The Mississippi Blues Trail marker unveiled in Como Saturday describes the significance and impact of musician Otha Turner whose home was located a few miles east of the sign’s Main Street location.
Master of Ceremony Julius Harris (right) introduces blues musician Jimbo Mathus. Mathus performed his interpretation of “Lay My Burden Down” in memory of Otha Turner.
Mississippi Blues Trail writer/researcher Scott Barretta talked about the origins and the place in history of Otha Turner’s fife and drum music.
Tears rolled down Sharde Thomas’ face Saturday as she sang “O. T.” in memory of her grandfather. When her voice faltered, Stephanie Turner (right) stepped in. To the left of Sharde is Chyna Sipp – another member of Otha Turner’s descendants joining his celebrated musicial tradition. At left with guitar is Ricky of the group Blue Mother Tupelo who also played at the annual barbeque Friday and Saturday at Otha Turner’s home.
Otha Turner’s granddaughter, Bobbie Turner Mallory joined the second line down Como’s Main Street for the marker unveiling accompanied by the musician’s great grandson, Otha Evans Jr. Evans’ mother, Charletha Evans is partially visible at left.
Rock/blues musician Kenny Brown (right) added to the Turner accolades during Saturday’s program. Como Mayor Judy Sumner (center) and her husband Mike worked hard before and after the program to make the day run smoothly. Expenses of the ceremony and related activity was paid entirely from donations. At left is Pastor Cedric Richardson who gave the invocation.
Following his rendition of “Lay My Burden Down,” Jimbo Mathus was joined in the crowd around the library garden by Jennifer Pierce.
“How Long?” sang blues musician Mark Massey at the library before the unveiling of the marker honoring Otha Turner.
New York City public school teachers Gwendolyn Durell (left) and Liz Hanson made the trip to Como for the Otha Turner Blues Marker unveiling and the goat barbecue at the Turner place at Gravel Springs. They told Scott Barretta (right) that they teach about the fife and drum music tradition in their classes.
As the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band moved down Como’s Main Street Saturday, other Turner family members and friends were joined by the crowd to form a second line down to the veiled marker. Sharde Thomas led with the fife followed by drummers Rodney Evans (green shirt) R. L Boyce (behind Rodney Evans), Otha Evans (orange shirt), John Knight (foreground with snare drum), and Audrey Bill Turner on bass drum.
A reception at James and Frances May’s newly opened Como Inn followed the unveiling of the Otha Turner Blues Trail Marker. Visitors who ventured upstairs discovered its lovely guest rooms.
Among those who visited James and Frances May’s Como Inn were Travis Hullett (left) and Carl Vermilyea.
Otha Turner Blues Trail Marker unveiled in Como
All guestrooms at Como Inn open into a spacious gallery hall with a stairway leading downstairs to Como’s Main Street and a rear entrance through the kitchen leading to an open rear balcony. Emily Moore (left) and her mother, Teresa Moore (back to camera), were among Saturday visitors. For more information about the inn, visit www.comoinnms.com.