News Column

Marsha McWilson fills the park for Lewiston Blue Monday performance

August 18, 2014

Niagara Gazette, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Aug. 18--A record crowd filled the gazebo on Center Street in Lewiston last Monday to hear Niagara Falls singer Marsha McWilson perform songs made famous by torch singer Etta James and soul queen Aretha Franklin.

The Blue Monday series, in its 20th year and a recipient of Blues Beat Magazine's "Muddy" Award, will close for the summer tonight the Tommy Z Band, on stage from 7 to 9 p.m. at Hennepin Park.

Several hundred people crowded the Hennepin Park Gazebo park last week to hear McWilson sing the blues. The crowd response was unlike any in recent memory, according to Eva Nicklas of the Lewiston Council on the Arts, which sponsors Blue Monday. "Never before have we seen such a huge crowd or so much dancing," she said, adding "We've already booked her for next year."

For McWilson, mother of two and a longtime singer/songwriter in the region, the chance to sing to such an appreciative crowd was "a dream come true."

"I was overwhelmed when I pulled up at a quarter to six and I could not get a parking space," she said.

McWilson, who also sang some gospel tunes along with favorites from James and Franklin, the evening provided the opportunity to sing some of her favorite romantic torch songs to a special guy in the crowd. "I got the chance to sing 'At Last,' and serenaded my own husband," she said.

According to the event sponsors, people were on their feet and dancing to the music like never before. "There were 40 or 50 couples out there dancing," she added. "It was a dream come true."

"We all felt as if we were part of something very special in Lewiston ...," said Tim Henderson, program coordinator for the arts council, adding that McWilson was "probably the best raw talent that we've ever seen in this area."

McWilson's next local performance will be at the Blues Festival on Old Falls Street, at noon on Sept. 13. She will also perform at the festival's Sunday morning gospel brunch at 10 a.m.Sept. 14, where coffee and doughnuts will be served and which is free and open to the public.

Blue Monday is sponsored by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, the Town of Lewiston, the Village of Lewiston and the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston. For more information visit


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Source: Niagara Gazette (NY)

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