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High School for Recording Arts holds moving Celebration of LIfe Program for Prince

Posted December 31, 2015

An all-school Celebration, "Musicology," was held, Monday, June 20, to celebrate the life of Prince Rogers Nelson.  The event included student performances, skits, and speeches by HSRA family members who knew Prince the best.  Special guest stars at the event included the Not Guilty Band, a cherished HSRA favorite music group. 

It’s not an overstatement to say that without the life of Prince Rogers Nelson, there would not have been a High School for Recording Arts (HSRA). The history of the charter school is inextricably connected to the artist known as Prince and his spirit has always permeated through the music studios, classrooms and hallways of HSRA.

It was Prince who gave HSRA founder, David “TC” Ellis, the opportunity to realize his dream of performing with his childhood friend and sign as a national recording artist through Paisley Park/Warner Brothers Records. This was right after Ellis released the first rap record in Minnesota, "Twin Cities Rap". Ellis spent the next couple of years touring the world with Prince, performing on the same stage with the music legend as a solo artist, as well as appearing with him in the movie, "Graffiti Bridge."

Upon leaving Prince's Paisley Park team, Ellis was inspired by his time and experience with Prince to start Studio 4 which, in turn, soon created the High School for Recording Arts.  Ellis never publicly shares the story about the founding of HSRA without paying homage to his friend and mentor, Prince. 


According to Ellis, "I will forever be indebted to Prince for believing in me and giving me the chance to realize my dreams as an artist.  I see the legacy of Prince everyday when I look into the eyes of the countless students who come through this program.  Their quest to freely explore their creativity--and the things that make each of them unique, with an aim to be the best they can be--is what Prince's life was all about and what our students most want.  Today, the world has lost a music genius.  To me, I lost a brother who steered my life into a direction that has taken me on an incredible journey, one which I could have never imagined.  I, and our entire community, love and will miss you.  Our condolences go out to Prince's remaining family, close friends and colleagues.  Rest well, Prince."