Regional Ramblings: Big Squeeze winners; upcoming events


This year’s “Big Squeeze” statewide accordion contest finals just took place at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin on April 21.

There were four new champions that were crowned in their categories. For polka (25 and under), Peter Gresser, age 13, walked away with that title. When it came to cajun and zydeco (21 and under), Steven Williams, age 14 took that prize. There were two conjunto prizes, one for 17 and under and the other, named the Anthony Ortiz Jr. Conjunto Prize, ages 18 to 21. For the first one, Melenie Lissette Gonzalez, age 17, from Rio Grande City, took that crown. For the latter, Jesus F. Venegas, age 21 from Brownsville, won that honor.

According to Texas Folklife: “The four Big Squeeze 2018 Grand Prize Winners will receive a prize package valued at more than $4,000, including a Hohner accordion, cash prize, performance opportunities with Texas Folklife, publicity, professional development, and other professional opportunities. Additionally, the Grand Prize Winners will perform onstage with legendary Texas musicians at Texas Folklife’s Accordion Kings & Queens Concert, held at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre on June 2.”

We will have more information on the local winners of the Big Squeeze in the coming weeks.

>> The first ever music fest for Edinburg is shaping up. It’s set to take place from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 12, and the line-up will include Ruben de la Cruz y su conjunto, Lazaro Perez y su conjunto, The Delta Boyz, Lucky Joe, Los Garcia Brothers, and Jaime y Los Chamacos. Tickets are $5. For more information, check out

>> The South Texas Conjunto Association “Conjunto of the Year” awards are coming up, and the local nonprofit is accepting nominations for the following awards: “Conjunto of the Year,” “Composer of the Year,” “Single of the Year,” “Drummer of the Year,” “Bass Player of the Year,” “Bajo Player of the Year,” “Accordion Player of the Year,” “Vocalist of the Year,” “CD/Album of the Year,” and “Future of Conjunto.” Ways to nominate include messaging the STCA Awards Facebook page with your nominations, sending Lupe Saenz a message, or commenting on the main post on the STCA Awards page. Video of last year’s ceremony can be seen at Lupe Saenz’s YouTube page, which can be found by searching for his name or “Conjunto of the Year.”