The Big Squeeze spreads to the Valley


LA JOYA — Rhythm, Musicality and Memorization can sum up the 2017 Big Squeeze Talent Showcase held Saturday at La Joya High School.

The showcase was brought by Texas FolkLife, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the diverse cultures and living heritage of the state, located in Austin, Texas.

This year’s Big Squeeze gathered talent from high schools in the Upper Valley, the majority of the accordionists were students from La Joya, Mission and Palmview school districts. According to the Big Squeeze accordion contest (is) for up-and-coming Texas musicians, 21 years of age or younger. The non-profit that endeavors to preserve and promote Texas’s diverse cultural heritage is looking for great players in all genres of the Lone Star State’s accordion-based music, including German, Czech, and Polish style polka; Creole, Cajun and zydeco; and conjunto, norteño, and Tejano.

“ La Joya was one of the first cities to host this event,” said Charlie Lockwood, Executive Director of Texas FolkLife. “The music is part of the community.”

The showcase presented seven talents all younger than 21 years old.

Nathan Gonzalez, 15 from Mission, said his biggest inspiration was that his great grandpa played accordion.

“ I’ve been playing since I was 12 years old, so three years now.” Gonzalez said. “Accordion is my passion.”

In addition, he learned through You Tube videos and La Joya’s conjunto instructor Cecelio (Don Chilo) Garza.

Another performer, Christian Guajardo from La Joya, has grown up in music since he was a child; music runs in his family.

The talent showcase participants had to play a minimum of two songs for their set.

Texas FolkLife believes that the community plays a role in the performers.

“ The people and the community make it relevant.” Lockwood said.

The Big Squeeze will continue travelling within the state of Texas until April when the finals occur.

The next stops include Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

The finals will take place in Austin at Bullock Museum on Sat. April 22 with the yearly accordion King and Queens concert that will occur this June in Houston, Texas at the Miller Outdoor Theater.