Citadel Announces Winners For ‘Rising Star Contest’ To Perform At Citadel Country Spirit USA

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Local artists, Brian McConnell, Stephanie Grace, and Derek Crider, have been announced as the winners of the Citadel Rising Star Contest.

Three Local Artists to Perform at Country Music Festival Featuring Nation’s Top Country Artists

EXTON, Pa., August 1, 2018 — Citadel has announced the winners of the “Citadel Rising Star Contest”. Three local artists from the Greater Philadelphia Area will perform on the Citadel Rising Star stage at the first-ever Citadel Country Spirit USA August 24-26.

The three winners are:

  • Brian McConnell of West Chester, Pennsylvania
  • Stephanie Grace of Douglassville, Pennsylvania
  • Derek Crider of Hamilton, New Jersey

Brain McConnell’s musical journey began in the summer of 1995. After spending a decade as a personal executive assistant to Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, Brian decided to get back to writing and recording his own songs. Brian has shared the stage with Doors guitarist, Robby Krieger, and country music superstar, Garth Brooks. Currently, Brian splits his time between Nashville and Chester County Pennsylvania.

Stephanie Grace grew up in Douglassville, Pennsylvania and has been songwriting since she was 10 years old. After graduating from high school in 2015, Stephanie decided to pursue music as a full-time career. Stephanie has opened shows for platinum artists like Taylor Swift, Scotty McCreery, John Michael Montgomery, Josh Turner, and The Charlie Daniels Band.

Derek Crider is a singer/songwriter hailing from backwoods of Southern New Jersey where he started playing the guitar and writing songs at age 13. After graduating from Rowan University, Derek decided to pursue his love for playing and songwriting and released his first debut album “Lost & Found” in 2015. Derek has opened for artists like Tyler Farr, Brandy Clark, Dylan Scott, Joe Nichols, and Bret Michaels.

The three winners, determined by fan voting earlier this month, will perform at Citadel Country Spirit USA on August 24, 25, and 26. Each artist will perform two sets between acts on the Main Stage. One winner will perform on Friday, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday.

“Citadel hosted the contest to recognize local talent from the Greater Philadelphia area. As a community-based organization, it is important to have these rising stars represented at Citadel Country Spirit USA,” said Jeff March, president and CEO, Citadel. “We look forward to seeing these local artists shine at this spectacular event.”

Citadel Country Spirit USA, being held at Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds in Chester County’s Brandywine Valley, features more than 20 country music artists on two stages. The three-day country music festival features headliners Alabama, Toby Keith, and Brad Paisley.

Citadel Country Spirit USA comes to Chester County from the producer of Country Summer, Northern California’s biggest country music festival. Hosted by the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau (CVB), thousands of fans from across the nation are projected to attend.

The Main Stage lineup and schedule is available at

Single-day tickets, priced from $89, and Three-Day Passes, starting from $249, are on sale now at A portion of ticket sales will be donated to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

For more information about the Citadel Rising Star Local Band Contest, visit

Melissa Thompson
(610) 466-6983  

About Citadel Credit Union

Citadel Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution that provides banking, investments, and insurance services to more than 260,000 members. At $5.9 billion in assets, it is one of the Greater Philadelphia area’s largest credit unions, proudly serving residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Citadel is recognized as a Forbes 2022 Best-in-State Credit Union, a 2023 Faces of Philanthropy Award recipient from the Philadelphia Business Journal, and a certified 2023 Great Place to Work. For more information, visit

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