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News Release

City of St. Petersburg to Honor Ray Charles and his Song

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (January 25, 2019) – The City of St. Petersburg plans to declare February 15, 2019, “Ray Charles Day,” with a proclamation and a musical evening at The Studio@620.  A group of presenters and local musicians will showcase the legacy of Ray Charles, whose first recorded song in 1950 was “The St. Pete Florida Blues.”

Into the 1950s and 60s Ray Charles became one of America’s most versatile performers, a singer, musician, composer, band leader, and arranger. Over time he became master of countless musical genres: gospel, jazz, rock, country, rhythm and blues, rockabilly, soul.  His version of “America the Beautiful” has been applauded as our second National Anthem.

For over a half century, Ray Charles often returned to Florida with many visits to St. Pete, including performances at the Manhattan Casino, a venue for black performers in the days of segregation, but also at the Bayfront Center and at an outdoor concert at Campbell Park.

“For all these reasons,” reads the proclamation, “we declare Ray Charles as an Adopted Son of St. Petersburg Florida, and his song an official song of the city.”

Speakers and performers will include author John Capouya, Alex Harris and His Band, The Scheiber Family, J.J. Pattishall, Eric Deggans, Lillian Dunlap, Paul Wilborn, with a special guest appearance by soul artist Latimore. 

Event:  St. Pete Celebrates The Florida Legacy of ‘The Genius’ Ray Charles

Friday, February 15, 7:00 p.m.

The Studio@620

620 First Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Tickets:  $15, $10

Call:  727-895-6620

For interviews or additional information call Roy Peter Clark, 727-439-0045, or rclark@poynter.org.

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City of St. Petersburg
P.O. Box 2842
St. Petersburg, FL 33731

  • p: 727-893-7111
  • f: 727-892-5102
  • tty: 727-892-5259
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