LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — About 1,000 Los Angeles-area high school student singers paid tribute to Prince Friday with a hastily arranged performance of “Purple Rain.”

The students — from about 31 different schools — were already scheduled to perform Friday afternoon at Walt Disney Concert Hall in the culmination of the 27th annual Los Angeles Master Chorale High School Choir Festival. The program was expected to included works by Handel, Copeland and others.

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But with the death of Prince Thursday at the age of 57, LAMC Artistic Director Grant Gershon and guest conductor Tesfa Wondemageghnehu decided to add a tribute to the iconic artist to the program.

CBS2’s Amber Lee spoke to them and some of the choir members about the last-minute, but inspired, choice.

Wondemageghnehu said, “We turn to music in time of need and moments like these really speak and we can all connect through song.”

Member of the choir and Rosemead High School student Louis Castor said, “It was quite surprising. I’m in honor choir, they didn’t inform us either. And when the director brought it out, we were like, oh…this is cool.”

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Within minutes, the choir knew the words to the iconic song and were in completely harmony.

“It was beautiful, beautiful, I enjoyed it a lot,” said 9th grader Hebraw Richardson.

They did a most lovely rendition of the song, Lee reported — especially considering none of these students were even born when the song first became a hit in the early 80s.

“To know that these kids, who were not born, not even close to being born, when ‘Purple Rain’ was written, that they can still relate to it and still sing it and pour their hearts into it, that’s amazing,” said Gershon.

Organizers said the choir festival is one of the region’s longest-running music education programs, and includes students from nearly every Southland school district.

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