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Texas Folklife Presents the 15th Annual Big Squeeze Youth Accordion Contest Finals
May 8, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 5:30 pmFree
Coming up on Saturday, May 8, don’t miss the finals of Texas Folklife’s Big Squeeze youth accordion contest on Facebook Live! Featuring young musicians from around Texas and Louisiana, prizes will be announced in multiple categories, including Conjunto, Polka, Cajun, and Zydeco. The program also will feature live performances from last year’s champions.
The Big Squeeze Finals from Home will be held on Saturday, May 8 at 3 p.m. CDT at http://www.facebook.com/texasfolklife
For 15 years, Texas Folklife has put on the Big Squeeze competition to promote the traditional music of Texas and encourage young people to carry on accordion music traditions celebrated by communities across the state.
“I want to send a big congratulations to all of our contestants who’ve put in so much passion, hard work, and dedication and let you know that we are so proud of you, for being the next generation of tradition bearers,” said Charlie Lockwood, Executive Director of Texas Folklife. “You are keeping these traditions alive, and Texas Folklife supports you in that effort.”
This year’s Big Squeeze competition is a bit different from previous years in that Cajun and Zydeco have been split into separate categories. Also for the first time, those two categories have been opened to contestants from Louisiana.
With the largest number of contestants, the Conjunto group went through a semi-final round of judging on April 17. The following semi-finalists were chosen to move on to the finals May 8:
Conjunto Finalists: 16 and Under
- Christopher Ramirez, 14 (San Antonio)
- Roberto Flores, 16 (Peñitas)
- Ashly Nicole Molina, 16 (Roma)
- Galilea Paz, 16 (Rio Grande City)
Conjunto Finalists: 17-21
- Johnny Joe Gutierrez, 17 (Mission)
- Jose Vasquez, 17 (Farmersville)
The following contestants have been chosen to advance in the other categories:
- Kaleb Leday, 21 (Lake Charles, LA)
- Burke Riley, 11 (Scott, LA)
- Cameron Dupuy (New Orleans, LA)
- Alexander French, 14 (The Colony)
- Elayne Doggett, 9 (Plano)
- Nick Heatly, 17 (Dallas)
The May 8 program will feature brief performances from last year’s champions: Bridget Roberts (Cajun), Jorge Ramirez (Conjunto), Jose Angel Torres (Conjunto), and Isaak Wolfshohl (Polka).
The program’s finale will be the announcement of this year’s five champions in the categories Polka, Cajun, Zydeco, and two Conjunto categories: ages 16 and under and ages 17-21. The elder Conjunto contestants compete for the Anthony Ortiz, Jr. Grand Prize.
Each of the champions will receive a prize package valued at over $1,500, including a new accordion, cash prize, future performance opportunities with Texas Folklife, publicity, professional development, and other professional opportunities.
The 2021 Big Squeeze is supported by funding and donations from the board and members of Texas Folklife, Texas Commission on the Arts, the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, H-E-B, and the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board and Hohner Accordions. Additional support is provided by regional partners.
ABOUT TEXAS FOLKLIFE
Texas Folklife (TXF) is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. TXF is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the official folk and traditional arts organization for the state. Since 1984, TXF has honored traditions passed down within communities, explored the importance of traditional arts in contemporary society, and celebrated the state’s vibrant heritage by providing arts experiences enjoyable for all generations. For more information, visit http://www.texasfolklife.org.