Saturday, November 27, 2021
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Sarah Rucker 600pxThe Museum of South Texas History will host the Sunday Speaker Series Online panel discussion, “Conjunto and Texas Folklife’s Big Squeeze in the Rio Grande Valley” at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 14, on Facebook Live.

This presentation will feature researcher and historian Evaliza Fuentes, musician and Los Fresnos High School Conjunto director Juan Longoria and Texas Folklife Program Director Sarah Rucker.


Evaliza FuentesThe Big Squeeze is presented by Texas Folklife as part of its mission to preserve and present Texas’ diverse cultural heritage. Since 2007, Texas Folklife has promoted Texas accordion music genres through the Big Squeeze program. More than 300 young, talented players from dozens of Texas communities have participated in the program, which supports these vital community-based accordion music traditions. The three musical genre categories of the Big Squeeze are Polka, zydeco & Cajun, and conjunto, with the largest amount of entries usually coming from the conjunto tradition.

Fuentes earned a master’s degree at Texas State University-San Marcos in the Department of History with an emphasis on public history in 2019. Her article, “Manuel ‘Cowboy’ Donley: Originator of Austin’s Modern Tejano Music Scene,” was recently published in The Journal of Texas Music History. She is originally from Brownsville.

Longoria, inspired by the musical influences of his father Juan Longoria Sr. and his uncles, Los Halcones Del Valle, co-founded Conteño in 2008 with his brother Federico Longoria. Juan was named the champion at the very first Big Squeeze in 2007 and was subsequently featured in Hector Galan’s Documentary “The Big Squeeze” released in 2008. In 2012, Juan was a founder of a new conjunto music program at Los Fresnos High School. In May 2017, the Texas State Senate issued Senate Resolution 670 to the Los Fresnos High School Conjunto at the State Capitol in Austin, in recognition of their preservation of Texas folk music.Juan Longoria

Rucker is the Program Director for Texas Folklife's Big Squeeze accordion contest and the annual Accordion Kings & Queens concert. A lifelong arts lover and advocate with over 15 years of experience in arts research, programming and presenting, Rucker is also the founder of Full Gallop which strives to bridge cultures and connect communities through creative collaborations and programs.

Texas Folklife is a statewide 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and presenting the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. Since 1984, we have honored cultural traditions passed down within communities and explored their importance in contemporary society. Learn more about our work at

The presentation will broadcast at Viewers are encouraged to interact with panelists by posting comments and questions on the live feed. The presentation will also be recorded and posted for public access on the museum’s website at

This program is made possible by the generous support from the Carmen C. Guerra Endowment. Mrs. Guerra was committed to educational causes in the Rio Grande Valley. This named endowment was created by her family to honor her memory and to continue providing educational opportunities for the community.

About Museum of South Texas History

The Museum of South Texas History is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is located downtown Edinburg at 200 North Closner Boulevard on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square. Founded in 1967 as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the 1910 Hidalgo County Jail, the museum has grown over the decades through a series of expansions to occupy a full city block. In 2003, following the completion of a 22,500 square foot expansion, the museum was renamed the Museum of South Texas History to better reflect its regional scope. Today, the museum preserves and presents the borderland heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico through its permanent collection and the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives and exhibits spanning prehistory through the 20th century. For more information about MOSTHistory, including becoming a FRIEND, visit, Facebook and Instagram, follow on Twitter, find on YouTube or call (956) 383-6911.


Photo 1: Sarah Rucker

Photo 2: Evaliza Fuentes

Photo 3: Juan Longoria