Seven inducted into the NF Music Hall of Fame Thursday | Local News


The 2020 Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame inductees have been waiting for the awards ceremony on Thursday evening since October.

The winners were announced to the media last fall, but like everything else, COVID-19 wreaked havoc at the awards ceremony, so the winners will finally have their moment in the spotlight with a celebration comprising of live music from 7 p.m. at the Rapids Theater, 1711 Main Street

The event will feature performances by 2017 inductee Tom Gariano and his band, A List. He will be joined by Chris Critelli of the group Beginnings, inducted in 2018, to perform a few songs, then Jim Jekovich, inducted in 2018, will perform. In addition, two 2020 inductees will perform. Marsha McWilson will perform songs by Etta James and Aretha Franklin and the band Seven Day Faith will also perform.

JoAnn Simon, one of the event’s organizers, said the non-profit group is planning to host a 2021 Hall of Fame event in October, the month in which the celebrations typically take place. They are accepting nominations for the 2021 class of inductees until August 28.

After the nomination period closes, the organizers will determine whether to hold the 2021 event. “Once we have the nominations, we will decide how to handle this,” Simon said.

The seven Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame 2020 winners include:


Charles Chiarenza (April 13, 1930 – March 14, 2013) is this year inducted into the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame. He began his musical career in his hometown of Niagara Falls, playing guitar, mandolin, banjo, and other stringed instruments. In 67, he joined Julius Wechter and the Baja Marimba Band; a popular faux-Mexican group encouraged by Herb Alpert of Tijuana Brass. The group toured the United States and Canada and appeared on numerous television shows from the late 60s to the 80s. With the group, Charlie performed with Jerry Lewis, Lorne Greene, regularly in the Jack Benny TV show and also starred in commercials for Maxwell House Coffee. Charlie also starred with Burt Bacharach and was an extra in many television and motion pictures. He opened several restaurants in Los Angeles, where famous clients included actors and musicians who befriended Charlie. On Tuesday evenings, he invited guitarists to play and to go out. It was a place where they always felt comfortable since the owner was a guitarist. Their gatherings included eclectic combinations of musicians like Tommy Tedesco, Joe Pass, John Pisano, Charlie Chiarenza, and Frank Zappa.


Ivy D’Amico is the owner of D’Amico Music, the largest musical equipment store in the Niagara region. The store was founded by his father, a musician and Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame inductee, Jerry D’Amico. The store has always been at the service of local, national and international musicians playing and passing through the region. Prior to national and online ticket outlets, D’Amico Music was the only ticket outlet in the Niagara Falls area of ​​New York City. Music fans lined up around the block from the store to buy tickets for international tours and concerts. In addition to being a musical supplies and ticketing paradise since 1972, D’Amico Music was home to The Brewery Recording Studio. With co-owner Rick Catanese, Jerry D’Amico has designed and recorded commercials, jingles and tracks for many including Spyro Gyro and Sheila E. Since opening, D’Amico Music has offered lessons in piano, drums, of guitar and singing to young and old. Many musicians born and raised in Niagara Falls have started playing or teaching at D’Amico Music. Some have gone on to become successful musicians in western New York and beyond. Singer-songwriter Ivy represents the store at the celebration.


Mike Hatalak, originally from Niagara Falls, is a producer, engineer, songwriter, singer, guitarist specializing in the hard rock and heavy metal genres. As a teenager, he began performing in various bands in western New York City, and in 2003 joined the national hardcore metal band It Dies Today, as a guitarist, songwriter, and producer. Their debut album, “The Caitiff Choir”, sold over 25,000 copies in four months. In 2005, the alternative press named It Dies Today as a “band to know”. To date, the album has sold over 100,000 copies. Mike has toured the United States, Europe, and Canada, with his band supporting metal bands such as God Forbid, Machine Head, and The Haunted, while securing a spot in the coveted Ozzfest. A song he wrote “Sacred Heart (Sacre Coeur)” was featured in the 2009 movie “Jennifer’s Body”. He wrote and produced music for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the movie “The Cave” and for “The Ghouls Next Door”, by Niagara Falls director Ken Consentino. He performs locally with the band Tiny Music and writes for Seeing Red Music. Hatalak is also a producer and sound engineer who owns DWS Studios in Niagara Falls.


Marsha McWilson, singer, recording artist, actress and entrepreneur, attended local schools and was listed in the 1984 book “Who’s Who in America”. Marsha has performed in clubs, churches, theaters, and cruise ships, and has appeared on the Bobby Jones Gospel television show, the longest-running show to air on the Black Entertainment Television Network. She has performed with national recording artists David and Tamela Mann, Michael Bublé, Kim Burrell and Yolanda Adams; and tied with entertainment greats Tyler Perry, Bobby Brown, CeCe Peniston and Luenell. She also conducted a Gospel choir on the catwalk at Fashion Week in Toronto, Canada. In 2015, Marsha released her first CD titled “Blue Sky Blues” and in 2019, was named Female Artist of the Year by Power 96.5 FM Radio. She also won a Black Music Month Conference Award. As an actress, Marsha appeared in the movie “First Impression”, currently on Netflix. In 2015, she won an acting contest on Tom Joyner Cruise which led to an appearance on Tyler Perry’s TV show, “If Loving You is Wrong”. In 2018, she performed at ArtPark as Athena in the musical production of “The Odyssey”. McWIlson is currently displaying the vocal influences of Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Gladys Knight in venues across western New York City. She is a beauty salon owner, motivational speaker and musical evangelist, and has received numerous awards for her singing and humanitarian work.


