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Ray Charles to Be Honored on the Fourth

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Ray Charles is getting yet another memorial tribute – this time from the nation’s capital.

The nation’s biggest annual Fourth of July concert, “A Capitol Fourth,” will include an appearance this year by gospel star Yolanda Adams, who will perform the Charles classic, “Georgia on My Mind.” Charles died on June 10 at age 73.

Sunday’s concert, taking place on the West Lawn of the Capitol and attended by some 500,000 people annually, will kick off with a set by redheaded “American Idol” phenom Clay Aiken. He’ll sing the national anthem, as well as Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” and his own “Measure of a Man.”

The holiday is particularly significant to Aiken, the Associated Press reports. His stepfather, Ray Parker, died two years ago on July 4. Aiken’s younger brother, 18-year-old Brett, just enlisted in the Marines.

Following John Adams’s original 1776 recommendation – that the nation’s independence be celebrated “with pomp and parade, with shows, … guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations” – the concert will feature music from Hollywood, Nashville and the pop charts, as well as classic patriotic fare.

The performance will conclude with Tchaikovsky’s cannon-blasting “1812 Overture” and a medley of John Philip Sousa marches, plus a fireworks display over the Washington Monument. Other performers include country stars Vince Gill and Amy Grant, a Bee Gees tribute from Robin Gibb and the U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps.

PBS will air the concert live from 8 to 9:30 p.m.