On October 5, the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame held a special invitation only event to announce the 2020 class of Hall of Fame inductees.   This year’s class features the first ever music business, a Blues singer, a punk band, an award winning Jazz guitar player, a metal guitarist, and a singing bass player.

Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame member Bruce Wojick hosted the event that featured announcing the newest inductees and posing for photos.

Hall of Fame President Peter Paonessa Jr spoke noting that the work on the search for members of the Hall of Fame never stops.  Adding that without these very important people (Hall of Fame members) they would not be here.

Wojick said that during the 2019 induction ceremony, they had planned to honour a long time journalist Norma Hicks whose weekly articles on local musicians were greatly anticipated.  Hicks received a nice plaque in honour of her service.

Noting that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many changes this year including the inability to hold the now annual gala event to celebrate the newest class of Hall of Fame inductees.  Wojick said that even if it doesn’t happen until next September, there will be a big event of celebration to honour the new inductees.

The only female inductee for 2020 is the Niagara Falls native Gospel and Blues singer and actress Marsha McWilson.  Along with being very active in her church, McWilson has performed at numerous venues in Niagara Falls; as well as, on cruise ships.  She has also worked with Tyler Perry.  McWilson thanked everyone saying that the announcement made her feel like she was somebody.

The only band being inducted this year is the pop rock band Seven Day Faith – Rob Bilson, Rob Ferenc, Kevin Ernst, and John Rosini. The band has played in numerous western New York venues including sharing the stage with KISS and Pat Benatar. Due to current travel restrictions, not all of the band members were able to be present for the event.

Noting that it was long overdue, Bruce Wojick announced Jazz guitarist Thom Rotella. Currently making his home in California; Rotella has had a successful career that includes having worked with numerous artists including Norah Jones, Donna Summer, Frank Sinatra, Cher, The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Lionel Richie, Bette Midler, Luciano Pavarotti, Seth MacFarland, David Foster, Stanley Turrentine, Tom Scott, Rick Braun, Gerald Ablright and Gregg Karukas.

Guitarist Michael Hatalak not only plays guitar for the western New York band Tiny Music; he also is the guitarist, songwriter, and producer for the metal band It Dies Today. When not performing on stage, Hatalak helps to make the acts on the stage at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino sound good as a member of the production staff.


For the first time in the history of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame, the nominating committee has chosen to induct a music store – D’Amico Music.  Jerry D’Amico opened the store in 1972 and became the largest music store in the area selling albums, giving lessons, and offering recording facilities.  No longer with us, daughter Ivy D’Amico accepted the nomination.

Already a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame as a member of the Soul Providers, Thomas Nelson has been named as a member of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame on his own merit.  Making his home in Canada, Nelson has opened for Gordon Lightfoot and works with the drummer from Santana; as well as, his own band.

A posthumous award, The Legacy Award honours musical pioneers from the Niagara Falls area.  This year’s recipient is guitarist Charles Chiarenza who was a member of the Julius Wechter and the Baja Marimba Band, worked with Burt Bacharach, and appeared on a number of film and television productions.  Later he became a restauranteur. 

The 2020 recipient of the Dr. Samuel “Saxman” Morreale Award goes to guitarist Thomas Proctor who has hosted his own radio show, performs solo and as a part of two groups, and popular festival host.

Congratulations to the 2020 class of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame!  The honourees will be celebrated at a later date in a gala event filled with music.

Already a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame as a member of the Soul Providers, Thomas Nelson has been named as a member of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame on his own merit.  Making his home in Canada, Nelson has opened for Gordon Lightfoot and works with the drummer from Santana; as well as, his own band.

A posthumous award, The Legacy Award honours musical pioneers from the Niagara Falls area.  This year’s recipient is guitarist Charles Chiarenza who was a member of the Julius Wechter and the Baja Marimba Band, worked with Burt Bacharach, and appeared on a number of film and television productions.  Later he became a restauranteur. 

The 2020 recipient of the Dr. Samuel “Saxman” Morreale Award goes to guitarist Thomas Proctor who has hosted his own radio show, performs solo and as a part of two groups, and popular festival host.

Congratulations to the 2020 class of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame!  The honourees will be celebrated at a later date in a gala event filled with music.

Already a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame as a member of the Soul Providers, Thomas Nelson has been named as a member of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame on his own merit.  Making his home in Canada, Nelson has opened for Gordon Lightfoot and works with the drummer from Santana; as well as, his own band.

A posthumous award, The Legacy Award honours musical pioneers from the Niagara Falls area.  This year’s recipient is guitarist Charles Chiarenza who was a member of the Julius Wechter and the Baja Marimba Band, worked with Burt Bacharach, and appeared on a number of film and television productions.  Later he became a restauranteur. 

The 2020 recipient of the Dr. Samuel “Saxman” Morreale Award goes to guitarist Thomas Proctor who has hosted his own radio show, performs solo and as a part of two groups, and popular festival host.

Congratulations to the 2020 class of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame!  The honourees will be celebrated at a later date in a gala event filled with music.