My home, home is Brownsville, Texas but I consider San Benito my spiritual home, and certainly the home of my career as an arts administrator. I owe it all to this place – the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center – and I’m always happy to return to its flagship program, the annual Conjunto Festival.
Diana Torres is a student at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studies Human Development and Family Sciences. Diana is the oldest, of five siblings, the youngest being only 5 years old. Maria and Victor Torres immigrated from Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico in 1992 and decided to raise a family in Edinburg, TX (AKA The Valley) because that is where Mr. Torres's parents and grandmother were living.
Keeping in tradition of my annual Big Squeeze blog post, I’d like to start this year’s recap by declaring 2014 the Year of the Armadillo. When Austin design firm Frank+Victor revamped our Big Squeeze logo to include the armadill-accordion image, my coworker Michelle mentioned that soon after, many other music programs and festivals were using the armadillo on promotional materials.
This post is long overdue, but it's important that I get something down while the events are still somewhat fresh in my mind. I try to travel to New Orleans at least once a year, both for the pure fun and enjoyment the city provides, but also to stay in touch with people and communities I have worked with over the years.
All nine Big Squeeze contestants are winners.
Congratulations to Big Squeeze Champs:
Aaron Daniel Salinas of San Antonio, Conjunto
Garrett Neubauer, of Altair, Polka
Randall Jackson, Dallas, Zydeco
Saturday, April 26 is officially Big Squeeze Day in Austin by city proclamation.
It kicked off the 8th Annual Big Squeeze Contest and Accordion Contest. The musicians are warming up for their sets on the Bullock Museum Plaza.
On Saturday, April 26, the plaza in front of the Bullock Texas State History Museum will resemble a high school battle of the bands. Instead of marching bands, however, the Big Squeeze Accordion contest will greet unsuspecting visitors.
Tourists will have to weave around makeshift folding chair camps set up by families and fans, there to cheer their hometown Conjunto, zydeco or polka hero or heroine.
This weekend I had the privilege to participate in a special project near Marshall, Texas - the effort to maintain an old slave and African-American burial ground, Love Cemetery. Brought to national attention through a book and an ongoing documentary by Texan, now California-based, China Galland, the the "keepers of Love" continue to struggle to gain access to the grounds for visits and upkeep.