ALBANY— Two musical icons with Southwest Georgia ties will be honored this fall with festivals in their hometowns.
X-tratainment Inc. and Xtrataining Records will present the two-part “Albany’s Ray Charles Music Festival” at the Ray Charles Plaza in downtown Albany Sept. 23 and on Jackson and Highland streets in the city’s historic Harlem district Oct. 27.
The Randolph County Veterans Memorial Committee, meanwhile, will present the second Boudleaux Bryant Festival at Shellman City Park Oct. 13.
Sheila Raye Charles, daughter of soul great Ray, is scheduled to perform during both days of Albany’s festival honoring her father. She will help the singer’s hometown celebrate Charles’ birthday Sept. 23 at the plaza that bears his name and includes a life-size likeness of the singer sitting at a piano, and she will headline festivities a month later in the Harlem district.
Part of the proceeds from the Charles celebration will benefit the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia, according to X-tratainment executive and event organizer Thomas Swain.
“The coalition was selected because of their mission to fight cancer in South Georgia and because all of their funding and programs serve the people of this area exclusively,” Swain said.
Both Swain and his wife are cancer survivors.
Along with Sheila Raye Charles, also scheduled to perform during the Oct. 27 portion of the festival are the Original Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, which includes Albany native Willie Moody. Other national, regional and local acts will also be on the bill.
Local cable TV provider Mediacom is teaming with X-tratainment to co-sponsor the event.
“The South Georgia Cancer Coalition has worked diligently in this area for victims and families affected by cancer,” Mediacon Senior Director of Area Operations Phil Skinner said. “The Ray Charles Music Festival will be a great outlet to contribute to their cause as well as the Albany community.”
Information about the festival is available by calling Swain at (229) 431-3157 or online at www.albanyraycharlesmusicfestival.com.
Dane Bryant, son of Hall of Fame songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, will be on hand to help the tiny Shellman community celebrate its renowned native son. The highlight of the festival will be the unveiling of a marble monument dedicated to Bryant.
Event co-sponsors Alvin and Robert Jones will bring a NASCAR simulator to the daylong festival, which will also feature music by the Patchitla Pickers and the Neverly Brothers.
Among the hundreds of songs, many of them classics, written by the Bryants are “Bye Bye Love,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Country Boy,” “Wake Up, Little Susie” and “Rocky Top.”
Information about the festival is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.