The Big Squeeze Accordion Contest is Back for 2017





Sheree Scarborough

(512) 922-5483,



Texas Folklife Will Search for Top Young Accordion Talent Throughout Texas

Local Event Producer Alysha Hernández Appointed Program Director


Austin, Texas – December 7, 2016 – Texas Folklife is thrilled to announce that the Big Squeeze Accordion Contest will be 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, including German, Czech, and Polish polka; Creole, Cajun, and zydeco; conjunto, norteño, and Tejano; and Country & Western.

Last year, for the Big Squeeze’s 10th anniversary, Texas Folklife held a celebratory concert at the Bullock Texas State History Museum that featured past winners of the contest who are now leading accordion stars and teachers in their communities across the state. 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.

In 2017, Texas Folklife will hit the road again and hold Big Squeeze showcases in communities throughout the state to search for young accordion talent. 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. Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges and will perform at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in April where three Grand Prize Winners will be selected and receive prize packages. The Grand Prize Winners will perform onstage with legendary Texas musicians at the Accordion Kings & Queens Concert in Houston in June. Arrangements are being made now for showcases across the state and an announcement will be made with dates, venues, and application instructions in January.

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. Local event producer and writer Alysha Hernández will be leading the Big Squeeze Program in 2017. Hernández brings a decade of experience in communications, film, and live event production. She is a native Texan, born in San Antonio and has spent much of her life in the Rio Grande Valley.

A new initiative for Big Squeeze 2017 is the opportunity for individuals and organizations to become sponsors of the program. There is information on the website on how to become a Big Squeeze Sponsor at:, or please contact us by phone at 512-441-9255.

“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 Hernández will be joining us. She brings a deep knowledge of historically important areas in the state for the contest, stellar experience in event production and management, and a lot of passion for our work. The Big Squeeze is one of our most popular and most important programs—I’m glad it is back!”   

The Big Squeeze is supported by Hohner, Inc., The Texas Music Office, Hacienda Records, and by grants from Texas Commission on the Arts, the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board, and the Houston Endowment.


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

Media inquiries:

Sheree Scarborough 512-922-5483/


Program inquiries:

Alysha Hernández 210-286-1999 /