Marsha McWilson is currently on the Fantastic Voyage Caribbean cruise, singing Etta James songs for people on board the big boat. This cruise also features music concerts by The O'Jays, The Isley Brothers, SWV, En Vogue, and Anita Baker, among plenty others! Marsha is super excited because Jacque Reid interviewed her for the "Inside Her Story" segment on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, airing 5/1/18 between 8am and 8:30am!
Marsha has been entertaining seniors at Our Lady of Peace, an assisted living facility in Lewiston, New York. Most performers sing at an audience, but Marsha finds ways to sing with her audiences. For instance, she takes the classic Gladys Knight song, "Midnight Train To Georgia" and involves the crowd. Imagine little old ladies making the moves "The Pips" would make... Marsha gets them to "toot toot" the train horn, raising their one arm in the air, as well as rolling their arms like wheels to the left and to the right, and, of course, clapping along as best they can. She even "auditions" her back-up singers, making them copy her going up and down the scale: "mi mi mi mi mi..." Now, you had to be there to fully appreciate this, but let me tell you: the seniors had a blast. They were singing along, making their dance moves, and smiling. Isn't that the point? Even the staffers and visitors were like, "Who is this Marsha McWilson? She brings the joy!" True story: one person told Marsha that her performance got a woman singing, a woman whom she has never even heard speak in years! That's the power of music, folks, especially when it's delivered by fun-loving, caring Marsha McWilson.
Well, this was unexpected! Marsha went to see Johnny Gill perform, and sure enough, she ended up singing for him! Johnny passed Marsha the microphone and was blown away by her dynamic vocals. You can see for yourself-- the picture quality isn't the best, but you get the idea.
Marsha also got to meet Johnny Gill in person.
She's always meeting famous singers, you know? A month before Gill, she met up with Chaka Khan!
Marsha loved seeing Menopause: The Musical and enjoyed hanging out with the cast! Of course she sang with 'em! If you saw "A League of Their Own," the Madonna baseball movie, you'll recognize Megan Cavanagh who played Marla Hooch in that popular film!
Marsha is a regular on the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise each Spring. She's very social, so you can bet she met quite a few notable people you might know, like Tito Jackson, Bobby Brown and Sherri Shepherd, who called Marsha "amazingly talented!" She also enjoyed hearing concerts by artists like Anthony Hamilton, Fantasia, and Mary J. Blige. Interestingly, aboard the cruise Marsha kept getting compliments on her fashion-forward outfits. Bobby Jones even mentioned her clothing choices from his stage, inviting her to sing, too! While on board the Carnival Dream cruiseliner, Marsha participated in the actors' workshop alongside Rodney Perry. She also took pics with people like radio mogul Cathy Hughes, former BET exec Stephen Hill, and fellow actors from various Tyler Perry shows.
Meanwhile, Marsha went to the TCT TV studios in March where she performed three songs for the TV show "Celebrate." You can see her version of Tamela Mann's "Take Me To The King" on the main page of her website.
December 10th, 2016, was a concert like no other! Marsha teamed up with Vegas entertainer Richie Derwald to put on quite the show. The day before the concert, Marsha went on AM Buffalo to tell the people of Buffalo and Niagara Falls about the show. As you can see from the photo above, it was nice weather for December in Buffalo-- no snow on the ground!
On AM Buffalo, Marsha sang "The Christmas Song" and "Tell Mama." She had the host of the show, Linda Pellegrino, dance with her on "Tell Mama," along with Mike Volpe, who helped coordinate her Christmas concert at Niagara Catholic High School.
Now if you didn't get to the show, you missed a spectacular one! Richie Derwald involves his whole family in putting on a Vegas-style musical revue. That means his wife Debbie impersonates Cher and Dolly Parton and does a medley of songs from The Sound of Music, aided by her two daughters. Richie, meanwhile, tackles songs from Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, and Elvis, complete with the bedazzled jumpsuit, thank you very much. His twin sons appeared with their dad-- in Elvis jumpsuits, too--eliciting lots of "awwwws" from the crowd. The little boys even sang their rendition of "This Little Light of Mine."
Besides the Derwald family, Marsha invited the vocal harmony group Steadfast, and they sang their version of "Silent Night" like the Temptations would. And, to keep it interesting, Marsha had her backing singers lead a crowd line-dance to the song "Wobble."
Then it was time for Marsha to get the crowd going with Christmas songs like "Santa Baby" and "Merry Christmas Baby." She surprised the crowd by covering Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were," which sounded brilliant-- Babs would be proud. With a couple wig and costume changes, Marsha transformed into Aretha Franklin ("Respect"), Gladys Knight ("Midnight Train to Georgia"), and Tina Turner ("Proud Mary"). She had the crowd tapping their toes, shaking their shoulders, and dancing, too. Of course, she "did Etta," complete with "At Last" to finish up the night.
When will her next big concert be? Time will tell; one thing's for sure-- if you love "oldies but goodies," get on Marsha's mailing list so you'll know when her next big show happens.
The Gospel Blues Brunch started off at Noon with music from Richie Derwald, dressed in his Elvis jumpsuit. He sang classic songs like "Oh Happy Day" and "How Great Thou Art" in the style of Elvis Presley. Marsha followed with several songs including a cover of Tamela Mann's "Take Me To The King." The band Jesus Centered Music, as well as the Caribbean sounds of Oral Roberts, delighted those in attendance. The female harmony group Favva and the male harmony group Steadfast provided heavenly vocals, while Ezra Scott and his band brought some muscular funk to the proceedings. To keep things interesting, liturgical dancers from The Potter's House danced for the crowd and Cathy Townsend, from Chicago, sang "What A Difference A Day Makes" in a smooth, jazzy style. Gospel singing pioneer Jimmy Smith, Angel Vox (a sibling group from Uganda by way of The Congo), Ella Robinson and the New Beginnings Choral Ensemble, Men in White, Uncle Willie, The Beautiful Music Band, and even Marsha's son, Cameron, all performed at this day-long event.
Marsha always seems to meet famous people wherever she goes. Here she is with the legendary Gospel singer Shirley Caesar. They spent time together aboard the Tom Joyner Celebrity Cruise in the Caribbean.
Can you believe Shirley is 77-years-old? She looks great! The eleven time Grammy Award winner is known as "The First Lady of Gospel Music," and she has been recording songs since 1951!