Skip to main content

Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music is in the process of establishing the Francis “Rocco” Prestia Bass Scholarship in honor of the late Tower of Power bass icon. Organized by Berklee Artist Relations guru Barbara Thomas, the effort has the help and support of Rocco’s longtime manager, Jack Forchette and Rocco’s close friend, Mick McEntee. Also part of the team are Rocco pals Mike Connolly, founder and President of MJC Ironworks strings and Jeff Moore, Senior Vice President of ESP Guitars and Basses. Connolly will be releasing a commemorative set of Rocco Prestia strings, and Moore will be selling ESP’s stock of Rocco’s LTD RB Series Signature Basses, with proceeds from both going to the scholarship fund. Thomas, also a close friend of Rocco’s, shared her thoughts and details about the scholarship:

On September 29, 2020, the world lost one of the greatest bass players of all time. I personally lost a special friend of 30+ years.

Francis “Rocco” Prestia shared his gifts and talents worldwide as the premier bassist with one of my all-time favorite bands Tower of Power. If you’re a Tower of Power fan, then you know all about Rocco’s signature sound. His iconic style of playing amazed bass pros, enthusiasts and "wannabes."

For many years, I had the honor of inviting Rocco to the Berklee College of Music as part of several visiting artist series. In these settings, Rocco would spend hours demonstrating his unique playing style in clinics and masterclasses and performing with students and faculty members. He spent time answering countless questions about his technique and how he developed it. I loved the fact that he always made our students feel confident about their own musicianship. He encouraged them to stay focused to reach their full potential. He also shared with students, staff and faculty about his personal and private journey as an artist and beyond.

I am certain the time that Rocco spent at Berklee made him happy. He was our esteemed visiting artist that students could not wait to interact with and learn from. He was in his element. He was his raw, organic, feisty self! He had become a “patient” and giving educator and found joy in doing so.

Because Rocco was special to the Berklee family, the Francis “Rocco” Prestia Bass Scholarship is being established to honor his legacy. The scholarship will benefit deserving Berklee students whose principal instrument is the bass.

Donors can designate their contributions to the Francis “Rocco” Prestia Bass Scholarship here:

Click on:
Scroll down to the GIVE NOW icon
Click on “Online”
Click on: “Online Donation Form”
Choose the amount
Choose the payment type
Choose “One Time” (or choose from the drop down menu other for other options)
Click on “Choose your donation”
Scroll down to Francis “Rocco” Prestia Bass Scholarship

For those who want to make contributions by check, please mail it to:

Berklee College of Music

Attn: Quan Yao Lim

Office of Institutional Advancement

1140 Boylston Street

Boston, MA 02215

Please share this wonderful news with the masses of people who love Rocco.

Musically, Barbara Thomas

Berklee College of Music

Music Production and Engineering Program Associate/Reach Out Initiative Artist Relations

For more information: