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Saturday, June 19

Friends sing Ray Charles' praises at funeral

"Friends of Ray Charles sent the late singer off on a high note Friday.

B.B. King, Glen Campbell, Stevie Wonder and Wynton Marsalis performed musical tributes to Charles, who died last week at 73, during a joyous funeral service at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Charles' son, the Rev. Robert Robinson Sr., started the service with a rousing tone, clapping his hands throughout a reading from the Old Testament. Then the Rev. Jesse Jackson added a New Testament reading threaded with his own inspirational message.

'Now heaven has a maestro,' Jackson said. 'Ray, when you first get there, before you meet Count (Basie), before you meet Duke (Ellington), before you meet family and friends, there's a man over there, across the river who is giving sight to the blind!'"

See Newsday's photo coverage of the funeral here and here

Rest in Peace Ray. Pray for us.

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