Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations – 12/1/2011 – Panny Mayfield, director; email@example.com – 662-621-4157
Melville Tillis, Clarksdale native, former longtime Public Utilities Commission chairman, founder of the Sunflower River Gospel Festival and longtime co-chairman of the Sunflower River Blues Association, is honored as Clarksdale’s ‘Citizen of the Year’ at the annual Chamber Banquet Wednesday, Nov. 30. Tillis was cited as an outspoken booster of Clarksdale and Coahoma County, a retired educator, coach, and businessman who owned and operated the Rivermount Lounge where Clayton Love, Little Milton, and Bobby Rush played often. When asked what it was like to play trumpet in Ike Turner’s first hometown band, he replied, ‘Actually, Ike played with us.’ Tillis is a graduate of Alcorn State University where he was inducted in the Hall of Fame. His large family surprised him by attending the Chamber ceremony when the honor was announced. Accepting the award, he announced that the Sunflower Festival’s 25th anniversay in 2011 would be a spectacular event and urged the audience to attend.