On June 10, in year 2004 the music industry lost one of the most influential artists to ever grace the Earth with their presence.
I am speaking of course, of Ray Charles.
Frank Sinatra said Charles was “the only genius in show business.” Even Billy Joel stated that he may have been more important than Elvis Presley.
On Saturday Oct. 5, Ray seemingly came back to life, to give a stunning performance at the SC4 Fine Arts Theatre. Accompanied by the West Shore Community College Ray Live Band, Pete Peterkin, a finalist on America’s Got Talent, put on a great Ray Charles impression for “A Tribute to Ray Charles.”
Donned in full Ray Charles attire, Peterkin’s performance included such hits as “Georgia on My Mind”, “Busted,” and “Hit the Road Jack,” among many others. Peterkin has also portrayed Charles in the opening ceremonies of Super Bowl XXVII.
The Ray Live band consists of Ted Malt on Saxophone, Stephen Plummer on Guitar, Jason ‘Harvey’ Hargreaves on Bass and Vocals, Erin Wall and Michelle Kiessel on Vocals, Dutcher Wright Snedeker on Piano, and David Claire on Percussion. Malt leads the band as Music Director.
Peterkin, to pull a fast one on the audience, branched out with his impressions, also portraying Stevie Wonder, Cab Calloway, James Brown, and the Blues Brothers. He impersonated all with surreal accuracy in vocals, movements, and playing styles.
Audience members seemed to all agree on the performance. Susan Wright exclaimed, “I’m an avid Ray Charles fan, and that impersonation was amazing.” Goldie Smith added, “I saw Ray play while he was still alive, and honestly, tonight I seen him again.”
Peterkin simply said, “Ray is one of my biggest influences, and it’s truly an honor to have this opportunity.”
Even Ray Charles himself would’ve been impressed.