Bringing Country Music to my Gap Year program

1900584_10203519477098312_238639626_oFreshman year, I chose a different path. I had an opportunity to participate in a Gap Year  in Israel. To date, Year Course has been the most extraordinary experience of my life. During the first few days we were divided into two sections. The resulting community has become very special and close to my heart. My section of Year Course was filled with about 60 young men and women from America and Europe. The vast majority of students in Section One were from the United States. Most of them were from Northern states. There were just a few people from the South and only four of us were from Texas.  Unfortunately, this resulted in an overwhelmingly large unawareness of country music.  Nevertheless, us four Texans love this music genre, and made up for our terribly deprived cohorts. From the beginning we took it upon ourselves to introduce our fellow Year Coursers to quality country music.

At first everyone thought it was cliché that the Texans loved listening to country music. We were even ridiculed. But, the other Year Coursers quickly learned that country music is truly exceptional. The three other Texans in my section have become some of my best friends. They are the guys who lived one door down from me. I still have fond memories of them blasting a few of our favorites, Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton and Zac Brown Band. After a month of getting use to us, the other people in our building learned to enjoy the country music genre. By the end of the year, listening to country music and identifying with Texas became so admired that putting up the Hook’em sign became one of the most popular poses to make in pictures!
10411268_10203908759670133_2850066468215826711_n (1)One of the people who made fun of us Texans the most for our stereotypical taste in music was our counselor Josh. He is from Liverpool and thinks he knows a bit about music.  His attitude changed the day we introduced him to “Chicken Fried” by  the Zac Brown Band. Josh was hooked. This song became one of our Year Course anthems. We would turn it up so loudly that the entire apartment complex could hear it. Even the Brits would gather in the hallways to belt out the words!  This song truly united us as a group. Even today, every time us four Texans are together when “Chicken Fried” comes on, we will send Josh snap chat videos of us singing along.  He always replies with a smile. (Skip 0:53 into the video for beginning of the song)

PROJECTS-Rodeo-Houston-2Another example of sharing my love of country music with my new friends in Israel was when I would talk about the Houston Rodeo. “Not only is it the biggest rodeo in the world,” I would tell them, “But it’s the most fun month of the year!” Some people legitimately laughed out loud when they heard this crazy Texan talking about a Rodeo. They couldn’t believe such things existed outside of movies and television shows. But once I showed them pictures and explained the whole concept of the rodeo and the country music concerts, people became interested. A few of my friends even told me that they want to come visit me in Houston during the month of March just to attend this incredible event. Overall, I know that my Year Course community  grew closer due to the country music my friends and I shared with them. Although the country music genre is broad, at least one song brought us together and left us with memories that will last a lifetime.471374_1280x720


Filed under Blog Post 1, Music Videos, Rodeo, Texas

5 Responses to Bringing Country Music to my Gap Year program

  1. Max Holter

    This story was awesome! It was well written and a fun read. Although the writing was superb my favorite part was the pictures, especially the opening one. I thought you did a great job with the hyperlinks and YouTube video. I would definitely be interested in reading more about your gap year in later blog posts. It is also really cool that you still keep in contact with the people you met during this Year Course. Great Job!

  2. Cassidy Wilson

    I really enjoyed reading this story. It is so crazy how country music can bring a group closer together. If I meet people that don’t enjoy country music I take it as a challenge and usually it grows on them because who wouldn’t like it! I hope to go to the Houston rodeo someday too because I haven’t been to any in Texas yet! I really enjoyed the pictures of your personal experience embedded in this article! It helped me put faces to the story and made it even ore personal. Good job!

  3. Joseph Schooling

    This post was great to read. I’m glad you got a chance to go all the way to Israel! That must have been really exciting. I can definitely relate to the people from the Northern states ridiculing country music. I was one of those people a couple years ago, not gonna lie. Country music definitely rubs off on you if you’re around it for a substantial time, and it’s actually really catchy and meaningful. This past April, a couple of guys and I drove all the way to Auburn for the rodeo. We had morning practice from 6-8am and then starting tailgating from 9am and stayed till around 7 or 8. Although it was an exhausting day, I’ll never forget my first rodeo.

  4. Lottie Glazer

    Shira, I really enjoyed this post because I can completely relate to it. When I spent three weeks abroad in Australia I was confronted with the same problem. I was the ONLY one from texas. It was rough trying to convince the northerners to give country music a shot but like you once they heard a little Zac Brown Band and even a little Hunter Hayes I have to say they were all hooked. We would roll down the windows in the Jeep and blast the music so the other cars behind us could hear it as well. When people finally give country a chance they all learn to love it.

  5. Kevin Lefkowitz

    What a coincidence, I was also on this trip! Also, I’m in that picture so that is cool. But actually, this really was the best year ever and I’m so glad we got to spend it together. Bringing country music to those heathens certainly added to the experience. Do you remember when we had Friday “Fry Day” and spent all day listening to “Chicken Fried” while frying everything in the kitchen? That was amazing. This really did become a tight-knit community and I wish we could have all gone to the same school together. At least we have the Texas crew at UT!

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