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'A Cappella & Unplugged' championship begins this weekend

CHAMBERSBURG - A dozen different musicians or groups will compete Saturday in the first of three rounds of a contest to determine the region's top musical performer.

Franklin County Visitors Bureau is teaming up with Capitol Theatre to spotlight local and regional talent as 12 acts continue a journey to win $500 and the title of "A Cappella & Unplugged 2016 Champion," then perform in Chambersburg's "1864: The Burning," the annual light-show event that celebrates the town's history and commemorates the burning of Chambersburg by Confederate troops during the Civil War.

Auditions have already narrowed the competition for the title to 12 acts who will perform in Round 1 in the second annual "A Cappella & Unplugged" at 7 p.m. Saturday on the Capitol Theatre stage.

Those competitors include everything from straight a cappella performances to vocals paired with guitar, to country music to acoustic performances.

A panel of judges made up of theater and arts professionals as well as local celebrities will select the top six acts, based on execution and skill, originality and creativity, stage presence, and audience response.

Members of the public will then have the opportunity to vote for their favorite of among the six finalists, beginning Monday on the visitors bureau's Facebook page.

This year’s "A Cappella & Unplugged" offers a mix of talent.

Elizabeth Peppernick, Spring Run, will perform an a cappella cadence. Vocal and guitar performances by the duo Kate & Isaac from Waynesboro and a country performance by the Country Bumpkins of Greencastle will be included in the competition.

Other acts include Tonya Grissinger, a performer from Chambersburg, who will bring her down-to-earth acoustic performance to the stage, and Perfect Fifth, a group of four high-school girls and one guy, who will add another a cappella harmony to the competition.

One of the farthest to travel for the audition was Cody Wilt, from Three Springs, who sings and plays guitar to country and original tunes.

Michēlah Wilson traveled from New Oxford to compete and showcase her vocal range a cappella.

Other competitors include Chambersburg's Devin Fields, the Chambersburg band Admiral Mouse, McConnellsburg's Jason Sheffield, Waynesboro's Olivia and Sarah Policicchio, and the duo Chris & Lauren from Chambersburg

Round 1 is open to the public. Tickets are $15, and now on sale.

The competition sponsored by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau and Capitol Theatre is designed to bring local and regional talent together in a multi-round event.

The event takes place in time to have a winner chosen just before the annual "1864: The Ransoming, Burning & Rebirth."

"A Cappella & Unplugged" came about as an addition to the annual event, honoring the spirit of the town’s residents, who rebuilt Chambersburg after its burning during the Civil War, according to Janet Pollard, executive director of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau.

Over the past several years the annual light show has attracted thousands of visitors to the town, she said.

“'1864: The Burning' commemorates Franklin County’s history,” Pollard 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.”

Starting June 27 the competition's Round 2 will begin, when the public will get a chance to vote for a favorite performer 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.

Those contestants will then have a chance to 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.

Spectators 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.

Tickets are now on sale for Saturday's event  by calling the Capitol Theatre box office at 717-263-0202 or online at

For more information, contact Lauren Cappuccio at, or Janet Pollard at or by calling 717-552-2977.

Vicky Taylor, 717-262-4754.