(article) Texas Folklife's Big Squeeze Accordion Contest Returns to The Rio Grande Valley



Sheree Scarborough

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




Talent Showcase Highlighting Conjunto will be held in La Joya on Saturday, February 11


Austin, Texas – February 2, 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 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 La Joya at the La Joya High School on Saturday, February 11, from Noon-1:00 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 11:00 a.m. or should arrive by 11:00 a.m. 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

It will be an afternoon of all things conjunto. Immediately following the showcase the LJISD Spring Conjunto Concert will be held. This year’s concert features performances by Juarez-Lincoln High School's Conjunto Sol, La Joya High School's Conjunto Los Diamantes, Palmview High School's Conjunto La Tradicion. Tickets for the concert are $6.


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 are pleased to be back in the Valley looking for outstanding young squeezeboxers,” said Executive Director Charlie Lockwood. “This is the homeland for conjunto. And we appreciate partnering again with our old friends at La Joya Independent School District. The Big Squeeze program enables Texas Folklife to focus on one of our main priorities and our mission—to help preserve the traditional arts in the state. In this case it is conjunto, featuring the accordion, the ‘national instrument of Texas.’”

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

(512) 441-9255

(844) 386-2091



La Joya Independent School District Performing Arts Center

La Joya High School

604 North Coyote Avenue

La Joya, Texas 78560

(956) 580-5100


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

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