Credit: Panny Mayfield
Melville Tillis, a longtime co-chairman of the Sunflower River
Blues and Gospel Festival, avid supporter of the Delta Blues Museum,
and friend. Tillis co-founded the Sunflower River Gospel Association
with the late Julius Guy, and was acquainted with many musicians
including Bobby Rush, Little Milton Campbell, Clayton Love, and
others who played often at his business, the Rivermount Club.
He played trumpet with many of Clarksdale's early musicians including
Ike Turner's first hometown band. When asked about the experience,
he said with a smile, "Actually, Ike played with us."
leader, educator, businessman, athlete, coach, historian, and
chairman of the Clarksdale Public Utilities Commission for 15
years, he will be missed. To honor his contributions to the community,
the Delta Blues Museum Stage was dedicated to him on March 11,