When GRAMMY-winning Tejano vocalist and accordionist Sunny Sauceda takes the stage Oct. 26 at San Antonio’s 13th Annual AccessAbility Fest, he will represent Tejano music for a rewarding cause and one that’s especially close to his heart.
The AccessAbility Fest from 9am-2pm, Saturday, Oct. 26, in downtown San Antonio’s Market Square and Milam Park is an event that will feature more than 170 activities and exhibitors that promote “independence and inclusion,” according to the festival site, for individuals who live with disabilities and their caretakers.
“It’s important for me to perform at events like these because we live it every day,” Sauceda said.
Sauceda and his wife, Vickie, have a nine-year-old son with special needs, who uses a wheelchair.
Sauceda will perform at 11:30 a.m. on the San Saba Stage in the historic Market Square.
The musician, well-known for his entertaining live shows, said he attended the festival about three years ago and wondered why there wasn’t any live music featured at the event.
“I thought ‘I would love to come play for special needs kids,’ because I know it’s so hard to take them to concerts in San Antonio,” Sauceda said. “I’ve even brought it to the attention of the San Antonio Music Commission that we actually need dedicated handicap areas for all concerts downtown throughout San Antonio and surrounding areas.”
Even at his own concerts, Sauceda said his family has experienced the frustration of trying to take his son to watch his father perform.
“My wife and in-laws watch our son while we play and they try to go into the crowd,” Sauceda said. “People are just rude and don’t care. They will stand in front of people sitting in a wheelchair.”
Sauceda said there needs to be more awareness about people who live with disabilities and for all those who use a wheelchair.
“(My family), they usually stand to the back and I think that is so wrong and a disservice to our veterans who are in wheelchairs, the elderly and those with special needs,” Sauceda said.
This year’s AccessAbility Fest, which is a combined effort of hundreds of partner organizations and businesses, will feature an inaugural abilitySTRONG parade and march at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, on the streets of downtown San Antonio. The 2019 theme for the parade is: “Awareness…We’re Stronger Together.”
Melanie Cawthon is co-founder and executive director of disABILITYsa, whose mission is “to educate, advance, and engage individuals with disabilities by sharing information, creating opportunities, and strengthening organizations that serve them.”
disABILITYsa is a major supporter of this year’s AccessAbility Parade and Fest and Cawthon said she is excited about Sauceda’s participation in the event as he will be joined in his performance by a fan who has represented the special needs community in San Antonio.
“Sunny became involved with the AccessAbility fest through his connection with accordion player, Steven Rodriguez,” Cawthon said. “Steven served as a Duke on the 2014 Fiesta Especial Royal Court working to create visibility for the leadership and contributions that individuals with disabilities are making in our community.”
Sauceda said he has performed with Rodriguez before when the young man graduated from Judson High School.
“It was his party so we pretty much let him do whatever he wanted to,” Sauceda said. “And he did just that. He sang and played my accordion that night alongside me.”
Cawthon said the Oct. 26 performance should prove powerful.
“Sunny and Steven will share the stage for one or two songs on Saturday, Oct. 26 celebrating and highlighting the performance strengths and abilities of individuals living with disabilities,” Cawthon said.
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