Waxahachie native Mario Baraja, accordionist for Baraja de Oro, wants to give back to the Waxahachie community that has supported him and the conjunto tejano band. Baraja de Oro will perform outside Plato Loco at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The performance is free to the public and the band will hold a drawing for a new Panther accordion from Hohner.

The accordion giveaway is in celebration of Hohner renewing their endorsement with Mario, but also a way for him to give back to his and the band’s fans.

“Waxahachie is my hometown and the people have been there for me since day one,” he said. “I wanted to give back this way and hopefully inspire someone to pursue their dream.”

Each family will receive one ticket to put into the drawing for the accordion.

Hohner sent him two new Panther diatonic accordions upon renewing his contract. The first of the two accordions went to a special fan and mentor in Fort Worth.

“He told me, ‘There are no words I can tell you right now.’ I can’t express how much of an honor it was to give him that accordion,” Mario said.

Back in Baraja de Oro’s early years, an elderly fan invited the band to his home after their concert in Fort Worth. The elderly man, Abel Jasso, called Mario aside and showed him one of his own accordions, a classic Hohner in great condition.

“Mario was using a very old Hohner that looked worse than it sounded,” Mario’s wife and vocalist Betty Barajas said.

Jasso told Mario he always wanted to be a professional accordionist when he was younger, but never pursued his dream. He gave Mario the accordion and told him he wanted him to have it.

“He told me that he believed in me and that I could make it,” Mario said.

He never forgot the gift.

“Whenever we arrived in Fort Worth for the concert, I saw him and that’s when I decided to do it,” Mario said.

“He called him up on stage and made a grown man cry,” Betty said. “We never forget what people and our fans have done for us. We’ve had people invite us into their homes and cook for us.”

After presenting Jasso with the accordion during the concert, the band members had him get up on stage and play for the crowd.

Baraja de Oro hopes to show their appreciation to Waxahachie residents in the same way by giving away the second accordion and hosting the free Cinco de Mayo concert.

For the concert, the band will play some their fans’ favorite songs including “Venti Anos,” “Ayer y Hoy,” and “Dos Hojas.” The band will hold the drawing in their second set for the evening.

Plato Loco is located at 114 E. Franklin St. in Waxahachie.

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