Texas Folklife 2011 Big Squeeze Accordian Contest

March 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Auditions to be held at the Eldorado Ballroom of Project Row Houses

Fifth annual competition invites young musicians to compete for $1000 cash, a new Hohner accordion, recording sessions, and other prizes

Texas Folklife announces its fifth annual Big Squeeze accordion contest for up-and-coming Texas musicians. The non-profit is hitting the road to meet the talent in their own communities again this year with free, live auditions. The Big Squeeze will come to Houston on Friday, March 11 at the historic Eldorado Ballroom of Project Row Houses <http://projectrowhouses.org/community/eldorado> . Last year’s winner, Zydeco powerhouse Keyun Dickson, hails from the Houston area, as does 2008’s champion Johnny Ramirez. Both will be on hand at the auditions and will give free performances. The auditions will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Participants should arrive at 6:30. Auditions are open to the public and are free. Contestants may register on site or in advance by calling Texas Folklife at 512-441-9255 or visiting www.texasfolklife.org.

The Big Squeeze contest is open to Texas accordionists 21 years of age and younger. All genres of accordion-based music are encouraged to audition, including Cajun; German, Czech, and Polish polka; Tejano, Conjunto and Norteño; Western; and Zydeco. Contestants will be judged by a panel of esteemed music professionals on song interpretation, technical skill, originality, execution, and stage presence. Interested players are encouraged to reserve an audition slot at a venue in their region by contacting Texas Folklife. Those who cannot attend an audition may also mail or e-mail their entries to arrive at Texas Folklife no later than April 1, 2011. The complete contest rules and entry forms are available online at www.texasfolklife.org or by calling (512) 441-9255.

Semifinalists selected by audition or mailed entries will be hosted in Austin to take part in the semifinals held on April 30 at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. At that time, up to four finalists will be selected and awarded $300 each as well as having their hotel stay paid in Houston to compete before a large, enthusiastic audience of accordion fans at the Accordion Kings & Queens Festival on June 4. Last year’s crowd numbered over 6,000. The Big Squeeze 2011 grand-prize-winner will be selected at the concert by the panel of judges with help from the audience. The grand-prize-winner will receive a prize package valued at $4500, including a $1000 cash prize, a brand new Hohner accordion and recording time at the historic Hacienda Records in Corpus Christi, as well as promotional support from SugarHill Records, Hohner, Inc., Hacienda Records and Texas Folklife, and other professional opportunities.

“We’re very excited to be hosting the Big Squeeze in Texas once again. Last year I had the honor and pleasure of crisscrossing the state discovering talented young musicians. We doubled participation in the program, evidence that our rich musical heritage is alive and well,” said Program Director Cristina Balli. “We want to continue supporting the musical education of these young squeeze-boxers and at the same time share this cultural treasure with our audience. I’m looking forward to this year’s contest, meeting the contestants and their families, and crowning 2011’s Big Squeeze champion.”

The Big Squeeze is supported by the members and Board of Texas Folklife, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board, the Houston Endowment, the Still Water Foundation, the Austin Latino Music Association, the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Additional support is provided by regional businesses including Hohner, Inc., SugarHill Recording Studios, Hacienda Records, Embassy Suites Hotel, Sign Effects and FlashBang Agency in Austin.

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. For more than 25 years, Texas Folklife has honored the authentic cultural traditions passed down within communities and explored their importance in contemporary society. Called “one of the state’s true cultural treasures” by the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Folklife provides accessible, joyful arts experiences.

Located in SoCo just south of downtown Austin, Texas Folklife can be found next door to the Continental Club, at 1317 South Congress Avenue. For more information contact (512) 441-9255, info@texasfolklife.org or visit www.texasfolklife.org.

The Eldorado Ballroom of Project Row Houses

The Eldorado Ballroom was built in 1939 by renowned Houston architect Lenard Gabert. The owner was African-American businesswoman Anna Dupree (1892-1977) who wanted to establish a community entertainment venue for black social clubs and other groups in the Third Ward. The ballroom, which occupies the second floor of the massive Eldorado Building, was the visual and spiritual symbol of the community. It closed in the early 1970s, but in 1999, the Eldorado Ballroom was gifted to Project Row Houses, an artists’ collective that celebrates African-American history and culture in Houston’s Third Ward. The Eldorado re-opened in May 2003 and now hosts special events. It is located at 2310 Elgin Street on the corner of Dowling.

Media information:
Sheree Scarborough / (512) 922-5483 / sheree.scarborough@gmail.com

Big Squeeze information:
Cristina Balli, Program Director / (512) 441-9255 / cballi@texasfolklife.org

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