YES Programs



Musical Journey from Texas to Tunis

Zeineb holding her euphonium in the bleachers

By: Zeineb Taouali (YES 2022-2023, Tunisia, placed by World Link in Amarillo, TX)

Ever since I was little, I always remember making a big fuss about the tiniest of melodies, rhythms and frequences. I was always yearning for the music breaks in between radio shows or the song my dad always had on repeat during car rides. When I was 10, I asked my mom to sign me up for music classes.

Zeineb and friends in black dresses holding cellos

My musical journey started with the cello and two years later, I started attending rehearsals with the orchestra. Initially, I was afraid to meet so many new and grown-up musicians as a mere 12-year-old. However, this fear slowly turned into a love of playing on stage in front of an audience. As I grew up, orchestra became a family I could count on and with whom I shared a unique and intimate experience.

When I came to the U.S., I had to quit cello and orchestra altogether. I knew that I couldn’t stop playing music for a whole year, but I also couldn’t bring my cello from Tunisia all the way to Texas. So, I decided to jump into the unknown, and try learning a new instrument, the euphonium, and join my high school marching band. Little did I know that my band experience would be a life-altering one and help me improve as a musician, a friend and an individual. Joining big ensembles such as an orchestra or band isn’t just a simple cultural activity, it is a lesson in discipline, respect and sacrifice. It is about learning that by working together, we can create true beauty out of nothing and discover the hidden potential within us.

Through my experiences in Tunis and Texas, I have met some of the most incredibly talented and dedicated people in my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had thus far. As I continue my musical journey, I carry all the shared memories, moments and insight I have acquired and hopefully improve in what I do best: playing my heart out with the people I care about the most.