The organizer of the annual Niagara Falls Blues Festival, Toby Rotella, has given vocal dynamo Marsha McWilson the green light to take over the fest for Sunday, September 18th, bringing with her a whole slew of singers and musicians, including the daughter of B.B. King, aka “The Bluz Queen: Claudette King.”
The packed day of performances, known as the “Gospel Blues Brunch,” kicks off at Noon with William Fagin leading people in prayer and a scripture reading by Vanessa Walker. Emcee Mark Weber will introduce artists throughout the day. As it’s the “Gospel Blues Brunch,” there will be complimentary food and beverages while supplies last, so get to the fest (on Old Falls Street near Rainbow Blvd. in downtown Niagara Falls) early.
After introductions, Richie Derwald will sing Gospel hymns in the style of Elvis Presley, followed by Marsha McWilson performing several stirring songs backed by Anthony Taylor and The Beautiful Music Band and The Go Go Girls backing singers: Kellie, Sherrie, Carolyn and Shania. McWilson will then turn the stage over to several of her musical friends, including the band Jesus Centered Music (Praise & Worship), rapper Oral Roberts (Caribbean Calypso), Angel Vox from Africa (Family Group), Men In White (Male Singing Group), Cathy Townsend from Chicago (Gospel Jazz Blues), Malcolm Wilson & Joshua’s Generation (Traditional Gospel Choir), Ezra Scott (Traditional Quartet Singing), Ella E. Robinson & The New Beginnings Choral Ensemble, Larry Kennedy-King from Buffalo (Gospel Hip-Hop), The Potter’s House Liturgical Dancers, Jimmy Smith Jr. (Traditional Gospel), Steadfast (Contemporary Gospel Group), Favaa (Female Singing Group), Cameron McWilson (Marsha’s Son/Contemporary Gospel) and Connie Mathews (Traditional Gospel). Clean comedian Ernie Bivins will also entertain the crowd. Toward the end of the event (about 6 p.m.) McWilson will join Claudette King for some rousing numbers. The festivities are expected to end at 7 p.m., so don’t miss a minute.