YellowJackets’ new CD celebrates music’s power to bring the world together

9 Feb

The YellowJackets, Webster’s hometown a cappella group, is making waves again with a brand new CD.

OK, to be entirely truthful, the YellowJackets do not really belong entirely to Webster. The group actually hails from the University of Rochester, and the boys in it are from all over. But the group has a very Webster connection in former member Christopher Young.

You might remember the blog I wrote last February about Young.  At the time, he was working as a student teacher at Webster Thomas High School. But the previous summer he was a television star, performing with the YellowJackets on The Sing-Off, an NBC reality show featuring a cappella groups. The group did so well on the show they advanced to the final rounds before being eliminated.

Young has now graduated from the U of R, so he’s no longer a member of the YellowJackets.  But he does perform on the group’s new CD, which has just been released.

The CD is called United We Sing, and is the 16th studio album the group has released.  But (and I quote the press release) it’s “unlike anything the group has ever produced!”

I listened to some of it, and they’re right.

The album grew out of the YellowJackets’ visit to rural Kenya in the summer of 2011, where they shared their musical talents with Kenyan children, conducting workshops, learning traditional native songs and teaching students popular American songs.  The trip was designed to bring people together through the power of music. The resulting album is a continuing effort to do the same.

Its 13 tracks deliver the unification message through a mix of African songs, like “Jambo” and “We Bale Jesu,” and pop favorites “Africa” by Toto and “Waka Waka” by Shakira.  It features students from Kenya’s Mbaka Oromo Primary School and the World of Inquiry School in Rochester, and gospel artist Trey McLaughlin. The Sing -Off fans will also really enjoy the return of “Wavin Flag,” sung by the YellowJackets on season three, and a rousing rendition of “We Are the World,” featuring contestants from all of the show’s seasons.

United We Sing (Pamoja Tuimbe in Swahili) is available  in hard copy for $20 and digital download for $10 at  And what’s super great is that the boys have pledged to donate 100% of the proceeds to support music and education programs for students in need.  I totally believe that music can change a child’s life, because I have seen it happen. Maybe it can change the world, once child at a time.

Great music for a good cause. Doesn’t get much better than that.


The YellowJackets perform on The Sing-Off. Christopher Young is in the back row, on the far left.


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