May 24, 2024
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Harmony in The Heights

College students and a capella music. It is a combination that just seems to naturally go hand in hand, and the all new Y-Studs, an 11-man group from Yeshiva University, offer a fresh and innovative sound that explodes with excitement.

“We love making music,” Teaneck resident Jason Katz, president of the Y-Studs, told the Jewish Link. “We love putting out new things. We are a high-energy group and we love to get people up and moving to our music.”

Katz acknowledged that the group is not the first Jewish choral ensemble to sing a capella, a musical genre that has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially during sefiras haomer and the three weeks.

“People know about the Maccabeats and 613, but there are plenty of others who want to get in on the act,” said Katz.

Having an 11-man team gives the Y-Studs the ability to produce a full sound, and coupled with their infectious enthusiasm, the group is confident that they can emerge as a powerful contender in the world of Jewish a capella.

If the name Y-Studs sounds vaguely familiar, that is likely because the group was originally founded in 2010, but the new Y-Studs comprises all new faces and voices. The original name was kept as a nod to Yeshiva University but the new members have completely reinvented the look and sound of the Y-Studs.

“With new time comes new talent; with new talent comes new opportunities and with those opportunities we hope to let people know who we are,” noted Katz.

In addition to appearances at Yeshiva University, the Y-Studs have performed in a wide variety of locations in recent months including San Diego, Baltimore, Albany, Ontario, Binghamton and closer to home in New York City and at various venues on Long Island. The group, whose members hail from New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Toronto and Portland, hopes to be doing an appearance shortly in Florida.

The Y-Studs latest musical offering is a five-song EP titled Days of New, featuring covers of popular songs including Avicii’s The Days and a newly imagined version of the classic Menucha V’Simcha.

“It is jazzy, with a salsa twist,” observed Katz. “It’s really very cool.”

Also included on the album is the Y-Studs version of Gad Elbaz’s smash hit Hashem Melech, and a video version of the song garnered over 16,000 YouTube hits in just six days.

“It is an easy song, a fun song that people can dance to at weddings and is very popular,” noted Katz.

Song selection is crucial for any group and Katz noted that the group looks for hit songs that are well suited to an a capella arrangement.

“We can make things more complex because we have so many guys in the group,” said Katz.

While Katz just graduated from Yeshiva University with a major in business, most members of the group are undergraduates. There are currently no plans to add any more voices to the Y-Studs.

“We like to keep the group intact,” said Katz. “We gel well together.”

What’s next for the Y-Studs?

More videos, which will hopefully bring more fans.

“We have about 1400 likes on Facebook, which is about 1400 more than we had a year ago,” quipped Katz. “We want tens of thousands of people to get to know our music, to have fun and get as much enjoyment as they can from our music, the video and the album.”

Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and many private clients. She can be contacted at [email protected].

By Sandy Eller

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