody knows exactly how the segment of "Kol Hamispallel"
from YBC Live got posted on You-Tube, the world- famous
internet video site. Eli Gerstner didn't post it. And
neither did his distributor Izzy Taubenfeld of Sameach
Music. But somehow it ended up there. And like so many
of Gerstner's productions, it's become wildly popular
beyond anyone's imagination.
Close to 700,000 people have 'hit'
upon the video, between You-Tube, Google Video & a few
other video sharing sites, and the number is fast reaching
towards the million mark. The live recording is being
played on computers across America and Heaven only knows
where else. There's something about the wholesomeness
of the choir, the cheerfulness of the melody and the
inspiration behind the song that has gotten hundreds
of thousands of people hooked. Eli's been getting calls
and emails from all over the world who are eager to
reach him and tell him how his music is changing their
It's all par for the course, as far
as Eli's concerned. He's been contacted by so many different
types with so many unimaginable requests that nothing
surprises him anymore. Like the time a public school
teacher in Arizona purchased fifty tickets to a Chevra
concert for his African American and Hispanic students.
(Why? Because they love the music!) Or the producer
who asked permission to use Kol Hamispallel as a theme
song for a video & then asked "what does these words
mean"? Or the planeload of teenagers who started singing
"Yehai" on a birthright trip to Israel. Etc. Etc. For
Eli, every day brings along its own adventure.
But we digress. Let's get back to Eli
and Yeshiva Boys Choir. "It's been two years on the
button," says Eli, "since we released our last YBC album.
Since then, things have been absolutely crazy." That's
the understatement of the century, for sure. The popularity
of YBC Live has not only shattered the all-time record
for a Jewish music video, it has in fact doubled the
all-time record. It's being snatched up faster than
stores can stock it. So now, of course, inevitably the
pressure is on to produce YBC Live 2.
Fortunately for everybody, it won't
be long in coming. The Yeshiva Boys Choir will IY"H
perform at Queens College on Chol Hamoed Pesach (April
5th) together with the Chevra and Tek-noy. These songs
will be recorded live at the performance and will undoubtedly
be included in YBC Live 2. This means that those who
are lucky enough to attend the concert will be a part
of Jewish music recording history. (Make sure to look
good. There will be cameras scanning the audience.)
This concert, by the way, will be held in the evening
of the same day as the choir's huge gala Chol Hamoed
concert at Madison Square Garden with the Ringling Brothers
circus, before an audience of 20,000. That, too, will
no doubt be a historic occasion.
Somehow, besides all of this excitement
and history in the making, Eli and the choir somehow
found it possible to create YBC 3, an album which is
being released imminently. Eli is gracious enough to
give us a sneak preview of its greatness. He tells us
to look out for "Shabichi", which will probably be heralded
as the trademark song of the album. Similar in style
to former YBC greats, the song is a tribute to Hashem,
an expression of thanks for all the wonderful things
in the world. As Eli says, "I am filled with hakoras
hatov. I know that with a snap of the fingers everything
in life could change. So I'm grateful for the siyata
dishmaya which Hashem has shown me until now and I hope
to continue to bring music and inspiration to klal yisroel."
Our sneak preview continues with a
song which is called "Boreich" but is actually pronounced
"Booraich". This is YBC's version of a lively Chassidic
nigun. For the sake of authenticity, Eli included several
young chassidishe soloists, courtesy of Chaim Yitzchok
Goldman of Bobover boys choir fame, to sing the song.
The results? "It sounds like it came straight from the
Another noteworthy selection is called
"In a Song," and it's actually the first time ever that
Eli has put an English song on an "EG Production". Eli's
inspiration for that selection came during the tragic
Gush Katif expulsion a year and a half ago. "When that
happened," he says, "I sat there in tears. I just felt
I had to write something." It's a song of unity and
achdus, a song of hope and inspiration. It will be performed
live for the first time at Queens College.
As usual, Eli writes the songs, music
and the harmonies for YBC while Yossi Newman conducts
the choir and teaches the kids. "Our soloists are always
amazing," Eli comments, "But especially so on this album.
If you liked YBC 1 and 2, you're going to love YBC 3.
It has many of the elements that have made the first
two albums so popular because, as Eli sees it, why mess
around with a good thing? "The way I look at it," he
says, "I work with the same formula because people love
What's special about Yeshiva Boys Choir?
The name says it all. They are Yeshiva boys first and
then a choir second. Their entire demeanor is aidel
and fine. Ranging in age from seven to thirteen, they
are young and wholesome and innocent. And that's why
they captivate their listeners every time they sing.
Those listeners apparently include
the 700,000 people from all over the world, who are
downloading their music. Even they can feel the magnetic
energy behind the YBC boys. Here's how Eli explains
it: There's something about children singing that captures
the hearts of all those who listen to them. These kids
have no ego, they have no motive, they're not looking
for compensation or for fame. They're singing because
they love it and because their souls are in it. It's
pure, energetic and powerful.
Audiences are similarly touched. Once
in a while Eli will turn around and face the audience
while he's conducting the orchestra. Everybody out there
is smiling. Certainly other performers may also be successful,
and other concerts are sold out regularly. But there's
just something so hartzig about the choir. It transcends
all boundaries and speaks to every individual on a personal
level. Eli likes to say, "We touched a nerve." But it's
more than that. Eli's created an entire stratosphere
of simcha and inspiration for all of us to enjoy.