By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Exhausted from more than 12 hours of work Saturday, Blues by the Lake creator Debra Sigee found a sudden pep in her step when headliner Sweet Angel hit the USA Stadium stage.
Sigee wasn’t the only one dancing to the soulful voice of Sweet Angel. Quickly dozens of concert-goers joined her in front of the stage grooving, shaking and stepping. After finishing her dance, Sigee hopped back on her golf cart to continue working behind the scenes making sure the first Blues by the Lake continued to be a success.
“I think the first Blues by the Lake was fantastic,” she said. “It went beyond my expectations. I appreciate the Millington Police and Millington Fire departments and the city leaders who came out to support this event.”
Millington’s presence was felt at the concert making sure the hundreds in attendance were safe and enjoyed the music of Sweet Angel, FADE, Sonny Mack and Millington’s own Lisa G.
While classic Blues songs were performed and some current pop hits echoed over USA Stadium Freedom Lake with a Blues twist, Sigee and her staff continued to take tickets, shuttle patrons and attend to needs for artist and the Beale Street Singers and Musicians.
The event staff was composed of Sigee’s husband Emile, son Emile Jr., daughters Tyra Moss, Tara Nicole Moss, and Ena Cole and sons-in-law Joe Dorsey Jr. and Nick Robinson.
“My family, I could not have done this without my family,” Debra said. “And the community, this could not have happened without the community of Millington, the community of Tipton County, Memphis. People came from as far as St. Louis and New Orleans and Drummonds. I appreciate everyone who came out. It was a fantastic event. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.”
The 2013 Blues by the Lake was hosted by WDIA’s Bev Johnson. The legendary radio personality introduced acts, promoted the several vendors in attendance and encouraged Millington to make Blues by the Lake a new tradition in Flag City.
Sigee said organizing the first Blues by the Lake took months of preparation. And on the day of the event she woke up at 6 a.m. to make sure things ran smoothly. By 6 p.m., dozens of event goers walked up to Sigee to say, ‘thank you,’ for putting on the concert. All the artist hit the stage and the patrons hit the dance floor despite the heat to enjoy Blues by the Lake.
Sigee said she is happy with the turnout and outcome of the first Blues by the Lake. But what she is most happy about is giving back to her community.
“Millington Central High School Chorale and the Mid-South Arts Safehaven for Kids, those two organizations are the ones who benefited from this first event,” she concluded. “Next year, if anyone is interested in being the constituency for Blues by the Lake, just send a letter of interest of their program to www.bluesbythelake.com. And we will let you know who we select for next year as the constituency as far as non-profit and civic organization. Keep it growing and keep it going.”