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Tribute gig for blind piano man could kick off new fixture.

A tribute night for blind Queenstown musician Mark Wilson could kick off a new annual event at JazzFest.

Some of the region’s top musos will play at what was originally to be a one-off free gig at the Crowne Plaza hotel on October 17.

The show will honour talented pianist Wilson, who’s recovering from a potentially fatal brain tumour diagnosed earlier this year.

But organiser Nicola Lindsay hopes the tribute idea will become a regular fixture at the fest.

“For the first of these events, we thought it would be appropriate to acknowledge the huge contribution Mark has made to the local music scene,” Lindsay says.

“But we are already looking into staging tributes to other artists or even styles of jazz music in future years.”

The tribute to Wilson will be compered by his longstanding friend and Master Blasters bandmate, Queenstown vocalist Margaret O’Hanlon.

Singers Karen Reid, Jean Foster and Chloe Hishon have been confirmed as appearing, along with veteran local drummer Peter Doyle and violin and double bass stalwart Pat Monaghan, with more names still to be added.

Two local choirs have also been approached and a contribution is expected from musicians at Wakatipu High.
O’Hanlon is hoping Wilson will be able to get on stage as well.

“Mark has been back playing music again, including doing a gig with the Master Blasters,” she says. “Everyone is looking forward to him performing, if he’s fit enough and feels like it.”

The Mark Wilson Tribute Night is at the Crowne Plaza on October 17 from 7pm