Local musicians gear up for A Cappella & Unplugged
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Robert Twine is a certified hypnotherapist and life coach by trade, but in his free time, he loves sharing his musical talents with his community.
The 40-year-old Mercersburg (Pa.) man will get a chance to do just that when he competes against 17 other talented musicians on the stage of The Capitol Theatre in the first round of A Cappella & Unplugged on Saturday, June 22, at 7 p.m.
The Franklin County Visitors Bureau, in conjunction with The Capitol Theatre, hosts the annual event, now in its fifth year.
Franklin County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Janet Pollard is asking music lovers to come out and support local musicians during round one.
Tickets for round one are $15 and can be purchased at The Capitol Theatre.
It’s a wonderful way to promote local talent, and maybe help take their musical dreams to the next level, she said.
Performers are required to sing a cappella and unplugged, meaning they must be able to carry their instruments onstage and not require electricity.
The event draws musicians from the Chambersburg area as well as the quad-state area, Pollard said.
“I never expected we would have so many talented people coming year after year,” she said.
Twine secured his first-round spot by participating in one of four open-mic events held from March through May at different locations throughout Franklin County.
“I heard it (A Cappella & Unplugged) was going on, and I enjoy playing music – so I thought I’d try it out,” said Twine, who to this point has showcased his musical abilities at senior centers and other small venues.
Between five and seven judges will select the top six performers from the first round.
Round two, which is online, will start Wednesday, June 26, and continue through July 17, when the public can vote for their favorite performer on the Franklin County Visitors Bureau Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FCVBen.
The top three acts, with the most likes on their video clips, will perform in the final round.
In the final round, three contestants will perform prior to the 1864 Burning of Chambersburg reenactment on Saturday, July 20, at 7 p.m., outside the 11/30 Visitors Center in downtown Chambersburg.
Online votes cast the night of the performance, and those from people present at the event will determine the winner, who will receive $500.
Pollard said the musical event is a celebration of the spirit of the people who rebuilt Chambersburg following the 1864 burning by Confederate soldiers.
“We’re commemorating the rebirth of the town. Out of all that devastation everybody picked themselves up, brushed themselves off and rebuilt — and look where we are today,” Pollard said.
Previous acts have included solo performances, duos and small groups performing a variety of genres including: country, indie, blues and pop.
Performing in front of the thousands who attend the Burning of Chambersburg event is part of the appeal, Pollard said.
Elly Cooke, 21, of Gettysburg (Pa.) was the grand prize winner of A Cappella & Unplugged in 2017.
During her performance, she sang some country songs, as well as one of her original songs, “I’m a Dreamer.”
Cooke said she entered the musical contest, in part, to gain exposure.
“I love getting out and playing anywhere I can,” said Cooke, who especially liked singing on the stage of the historic Capitol Theatre.
Cooke, who works part-time as her church’s worship leader, said winning the musical competition has opened doors for her.
“I got to meet a lot of other musicians, and I get more gigs following my win,” she said.
Top photo: Robert Twine, of Mercersburg, Pa., will compete against 17 other musicians in the first round of A Cappella & Unplugged at The Capitol Theatre. (Submitted photo)