Albany, Georgia celebrated the life and music of Ray Charles on Friday, June 18, 2004, 10:00 AM EST at Veterans Park Amphitheater. Organized by local residents, the celebration coincided with planned June 18, 2004, 10:00 AM celebrations around the world. The celebration that spanned all time zones and created a world-wide 24-hour celebration of the musical legacy of a man whose musical genius was matched by his generosity. Ray Charles, who died Thursday, June 10, 2004 at his home in Beverly Hill, California, was funeralized June 18, 2004 at 10:00 AM in Los Angeles with interment at Inglewood Cemetery.
Remembering his fellow native Albanian, Ray Stevens commented to the Albany Herald that Charles had influenced him through his piano playing and band arrangement. Shocked by his death, Stevens called Charles' talent "one-of-a-kind".
The Friday morning celebration for Ray Charles included music, dancing, tributes and a video. Local musicians and performers included Jackie Johnson (singing America the Beautiful), Willie Moody (singing Georgia On My Mind), Nathan Paige and True Praise Ensemble, T. Marshal Jones and the Albany State University Jazz Ensemble and Bo Henry with a local band. The African Drummers and Dancers under the direction of Keta Allen also performed. Representatives of the Albany City Commission and Dougherty Counthy Commission paid tribute Albany's native son. The video of Ray Charles' speech at Albany State University's May 2002 Commencement was shown.
This event was free and open to the public.
247 East Oglethorpe Blvd.
Albany, Georgia 31705
Gilbert Udoto, Owner
Helen Young, Owner
Downtown Albany Association