Aaron Daniel Salinas, Conjunto Champion in the 2014 Big Squeeze accordon competition.

Photo: Nathan Lindstrom

Attention accordion players and fans! The Big Squeeze Accordion Contest returns in February with 10 showcases across Texas aimed at seeking out and promoting young accordion players.

Since 2007, Texas Folklife has been putting on the annual contest for young accordionists playing regional styles including polka, Cajun, zydeco, and conjunto. The contest started February 10 at the Ennis Czech Music Festival and will continue through April with stops across the state. Over the course of the contest showcases, a panel of judges will select three finalists from each of four categories—polka, Cajun, zydeco, and conjunto—for the Big Squeeze Finals on April 21 in Austin. The winners of the finals will be invited to perform at the Accordion Kings & Queens Concert, which is held annually in June at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre. Read all about the Big Squeeze and Accordion Kings & Queens Concert in this Texas Highways story from 2015.

The preliminary contest showcases are:

February 10: Ennis Czech Music Festival

February 11: Pleasant Grove Branch Library in Dallas

February 17:  Café 4212 in Houston

February 18:  Multicultural Education & Counseling through the Arts in Houston

February 24:  Larry’s French Market & Cajun Restaurant in Nederland/Groves

March 3: McDonald Public Library in Corpus Christi

March 11: Guadalupe Theater in San Antonio

March  23: Los Fresnos High School in Los Fresnos

March  24: Palmview High School in Palmview

April 21: Big Squeeze Finals: Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin

“The Big Squeeze is one of our most popular and most important programs,” says Charlie Lockwood, executive director of Texas Folklife. “We have a great production team and are excited to hit the road again this year.”

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