The holiday season is a time of giving – some give money, others give gifts, then there is the gift of music.
On December 9, Niagara Catholic High School held their second annual fundraising event where Marsha McWilson, Richie Derwald, Debbie Derwald, Steadfast, and Melissa Kate presented the crowd with the gift of a musical extravaganza that included holiday songs and music from across the decades.
After an opening prayer Melissa Kate got the night of music started with the holiday tunes “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and “A Prayer for Christmas Eve”.
Next up was Marsha McWilson and her youngest son Cameron for a performance of “This Christmas” Marsha continued with her original song “Balance” and “Let’s Stay Together”.
Richie and Debbie Derwald took the stage for a Las Vegas styled set that included the music of Judy Garland, Neil Diamond, Sir Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley. Along with performance of the Christmas songs “Joy to the World”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Ave Maria”, “O Holy Night”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and “Blue Christmas”; Richie and Hillary of Steadfast paired up for a performance of the Bing Crosby and David Bowie version of “Little Drummer “Boy”. Marsha returned to the stage for a performance of “O Happy Day” with Richie.
Soliciting some help from the audience, Marsha recruited some Pips for a rendition of “Midnight Train to Georgia”.
After a performance from Steadfast, Marsha returned to the stage…and the audience… to perform “Santa Baby” while sitting on the laps of various audience members. After her inaugural performance last year, several men put in their “reservations” this year for the right to have Marsha sing from their laps.
Melissa Kate returned to the stage for a performance of the Karen Carpenter song “Marry Christmas Darling” and a Niagara Falls version of “Sleigh Ride”. Steadfast performed “Mary Did You Know”.
Dressed a Tina Turner, Marsha “recruited” an Ike Turner – Richie Derwald – for a performance of “Proud Mary” but Richie was replaced by Hillary later in the song.
Young western New York heartthrob Troy Chiappone made a special guest appearance and performed the Frank Sinatra hit “The Lady is a Tramp”.
Finishing out the night of music Marsha returned to the stage for her signature performance of Etta James with “Let it Roll”, “I’d Rather Be Blind” – including husband Howard on stage, “Tell Mama”, and “At Last”.
For three hours on a Saturday night, members of the audience at Niagara Catholic could forget the troubles of the world and revel in their gift of music from Melissa Kate, Steadfast, the Derwald family, and Marsha McWilson.