A big return to the stage for Marsha McWilson – Niagara Gazette

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Updated: October 13, 2021 @ 1:36 pm
Niagara Falls, New York
International recording artist Marsha McWilson of Niagara Falls is performing at the Park Place Event Center on Thursday at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel.

International recording artist Marsha McWilson of Niagara Falls is performing at the Park Place Event Center on Thursday at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel.
After a long hiatus due to COVID-19, Niagara Falls singer/songwriter Marsha McWilson is eager to get back into the spotlight with her own show.
McWilson, who recently was the first black female artist to be inducted into the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame, will be singing tributes to her favorite artists including Cher, Aretha Franklin, Patsy Kline, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight and Etta James on Thursday at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel.
“I’m going to be in full costume for each of the artists and performing with a live band and backup singers,” McWilson said. “We’re going to be doing Motown classics too. It’s going to be a great show!”
Her son Cameron, 19, will join her onstage. “He’s going to perform a tribute to Michael Jackson and he’s doing his own original song, ‘Sugar Cream,’ “ McWilson said.
“My son is singer/songwriter and producer. He did the vocals on my song, ‘Rona Mae Blues,’ with me, and produced the song as well,” she added.
The concert is suitable for families, she said, noting that the show is being held at the Batavia Downs Event Center, and not the gaming hall.
McWilson, the mom of two sons who she calls “miracles,” has been married for 29 years to her husband, Howard. She will be singing to him on the stage as Etta James, with the song “I’d Rather Go Blind Than See You Walk Away.”
The gospel and blues singer, long known for her tribute renditions, has performed for many years, including hosting six times at the Sunday gospel brunch at the Niagara Falls Blues Festival, but her path to Thursday’s show hasn’t been an easy one, she says.
Born in Niagara Falls, the youngest of a family of 12 children, she has suffered many losses including, in a short span of years, the deaths of her parents, four brothers, two sisters, two sisters-in-love, a niece and a nephew. Despite the tragedies, McWilson said she has persevered due to her faith.
She calls herself a musical minister, and says, “I work for the waymaker,” she says.
McWilson expressed gratitude to Henry Wojtazek, CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming, for helping her get the booking, and her friend, Stephanie Cowart, who encouraged her to contact Wojtazek and pursue her dreams.
Among her favorite accomplishments, she has led a Gospel choir down the runway at Fashion Week in Toronto, won a Humanitarian Award from the City of Niagara Falls in 2002, and also won an acting contest on the Tom Joyner Cruise which lead to an appearance in Tyler Perry’s TV show, “If Loving You Is Wrong.”
Her performance credits include an appearance on the Bobby Jones Gospel TV show and she has sung with noted singers including David and Tamela Mann, Yolanda Adams, Kim Burrell, Donnie McClurkin, and Michael Buble’.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, she wrote and recorded the song “Rona Mae Blues,” after she lost her sister Vanessa and several other friends and relatives to the virus. It is available on iTunes.
Her CD, “Blue Sky Blues,” a follow-up to her first song on iTunes entitled “Balance,” is available at www.marshmcwilson.com.
McWilson is a artistic stylist in more ways than one, as a long-time salon owner in Niagara Falls. After graduating from the MarJon School of Beauty Culture in 1994, she opened her own salon called McWilson House of Beauty.
For ticket information for Thursday’s show in Batavia, visit www.eventbrite.com and www.bataviadownsgaming.com.
Michele DeLuca is a freelance reporter for the Niagara Gazette and the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal.

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