On what would have been his 83rd birthday last month, Ray Charles – known as the “father of soul” – was inducted into the U.S. Postal Service® Music Icons Forever Stamp Series. The USPS, in partnership with the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB), will unveil the Ray Charles commemorative stamp on the school campus at 10:00 am on Monday, November 18, 2013. The event is limited to blind and visually impaired students, their teachers and staff, and invited guests. Members of the public are invited to view the one-hour event via live stream at http://livestream.com/fsdb.
Speakers for the celebratory program include FSDB President Dr. Jeanne Glidden Prickett; FSDB Board of Trustees Chair Christopher Wagner; U.S. Representative Corinne Brown (FL-5th District); Flagler College Chancellor Dr. William L. Proctor; USPS District Manager for the Gulf Atlantic District Charles J. Miller; and First Vice President of the Jacksonville Council of the Blind Barbara Brown. Blind and visually impaired student musicians with the FSDB Outta Sight Band will perform two of Ray Charles’ most memorable hit songs, “Georgia on My Mind,” and “Hit the Road Jack,” and his rendition of “America the Beautiful.”
“We look forward to celebrating the legacy of Ray Charles, an extraordinary composer, singer and pianist,” said Mary Lou Hofmann, FSDB Blind Department Principal. “His numerous achievements serve as inspiration for our students, so they too, can aspire to reach great heights in their chosen professions.”
Born on September 23, 1930, and blind since childhood, Ray Charles was a 17-time Grammy® winner who received the Grammy® Lifetime Achievement award in 1987. His many other awards include the National Medal of Arts (1993), the Polar Music Prize (1989), and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986. That same year, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. An accomplished musician and songwriter, Charles was considered the creator of the soul music genre, a unique R&B forerunner to rock n’ roll and other musical offspring. During a career that spanned some 58 years, he starred on over 250 albums, many of which were top sellers in a variety of musical genres. Charles also attended FSDB during his school years while living with his family in Florida.
“Frank Sinatra, himself a stamp honoree, once characterized Ray Charles as ‘the only true genius in show business,’ and certainly, if anyone was a musical genius, it was Ray Charles,” said U.S. Postal Service Judicial Officer William Campbell. “He had a remarkable 58-year career playing music that blurred the lines of jazz, gospel, blues and, in later years, country. In so doing, he became the personification of the American Dream.”
The limited-edition Ray Charles Forever Stamp as well as Ray Charles Forever, a deluxe CD collection featuring the unreleased recording of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and the exclusive bonus track, “I Didn’t Know What Time it Was,” is available at major Post Office locations across the country, as well as online at http://usps.com/shop.