Thomas Nelson is a bassist and singer with over 50 years of musical experience. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, he currently lives and performs in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada. He has appeared in clubs, concert halls and festivals across Canada, Europe and the United States, and appeared on numerous CBC television and radio shows. At the age of 16 he performed with other teenage musicians forming the group Supreme Soul and he was also a member of the popular group London Fog. From 1968 to 1974, Thomas provided vocals and bass for local bands Purple Gas, Earth Family, Shredded Wheat Band, 4 Way Street, Liberation & Brimstone. Performing in all types of venues in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, Nelson has worked diligently to promote and inspire a positive integration of musicians of color into the local music scene. He was a member of Terry Dee’s Rock and Roll Circus. In 1974, he toured the United States and Canada, and opened for Peter, Paul and Mary at the Ohio Folk Festival. He was a member of Buffalo-based band Soul Provider from 2007 to 2010. In 2015 he formed his own group, The Thomas Nelson Band, and to this day he performs extensively in the Niagara region of Ontario.


Thom Rotella, born in Niagara Falls, is a critically and commercially successful jazz guitarist and composer. In his teens he played in rock-n-roll groups. He formed his first group The Princetons then The Apaches, London Fog and Purple Gas. Then, he discovered jazz, attended Ithaca College as a classical guitar major; attended Berklee College in Boston; gone on tour with a lounge orchestra; then moved to Los Angeles, where he quickly established himself as one of the best studio musicians. In the early 1980s he lived and performed in New York City, where he was discovered by the pioneering digital recording company, DMP (Digital Music Products) and made three CDs, all of which found a global market, receiving wide radio broadcasting. In 1988 he returned to Los Angeles, where he was a very successful studio and recording musician. He has written and performed with artists such as Norah Jones, Donna Summer, Frank Sinatra, Cher, The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Lionel Ritchie, Bette Midler and Luciano Pavarotti, and has appeared on numerous film soundtracks, including ” Ted “,” Ted 2 “,” Splash “and” Same time next year “. He has written and starred in television shows including Ellen DeGeneres; Additional; Sex and the City and China Beach. He has created original music for television commercials for Ford, Cadillac, Goodyear, Chevrolet and Taco Bell and has played guitar on The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, The Tonight Show and The Tracey Ullman Show and many more. other. He performs with his quartet, with saxophone legend Ernie Watts.


Rob Bilson and John Rosini met at LaSalle Middle School in the late 1980s. In high school they jammed on their guitars, writing songs, and quickly started Seven Day Faith by adding drummer Rob Ferenc, bassist Kevin Ernst and Rob Burgio. In 1999, they released their first CD, ‘Life Says We Think Too Much’, which quickly caught the attention of local radio stations. SDF quickly saw packed houses everywhere they performed, including the Pat Benatar overture. They rose to # 1 on Billboard Magazine’s Independent Music Chart in 2004 and opened for Bret Michaels, 98 Degrees, Michele Branch, Bowling for Soup, Firehouse, Sean Paul, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Avril Lavigne, LL Cool J , Nickelback, Our Lady Peace, Papa Roach and others. Their # 1 single “Everything” along with three other top 10 singles were featured in the Top 40 Charts at WKSE: KISS 98.5. They were the first unsigned local band to run on a national radio station; as well as in Toronto, the Top 40 station in Canada, Z101. Their national praise followed articles in national magazines such as J-14, the best teen magazine in the United States. They will perform at Batavia Downs, opening act for the national recording / touring group Slaughter, on Friday.


Tom Proctor, originally from Niagara Falls, has been playing guitar for over 33 years and for 15 years throughout Western New York State solo and with acoustic bands at clubs, festivals, special ceremonies and national sporting events. In addition to being a musician, Tom founded and hosted “The Thomas Loop Radio Show on WJJL and All WNY Radio. He won the WBNY / 93.5-WNY Music Award for Best Broadcast / Podcast in 2012, 2013 and 2014. His show was broadcast from the Niagara Arts & Cultural Center on radio and online, winning the WBNY / 93.5-WNY Music Award for best broadcast / podcast in 2012, 2013 and 2014; the very first online show to receive the award. Award-winning runner, Proctor has also hosted events such as the NF Music & Arts Festival, Boots Brews and Bacon, the $ 10,000 Battle of the Bands at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino and many other musical and charitable events. sportsmen.


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