Austin, Texas – January 15, 2014 – Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc. and Texas Folklife announce their partnership to produce the Texas Polka Festival & Symposium to be held in Schulenburg on February 22, 2014. With support from a Humanities Texas grant, the event will feature the state’s European polka traditions of German, Czech and Polish heritage. The Festival & Symposium will be held at the historic Sengelmann and Turner Halls in Schulenburg and will feature esteemed Texas polka musicians and exhibits and discussions on European history, dance hall architecture, food, music and dance in Texas.
Bands performing include The Boerne Village Band (German), Brian Marshall (Polish), Czech Melody Masters, Mark Halata (Czech), and special appearance by Santiago Jimenez Jr. (Texas-Mexican.) The program will include a showcase of up and coming polka accordionists in the state as part of the Big Squeeze Accordion Contest produced by Texas Folklife. Other polka master musicians will be presented in panel discussions on the history of the music and efforts to preserve and promote polka in Texas.
A symposium portion of the program, sponsored by Humanities Texas, will include discussions by scholars and lay cultural workers on the history and culture surrounding polka music in Texas. Confirmed speakers include Patrick Sparks and Steve Dean of Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc. (TDHP), Dawn Orsack and Lori Navar of PolkaWorks moderating a panel on food, John Novak and Frances Burton on documenting Texas Czech songs, and Dan Margolies and Cristina Ballí on sustainability of Texas polka music. More speakers are being added to the program and updates can be found at www.texasfolklife.org.
The festival and symposium will take place in two historic dance halls in Schulenburg. Activities will begin at 10:00 AM at Turner Dance Hall, with a welcoming of accordion music and kolaches to view an exhibit on Texas dance halls. Panels and music presentations will then move over to Sengelmann Hall (531 N. Main Street) at noon for the rest of the program, to last until 9:00 PM.
“We are very excited to partner with Texas Folklife to produce this unique event in Texas,” says Patrick Sparks, co-founder and president TDHP. “We want to nurture a living culture of dancing across Texas to sustain our historic dance halls. This event will further our appreciation and understanding of Texas polka music and culture, but will also just be a lot of dancing fun.”
Presentations at Turner Hall are free and admission to the festival at Sengelmann Hall is $15. Tickets can be purchased at www.texasfolklife.org.
The Texas Polka Festival and Symposium is supported by the members and Board of Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc. and Texas Folklife, by a grants from Humanities Texas and Texas Commission on the Arts. Additional support is provided by regional businesses including Sengelmann Hall and Texana Country Inn.
About Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc.
Texas Dance Hall Preservation is committed to saving historic Texas dance halls and the authentic music and culture that is still found in them. We accomplish this mission by: Developing informational programs to promote public awareness and use of Texas dance halls as living venues for community assembly, music, and social dancing; keeping an inventory of all traditional dance halls in Texas, including those that have been lost; documenting and publishing the history of Texas dance halls; serving as a clearinghouse for information that can aid the preservation of Texas dance halls; providing assistance to list dance halls on the National Register of Historic Places or to complete grant applications for preservation projects; providing financial, technical, or organizational assistance for the restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation of historic dance halls.
About 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, explored their importance in contemporary society, and celebrated them by providing accessible and joyful arts experiences. It is located in Austin, Texas, in the SoCo neighborhood—one of the city’s vibrant commercial and arts district.