The Yeshiva Boys Choir has what all the other boy bands have had: the youthful autotuned voices, the slick dance moves, the skillfully produced videos, and the coordinated costumes (though, in this case, the members usually wear dress shirts and black velvet yarmulkes, and many wear glasses and sport peyes). Now it also has something else groups like Menudo, Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block had — a major record deal.
It was announced Tuesday that Universal Music Group has signed on the Brooklyn-based Yeshiva Boys Choir. The group’s new YBC5-Hanukkah album has been added to the company’s international distribution list. A single from the album, “Those Were the Nights (of Hanukkah)” has gone viral, with 100,500 hits on YouTube in less than a month.
The choir was started in 2003 by producer and composer Eli Gerstner, and he and choir director Yossi Newman work with the 60 boys who have auditioned and made in into the group. YBC has put out eight albums, one of them live. They all contain songs with Hebrew lyrics using or based on religious texts, sung with Ashkenazi accents by the boys.
According to YBC’s website, the choir has performed countless concerts throughout the United States and Israel. Like all the great boy bands, YBC has played Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall. And earlier this month, they were seen on TV, on CBS.