(article) Texas Folklife's Big Squeeze Accordion Contest Is Coming to San Antonio



Sheree Scarborough

(512) 922-5483, sheree.scarborough@gmail.com



Talent Showcase Highlighting CONJUNTO will be held at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center on Sunday, March 26


Austin, Texas – March 13, 2017 – Texas Folklife is thrilled to announce that the Big Squeeze Accordion Contest is back in 2017. This will be the 11th year for the Big Squeeze program that supports up-and-coming Texas musicians who are 21 years of age or younger. The contest is one of the ways in which Texas Folklife carries out its mission to preserve and present Texas’s diverse cultural heritage. The contest recruits players in all genres of the Lone Star State’s accordion-based music.

This year, Texas Folklife is hitting the road again and holding Big Squeeze talent showcases in communities throughout the state to search for young accordion talent. Three Final Grand Prize Winners will be devoted to the three main accordion genres—polka, Cajun/zydeco, and conjunto. The polka genre will include German, Czech, and Polish polka traditions. Cajun/zydeco will include zydeco, Creole and Cajun musical traditions. And conjunto will include conjunto, norteño and Tejano. The showcases will be free and open to the public, and will feature music by established accordion artists as well as showcase the young musicians.

There will be a talent showcase in San Antonio co-sponsored by Conjunto Heritage Taller at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center on Sunday, March 26, from 3:00-6:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. This showcase will emphasize conjunto, but all interested players are encouraged to reserve a showcase slot by contacting Texas Folklife. Those wishing to perform should either register online by 2:00 p.m. or should arrive by 2:00 the day of the showcase. Those players who cannot attend the showcase may mail or e-mail their entries to arrive at Texas Folklife no later than March 31, 2017. The complete contest rules and entry forms are available online at www.texasfolklife.org/bigsqueeze2017 or by calling (512) 441-9255.

The afternoon will be a celebration of conjunto! The Big Squeeze talent showcase will begin at 3:00 p.m. in the Guadalupe Theater, where the contestants will be accompanied by Robert Casillas on the bajo sexto. After the showcase conjunto masters Lorenzo Martinez & Ramon “Rabbit” Sanchez and Texas Folklife’s 2015 Big Squeeze Conjunto Champ Rito Peña. Then, as a grand finale accordion legend Eva Ybarra will perform outside on the Guadalupe Plazita.

Up to nine finalists (three from each genre) will be selected the week of April 3rd by a panel of judges, and will perform at the Big Squeeze Concert and Finals at the Bullock Museum on Saturday, April 22. At that time, three Grand Prize Winners will be selected. The three Big Squeeze 2017 Grand Prize Winners will receive a prize package valued at more than $4,000, including a cash prize, a brand new Hohner accordion, performance opportunities with Texas Folklife, publicity, professional development, and other professional opportunities. Additionally, the Grand Prize Winners will perform onstage with legendary Texas musicians at Texas Folklife’s Accordion Kings & Queens Concert, held at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre in June.

“We end our talent showcases for Big Squeeze 2017 in San Antonio,” said Executive Director Charlie Lockwood. “And with a celebration of the quintessential Texas roots music—conjunto—featuring accordion masters and legends. We are grateful to our hosts Conjunto Heritage Taller and the Guadalupe Center for the Arts for their participation and for helping us fulfill our mission to foster the continuation of the traditional arts and culture in the state.”

The Big Squeeze is supported by Hohner Inc., the Texas Music Office, by grants from H-E-B, Texas Commission on the Arts, the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department, the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board, and the Houston Endowment. Regional community and venue partners include Hacienda Records, Texas Polka News, Cajun Sounds Internet Radio, www.zydecoevents.com, Conjunto Heritage Taller, McDonald Public Library in Corpus Christi, Café 4212, Multicultural Education & Counseling through the Arts, Larry’s French Market & Cajun Restaurant, 508 Amphitheater at Encore Park and the Museum of Street Culture, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Los Fresnos High School, La Joya Independent School District, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

About Texas Folklife

Texas Folklife is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State, and is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the Folk & Traditional Arts organization for the state. For over 30 years, Texas Folklife has honored cultural traditions passed down within communities, explored their importance in contemporary society, and celebrated them by providing accessible and joyful arts experiences.

1708 Houston St.

Austin, Texas 78756

T (512) 441-9255

F (844) 386-2091


Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

Guadalupe Theater

1301 Guadalupe Street

San Antonio, Texas 78207

(210) 271-3151


Media information: Sheree Scarborough (512) 922-5483 / sheree.scarborough@gmail.com


Big Squeeze information: Alysha Hernández 210-286-1999 / bigsqueeze@texasfolklife.org