This year’s finalists will compete live in the categories Polka, Cajun, Zydeco, and two Conjunto categories: ages 16 and under and ages 17-21. The elder Conjunto contestants will vie for the Anthony Ortiz, Jr. Grand Prize, named for a former contest finalist who passed away in 2017.
"The accordion is central to the living musical heritage of Texas," said Texas Folklife Executive Director Charlie Lockwood. "We are proud to showcase the talent and dedication of the next generation of Texas accordionists representing diverse communities from across Texas. After two years of online virtual events, we are excited to gather again in person to cheer on all of the Big Squeeze finalists!"
The Big Squeeze Finals will kick off with performances by polka legend, long-time collaborator, and recent Texas transplant Alex Meixner and Dallas-based Conjunto group Los Morales, featuring former Big Squeeze champions Nachito Morales and Michael Ramos.
The championship round will take place at the Bullock Museum at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. The event is free and open to the public.
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Here are the conjunto finalists:
Conjunto Finalists: 16 and Under
- Ricardo Cabrera, 14, Austin
- Christopher Ramirez, 15, San Antonio
- Fernanda Fuentes, 15, Roma
- Alejandro Solis, 15, Roma
Conjunto Finalists: 17-21
- Marin Hinojosa, 18, Palmview
- Galilea Paz, 17, Roma
The following contestants have been chosen to advance in the other categories:
- Christopher Derouen, 20, Lafayette, LA
- Kade Domec, 14, Arnaudville, LA
- Timur Didych, 15, Southlake
- Elayne Doggett, 10, Plano
- Emily Nguyen, 19, Webster
Each of the day’s five champions will receive a cash prize, a new Hohner accordion valued at more than $1,500, performance opportunities with Texas Folklife, publicity, professional development, and other opportunities.