One-thousand local high-schoolers sing 'Purple Rain' tribute to Prince

US artist singer and songwriter Prince performs on stage during his concert in Antwerp Sportpaleis, on November 8, 2010.  AFP PHOTO /BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
US artist singer and songwriter Prince performs on stage during his concert in Antwerp Sportpaleis, on November 8, 2010. AFP PHOTO /BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
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One thousand local high school students paid tribute to Prince Friday with a touching rendition of “Purple Rain” during an annual chorale festival at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The stage lit up in purple spotlights as high-schoolers from 31 different choirs swayed and sang the lyrics to what is arguably Prince’s most recognizable anthem.

The performance was an unexpected addition to a finale concert at the Los Angeles Master Chorale Choir Festival, which brings together choir students from various high schools around L.A. County for advanced training.

Grant Gershon, artistic director of the LA Master Chorale, said it only felt right for the choir students to honor Prince in the wake of his sudden death on Thursday. To Gershon’s surprise, his teenage vocalists already knew the words to the famous song.

“'Purple Rain,' 1984, right? I mean, these kids, they weren’t even a gleam in their parents’ eye,” he said. “But the music transcends all time.”

“I didn’t cry, but I wanted to,” said Dahnya Phillips, a senior at Paramount High School. “I was feeling it because my mom, my dad, all my aunties – they always dance to 'Purple Rain' when it comes on.”

Other students said they regret not ever seeing Prince live in concert, but that they would keep his memory alive.