The Music of the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus
Musically, the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus seeks to reflect the values of equality and inclusiveness upon which we are based, truly making manifest the concept of beauty in diversity. As our members come often from vastly different musical traditions, we draw heavy influences from both East and West in our repertoire and musical style, blending Arabic mawwal (vocal improvisation) with classical harmonies, drawing out the Arabic rhythms in everything from pop songs to traditional carols, and blending lyrics in Hebrew, Arabic, English, and beyond in songs that come from all over the world. As such, we seek to innovate and challenge boundaries musically as we do in the non-musical elements of our program.
To experience our absolutely unique sound, check out the links below!
Home, our viral music video with YouTube superstar Sam Tsui, has over 400,000 views on YouTube! If you haven't seen it yet, let us welcome you to our home in Jerusalem.
Our Israeli and Palestinian singers believe that music with a message can cross borders and highlight our shared humanity. In difficult times, each of us can make a difference by standing up for someone who is different from us. What do you stand for?
Our absolutely unique performance of Joy to the World on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert has been enjoyed by millions.
Hear our Middle Eastern spin on Carol of the Bells on BBC's Newsnight!
Our January 2013 collaboration with multi-platinum Israeli artist-activist David Broza has now been featured on the album and documentary film East Jerusalem / West Jerusalem, and even made it onto the Israeli radio charts! Listen to the sound of the chorus in its first studio session, three months after its founding!
We had the honor of performing at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Enjoy a full JYC concert in HD!
We had the great pleasure and privilege to perform with the Al Bustan Takht Ensemble at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA during our 2015 US Tour. This traditional Arabic song, Nassam Aleina el Hawa, expresses a longing for home that we felt all the more keenly accompanied by their brilliant classical Arabic musicianship.
We had the honor of teaching "Adinu," a powerful and innovative arrangement of an Arabic Sufi Chant, to 500 choral conductors from across the United States in a "Morning Sing" at the 2015 Chorus America Conference in Boston. Listen to hear what it might sound like to believe in "the religion of love."
Leading up to our 2015 US Tour, we embarked on a pilot collaborative songwriting program, integrating our musical and dialogue processes for the first time. The result, this stunning original composition, seeks to capture through sound the emotional journey of being a singer in the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus. Performance at the Massachusetts State House, June 18, 2015.
On our 2014 tour to Japan, we learned “Hana Wa Saku,” a beautiful song meaning “flowers will bloom” written after the 2011 Tsunami about overcoming loss and moving forward together with love. Obviously a theme that resonates with us as well, we had the beautiful opportunity to perform Hana Wa Saku in the Kyoto Concert Hall with a Japanese youth symphony orchestra and Japanese choirs of many ages. Enjoy!