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Franklin County Visitors Bureau announces Open Mics to expand 2019 A Cappella & Unplugged and to give strong push to locals pursuing music

January 15, 2019 Visit USA No Comments Email Email

Franklin County Visitors Bureau is expanding its A Cappella & Unplugged event to include Open Mic nights throughout the county, starting during IceFest Saturday, February 2, to help push more musicians to get involved.

Alexus Lawson, Chambersburg, was the winner of A Cappella & Unplugged 2018, An experience which gave her confidence to continue pursuing music.

Bring your talent to the Franklin County 11/30 Center on IceFest Saturday, February 2, at 4:30 PM to start your journey to a $500 grand prize and a chance to perform before thousands at the 1864 Burning & Rebirth of Chambersburg on July 20, 2019. Join the IceFest Open Mic performance by registering at Eventbrite. The registration fee is waived for all A Cappella & Unplugged Open Mic Nights. If you can carry your instrument(s) onstage, you can participate.

In 2015, working with the Capitol Theatre, Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) started A Cappella & Unplugged, so 2019 celebrates five years of amazing talent. To expand the talent search, FCVB is working with Leadership Franklin County to add four open mic performances. The winner of each open mic is guaranteed a slot in the Round One performance, onstage at the Capitol Theatre in June 2019.

Last year’s winner, Alexus Lawson, 12, of Chambersburg, said she had a great experience during the competition and it has helped her learn confidence and to believe in herself.
“It has helped encourage me and I am now doing voice lessons,” Lawson said. She said other competitors have inspired her as well.

“I’ve learned to believe in myself,” she said.

Recently, Lawson performed at the 11/30 Visitors Center’s Grand Opening event Franklin County: 300 Years of American History featuring 1864: The Burning & Rebirth of Chambersburg.

Elly Cooke, Gettysburg, was the winner of A Cappella & Unplugged competition in 2017. Since then, the 20-year-old singer, songwriter has graduated from high school and is now performing music full-time.

“I am out there promoting my shows but I also teach beginner guitar lessons for homeschool students,” Cooke said. “It’s nice because I’m able to still do music.”

Cooke has won several talent competitions in the tri-state area and performs locally at wineries, fairs and festivals.

“I got to open for the country singer William Michael Morgan at the 4H Faire,” Cooke said. She also performed for Froggy 107.7 at the York Fair.

Her event schedule is kept up-to-date on her Facebook page Elly Cooke Music. Music has become a family affair for Elly as well as her brother Drew, who plays guitar, has joined his sister in musical performances.

The experience with A Cappella & Unplugged made connections for her, she said, and is planning for the future.

“Right now, I’m working on a lot of songwriting and eventually I’ll be able to get a few things recorded, in addition to my shows this year,” Cooke said.

Other winners have included “A World Apart” with Taylor Piper and Kristopher Potter of Mercersburg in 2015 and Kate & Isaac, a duo from Waynesboro in 2016.

Open mic performances are just one way to participate in A Cappella & Unplugged. Auditions are also held in May. Up to 20 acts are invited to Round One at the Capitol Theatre in June. A panel of judges selects the top six acts to move into the Semi-Finals. Then, the public is invited to view videos of the six performers on and “like” the favorite performance. The three acts with the most “likes” move onto the Final Round at 1864 Burning of Chambersburg on July 20, 2019, where one act wins the $500 grand prize.

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