Friends, musicians pack Anson B. Nixon Park for Melton tribute06/13/2022 12:23PM ● By Richard Gaw
Photo by Richard L. Gaw Vocalist Alfie Moss, Michael Melton and Donna Melton joined 25 other musicians for a musical tribute to longtime architect, stakeholder and musician Dennis Melton on June 12 at Anson B. Nixon Park.
By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer
Billed as “A Concert for Dennis,” the long-awaited musical tribute to the late local architect, stakeholder and musician Dennis Melton on June 12 brought more than 250 to Anson B. Nixon Park.
By the end of the two-hour performance -- one that reunited a line-up of 25 of Melton's most treasured musical collaborators -- many in the audience left with the feeling that the concert could have been named, "A Concert for Everyone Who Knew and Loved Dennis."
From Melton's signature song "Gather 'Round" to the closing song "The Weight," the 15-song performance on the park's outdoor stage -- which Melton himself designed -- was under the direction of Melton's twin brother Dale that was equal parts sentimental in song and rip-roaring Delta Blues.
Preparation for the concert began a year ago, when Dale first reached out to the many musical colleagues he and Dennis had known and worked with for decades. Their response to the invitation to perform was both enthusiastic and immediate, and it began a long trail of phone calls, the sending of musical charts for each song and long rehearsals that gathered at Dale's studio.
The concert also featured on-stage collaborations between Melton's son Michael and his wife Donna, as well as contributions from Hooters’ band member John Lilley, vocalist Alfie Moss and Scott Birney, who served as master of ceremonies, among many others.
In addition to “Gather ‘Round,” the concert showcased three other Melton songs: “Doin’ the Best I Can,” “Sometimes,” and “Isn’t it Enough."
Throughout the morning, and as the weather forecast called for severe rainstorms, there was some speculation that the concert would be forced to move indoors to The Kennett Flash, but by the time the concert got underway at 2:30 p.m., those gathered on the lawn in folding chairs and on blankets were treated to a consistent splash of sunshine.
Before the concert, a plaque was unveiled in Dennis’ honor that will be affixed to the park’s performance stage, where he hosted and performed several shows as part of the park’s summer concert series.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].