Giving you the Big Squeeze in 2015

Today a new adventure in my life begins. I am super happy and excited to be back working for Texas Folklife. With the expert guidance and leadership of Executive Director Cristina Balli, I will be coordinating the Big Squeeze Accordion Throwdown. This statewide contest showcases the talented young accordion players, age 21 and younger, in the beautiful Texas musical traditions of Conjunto, Cajun/Zydeco, and German/Czech/Polish polka. This program is a great way to keep our Texas musical traditions alive and pass them on to the younger generations. My objective is to continue to build on the fantastic work that has been done to establish the Big Squeeze Contest by the current and previous Texas Folklife staff, most recently the hard work of Sarah Rucker.

In 2014 there were a total of 55 contestants throughout the state, my goal is to have at least 75 young accordion players involved this coming year. Starting in late Jan 2015 we will hold several preliminary events throughout the state, including Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Dallas, La Grange, La Jolla, Los Fresnos, and maybe Beaumont, with the finals to be held April 25, 2015 in Austin at the Bob Bullock Museum. We will bring three finalists in each category to compete for the title of the best in Texas.

I humbly ask for the assistance of all my family, friends, and supporters of Texas Folklife for help in three ways:

1.)  Help us identify and get the word out to every young accordion player you know or know about, we are looking for boys and girls, we would love to have more young women competing this year and have one of them win too!

2.)  Help us find both individuals and businesses that would like the opportunity to sponsor one of these talented young accordion players to help cover the cost of transportation, food, and lodging to get them to Austin for the finals.

3.)  Help us by being our guests and attending the regional events as well as the finals in Austin, all events are free and open to the public.


I look forward hearing from all of you and seeing you at the Big Squeeze events. You can reach us by e-mail or (512)441-9255



Tomas Salas


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P.S. I will require some polka dance partners at these events so don’t forget your dancing chanclas!