Will Rogers High commemorates grand piano for Tulsa native Leon Russell


    Will Rogers High commemorates grand piano for Tulsa native Leon Russell

    TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- With Sir Elton John in town tonight, there was a tribute for someone today that inspired his music.

    An 82-year-old grand piano is getting dedicated to Tulsa native Leon Russell after being restored.

    Outside, cars lined the streets of Tulsa, not a space left to park, and inside the auditorium was the same scene.

    It was a packed full show of Leon Russell hits, all dedicated to the late musician who graduated from Will Rogers High School in 1959.

    Russell was a popular musician even when he was a student.

    Dick Risk was one of his classmates. Risk organized today’s tribute show, which focused on commemorating the grand piano on stage in honor of Russell.

    Russell used to play the 82-year-old piano during lunch way back when.

    Over the years, the piano became beat up.

    So, Risk and generous donors helped to restore the piano.

    More than $20,000 later, it’s back in tune.

    Jo Anne Lewis also helped put on the concert, sharing memories with alumni and listening to the local musicians on stage.

    She, like many, are hoping to catch a glimpse of Elton John.

    The legendary musician is in Tulsa today for his concert was invited to the high school.

    Unfortunately, while he didn’t show, Lewis says that doesn’t take away from what she considers an amazing turnout.

    Support for Russell whose legacy will forever be played on the keys of this piano.

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