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Being Prince: Purple Xperience front man Marshall Charloff channels a superstar

CHAMBERSBURG - “I never wanted to cause you any sorrow; I never meant to cause you any pain,”sings Prince in his hugely popular hit, “Purple Rain.” And yet, the musician inadvertently did just that to millions of fans who learned of his untimely death this past April.

Prince Rogers Nelson, who was known for his stage presence, his vocal range and his mastery of myriad musical instruments, passed away at the age of 57 in his Minneapolis home due to an accidental overdose of the prescription opioid Fentanyl. For the many who mourn him, his legacy lives on through his music, with bands like The Purple XPerience, who pay tribute to the legend who has been described as a musical genius.

For Prince fans seeking to spend an uplifting evening witnessing the pageantry of the pop icon, The Purple Xperience will be celebrating the life of the famed musician at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University tonight - Thursday, September 29.

The five-piece band, which will be taking the stage at 8 p.m., will perform many of the hits made famous by the master musician. The group, which hails from Prince’s home town of Minneapolis, will be led by Matt “Doctor” Fink, a three-time Grammy Award winner and original member of Prince and The Revolution. Fink worked with Prince from 1978 to 1991 and also co-wrote a number of songs with the artist, whom he calls his “mentor.” He will be joining front man Marshall Charloff and several of the best session players in the Twin Cities to entertain the audience with what has been described as “the most authentic re-creation of Prince and The Revolution in the world.”

Charloff not only bears a strong resemblance to the artist who once changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol during a dispute with Warner Bros., but he also shares Prince’s vocal range as well.

“We offer a suspension of belief; it’s like being transported,” said Charloff.  The band has been performing since 2011, but since Prince’s passing, performances have taken on a deeper meaning, according to Charloff. “In the song '1999,' Prince talks about how our time here is limited and that tomorrow isn’t promised,” he said.


What initially attracted the front man of The Purple XPerience was Prince’s remarkable body of work. “It’s mind-blowing,” said, Charloff, who also describes Prince as a “visual icon,” and channels the singer’s personal style during the shows, often changing outfits during performances.

Like so many others, Charloff marvels at the late musician’s incredible vocal range. “He can go from a Barry White bass, to an “off the charts” falsetto. Raspy, screaming, gritty, sensual—he’s all over the place." Charloff’s channeling of Prince is second nature these days. “He’s been such a huge influence on me that he just comes out, but I’m not consciously trying to emulate him now, I guess I really don’t think about it,” he said.

For concertgoers, Charloff promises a good time with others who share a common bond - a love for Prince and his music. “It’s a different show every night and it’s just not possible to get bored,” he said.

When you go:

What: Purple Xperience

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29

Where: H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University, 475 Lancaster Drive, Shippensburg

Tickets: $10-$14; call 717-477-SHOW, or visit