Grand Prize Winners will be selected in each category: Polka, Cajun / Zydeco, and Conjunto
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, including German, Czech, and Polish polka; Creole, Cajun, and zydeco; conjunto, norteño, and Tejano.
Through the Big Squeeze program, Texas Folklife has built a reputation as a champion of Texas accordion music genres, and has supported over 200 young, talented players in their efforts to carry on these community-based accordion music traditions.
This year, Texas Folklife will hit the road again and hold 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.
The Big Squeeze talent showcases for 2017:
· : Los Fresnos High School in Los Fresnos
· : La Joya Independent School District in La Joya
· : McDonald Public Library in Corpus Christi
· : Café 4212 in Houston
· : Multicultural Education & Counseling through the Arts in Houston
· : Larry’s French Market & Cajun Restaurant in Nederland/Groves
· : 508 Amphitheater at Encore Park in Dallas
· : Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio
· : Big Squeeze Finals: Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin
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
. 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.
Interested players are encouraged to reserve a showcase slot at a venue in their region by contacting Texas Folklife. Those who cannot attend a showcase may also mail or e-mail their entries to arrive at Texas Folklife no later than . The complete contest rules and entry forms are available online at www.texasfolklife.org/bigsqueeze2017 or by calling (512) 441-9255.
This is a special time in Texas Folklife’s history. The thirty-two year old non-profit has a lot of fresh, young faces leading it. Charlie Lockwood is Texas Folklife’s new Executive Director, appointed in October 2016. Lockwood has worked with the organization since 2012, and previously served as Programs, Operations, Development Director and Acting Director. And a new Big Squeeze Program Director is taking the helm this year. áá
“I can’t wait to get started on the Big Squeeze Accordion Contest for 2017,” said Executive Director Charlie Lockwood. “We at Texas Folklife have a lot of new energy for this year’s program. I’m particularly pleased that Alysha á
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, 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.