Legendary Jazz Singer Nancy Wilson, To Perform Last Show in Athens

Via AllAboutJazz: Legendary jazz song stylist Nancy Wilson makes one thing crystal clear: If she’s going to do something, she wants to do it right. She began her career embracing that standard, and now she’s set to end it in the same way.

The three-time Grammy Award winner recently confirmed that after 60 years, she will perform on a public stage for the last time at Ohio University, giving her final show in the same state that she gave her first. According to Wilson, her idea was to come full-circle: “I’m not going to be doing it anymore, and what better place to end it than where I started—in Ohio.”

Her performance will highlight the September 10 gala being held as part of the 125th Anniversary celebration of The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education and Human Services on the Ohio University campus in Athens. The public is invited to attend.

“Ms. Wilson is one of the living legends of our time. We are extraordinarily honored to have the opportunity to host her for our special celebration of many years of success,” said Renée A. Middleton, Dean of The Patton College.

Wilson was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, and by age 15 she was working in television in Columbus. After six years of singing throughout Ohio and the Midwest, she decided she was prepared to move to New York City, acknowledging that she was also prepared to accept failure. “I was fully prepared to go back home and be a big fish in a small pond . . . if it wasn’t done right, I didn’t want to do it,” she said.

Of course, something went right; the songstress ended up becoming a powerhouse for Capitol Records, outselling the likes of Frank Sinatra and her early influence, Nat King Cole. In 1964, she won her first Grammy Award for, “How Glad I Am.” She went on to win two other Grammys and an Emmy for her own NBC show, The Nancy Wilson Show.

Wilson was a major figure in the civil rights marches of the 1960s, and in 2005 she was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. Among her many other accomplishments is a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but Wilson says one of her favorite moments was getting a Chillicothe street named after her. “The Hollywood Star didn’t even touch it,” she said.

Wilson said she is looking forward to her swan song. “I just have a feeling that I’ll enjoy it. Because I enjoy what I do, and knowing it’s the last performance in front of a good-sized audience, it’ll just be fun for me. It won’t be sad. I won’t feel sorrowful about it. I think I’ll have a ball.”

Nancy Wilson will perform at 8:00 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2011, in the Baker University Center Ballroom on the Ohio University campus in Athens, Ohio. The event is open to the public. For tickets and more information, visit cehs.ohio.edu/125 or Tamy Solomon: solomon@ohio.edu, 740-597-2990.

Webiste: http://www.cehs.ohio.edu/125


  1. I don’t facebood, twitter etc. but I just wanted to connect with you to let you know how importantly your career & music has impacted me. Being born in 1955, my parents listened to music not associated with today. Your generation of music was played in our household & I have been a fan since then. I was born in 1955 & have listened to all the classic/standards music. I am writing to you as I now have a son who is of age, & your rendition of “If I Could” has always tugged at my heartstrings for a mother/son song. I was iniatially aware of it from the Regina Belle rendition, but once I heard your take, I immediatley connectied with it. Will be hopefully dancing to it at his wedding, Beside that, I have listened to your music and followed you through my 57 years. I did not miss your appearance on the Cosby Show. Your talent has not escaped my generation. I am only sad to say that the mainstream of music today has not embraced the classic musical talent such as yourself, to perpetuate the evolution of the arts. They are missing a culture of music thaat is so important. I greatly miss the accompianment of orchestra behind the vocals. I only wish that I could attend a concert of yours. I have been able to see Frank Sinatre, and Tony Bennet live. Holding you with the classic singers of the day, if you are planning a concert in the Philadelphia area, I will be in attendance. It is an honor & privelage to be present at such an event. You have always comported yourself to be so gracious and refined, besides being a world reknowned vocal talent. I hope I have the opprotunity to see you in person. Many blessings to your talent, & appreciation of sharing it with us. Wishing you good health, & many more years of singing, Gail Zlizik

  2. Nancy Wilson is truly a class act. They don’t make them like her. She is by far one of the greatest talents of our time. She can be compared to many other legends like Lena Horne, Ella Fitgerald, and of course my home girl Ruth Brown of Portsmouth, Virginia. Nancy Wilson has a sophistication you don’t find in other artists. She’s down to earth, and a woman of God that you can clearly see. I just hope one day to meet her in person to let her know how great she is, not that she doesn’t know that already.

  3. where is ms nancy wilson. I really like youy singing. would you perform 1 more time?

  4. I met Nancy in the Bronx,(nyc), at the Blue Morocco Club, in the 60’s. She was a lady then and remained that way.
    I happen to be the God-mother of her God-daughter (Nancy’s) brother, (Willis).
    I’m really going to miss her, but I did manage to get as many DVD’S as possible.
    Wishing you a very pleasent and happy retirement

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