Big Squeeze Finals Slated for Saturday

Austin to host accordion contest final playoffs for the first time

APRIL 23, 2014 (AUSTIN, TX) – The final competition in Texas Folklife's statewide accordion contest, "The Big Squeeze," will take place Saturday, April 26, in Austin for the first time in the competition's eight-year history. The Bullock Texas State History Museum will host the final playoffs, normally held in Houston, for the popular competition that has expanded this year to include grand prizes in three categories, polka, zydeco, and conjunto.

The public is invited to this free celebration from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Lone Star Plaza as Texas Folklife celebrates all things accordion with the final playoffs and a concert, naming three Big Squeeze champions. While judges deliberate the winners, the crowd will be entertained by an all-star musical line-up.

This year's Big Squeeze playoffs at the Bullock will be headlined by Grammy Award-winning Sunny Sauceda, a Tejano star who likes to collaborate and "mix it up" in other genres, allowing him to stand out, breakout, and crossover into one of the top solo artists performing today. Also on this dynamite program are zydeco accordionist Curtis Poullard and the Creole Zydeco Band and the Austin-based Fabulous Polkasonics famous for their "old country polkas." The 2013 Big Squeeze Champ, Michael Ramos, will join this exciting group of musicians.

Texas Folklife is an Austin-based non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. The Big Squeeze is a program that seeks to preserve Texas's musical traditions by encouraging accordion players ages 21 and under to showcase their performance abilities in a variety of genres.

A total of 49 contestants – the largest number in the event's history – entered the competition this year. After eight showcases held around Texas, nine finalists were named last week. Three champions will be selected after the playoffs, one in each category. Finalists in the zydeco category are: Randall Jackson of Dallas, Je'an-Trel Jolivette of Marvel, and DeJe'an Jolivette of Marvel. Finalists in polka are: Rebecca Huck of Harker Heights, Chris Trojacek of Ennis, and Garrett Neubauer of Altair. Finalists in the conjunto category are: Aaron Salinas of San Antonio, Luis Gonzales of Grand Prairie, and Mariano Resendez of La Joya.

All three winners will perform at Texas Folklife's highly acclaimed annual Accordion Kings & Queens Festival, now celebrating its 25th year, at Houston's Miller Outdoor Theatre on Saturday, June 7, 2014. In addition, the three Big Squeeze 2014 Grand Prize winners will receive a prize package valued at more than $4,000, including a cash prize, a new Hohner accordion, performance opportunities in Austin and Houston, publicity, and other professional development opportunities.

Come early, stay late, and bring your folding chairs and dancing shoes for this rain-or-shine event.

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The Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin includes three floors of exhibitions, an IMAX® theater, a special-effects theater, café and museum store. The Museum collaborates with more than 700 museums, libraries, archives and individuals to display original historical artifacts and produce exhibitions that illuminate and celebrate Texas history and culture. Named for the state's 38th Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock, the iconic building is at 1800 N. Congress Avenue. For more, visit TheStoryofTexas.com or call (512) 936-8746.