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'Unplugged' acts vie for spot in 'Burning' event

CHAMBERSBURG - A dozen musical acts took the Capitol Theatre stage Saturday in a bid to become to the “top gun” at the annual Burning of Chambersburg commemoration on July 16

At the end of the evening, six of those acts had made the grade to enter the second round of the second annual "Acappella and Unplugged" competition. As the name suggests, acts were limited to vocals and instruments, with no electronic music-makers allowed.

Contestants Cody Wilt of Three Springs, Tonya Grissinger of Chambersburg, The Admiral Mouse of Chambersburg, Jason Sheffield of McConnellsburg, Greencastle group Country Bumpkin, and the Waynesboro duo Kate and Isaac will move on to the second round of the contest.

The first round was selected by in-house judges Lavinia Reid, Woody Payne, David Wenerd, Mayor Darren Brown, Anita Crawford and Paula Hepfer. All are theater and arts professionals in the local area.

The second round will be selected on social media by the general public. Starting today, the public can vote for favorite performers on, where clips of the top semi-finalists can be viewed.

The top three performers will be chosen in Round 2 by adding up the number of "likes" of each act's video on Facebook.

The winners of Round 2 will perform again July 16 on the steps of the Franklin County Courthouse on Memorial Square, as part of the festivities leading up to the "1864: The Burning" light show that evening.

The “Burning” event does not celebrate the burning of the town by Confederate forces on that date, but the resurrection of the town and county at the hands of its citizens in the aftermath.

In a prepared statement Janet Pollard, executive director of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau, said, “'A Cappella & Unplugged' celebrates the spirit of the people, who brought Chambersburg to life after the burning. What better way to uplift and remember than with music?”

Spectators at "1864: The Burning" can vote for their favorite act and have their in-person vote tabulated along with online voting to select the final winner, who will receive $500 and bragging rights to the second annual contest.

The champion will be crowned and perform in front of thousands of people on the steps of the Franklin County Courthouse to open the light show.

Co-host Kelly Spinner said several times that she did not envy the judges’ task at picking the six best out of a dozen “very good” performers.

“It strikes me how amazing it is that all this incredible talent is here in Franklin County,” she said.

One man, who did not give his name, said he heard about this one on the radio and decided to make the drive.

“This is really good,” he said. “I’m glad I came.”

Chambersburg’s Janet Ebersole said she was happy that the Franklin County Visitors Bureau and the Capitol Theatre were able to partner up once again to create the event.

“I really enjoy this event, and the variety of music,” she said.

She added that it was a treat to watch the artistic seen flourish and grow through such events.

Vote Monday, June 27

Go to and "like" the clip of the act you like best. 

The three acts with the most "likes" will move on to Round 2 of "Acappella and Unplugged" and perform July 16 at "1864: The Burning" on the steps at Franklin County Courthouse.