Tyler Suarez

Tyler Suarez was 13-years-old years old when his aunt Dawn Hochsprung, the former principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, was killed trying to save students from a school shooter.

Reeling in shattered disbelief on the night before Hochsprung’s funeral, Suarez recalls how he and his grandfather, Joseph Cyr, began writing a song to help them both “try and understand what happened.”

“I remember being in a hotel room, not knowing what else to do but cry. We started scribbling ideas on napkins and notebook pages,” said Suarez, who began playing the guitar when he was 4 and who is now a 19-year-old music education major at the University of Bridgeport. “That not only helped bring my family together in a time of despair but led to the creation of “Little Princess,” the song that I feel continues my Aunt Dawn’s legacy.”

Nearly six years following the Sandy Hook shooting, Suarez is about to share his song with the world to serve a larger purpose: fighting gun violence.

On Friday, October 5, 2018, “Little Princess” will drop on an 11-track album called Raise Your Voice! The Sound of Student Protest.

Released by the non-profit Little Village Foundation, The Sound of Student Protest features Suarez’s song along with a selection of pieces written and performed by students from Parkland, FL, and other parts of the country in response to school shootings.

Then on Sunday, October 7, Suarez will join other students on the album in San Francisco for live performance of “Little Princess” at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

“For anyone, losing anyone in their life, regardless of how that happens, is a traumatic event. You can stay remorseful or you can take that power you feel in your voice and use it for change.” — Tyler Suarez

Proceeds from the album will support the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety organization.

In an early review, Billboard music critic Gil Kaufman said Raise Your Voices gives students “an opportunity to have their voices out there and to encourage other students to rise up. These students just want to keep our schools safe, and we feel this music will have the potential to strike at what’s going on in America.”

Even before his song became part of a national call to end gun violence, Suarez independently recorded the song for his family’s private enjoyment and healing.

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203)576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu