The Church Studio Welcomes Oklahoma State University Music Intern


Get to know Student Sadie Kane in her first Blog Post

BY: Sadie Kane

When I first contacted The Church Studio, I had no knowledge of the history that lies within the walls of the old building. I was unaware of the legendary musicians that had filled the historic chapel with their music that would eventually create a brand for the city of Tulsa. Growing up in Oklahoma City, the only “homegrown” artists I had known about were the likes of Carrie Underwood and Garth Brooks. Even with the information I have on the artists of Oklahoma, I was unaware of the musical energy that was embedded in Tulsa culture. All I was focused on was finding a suitable internship that would help me jump start my career in the music industry. I researched for what seemed like hours until I stumbled upon The Church Studio, and within a few minutes, I sent an email to Teresa Knox, the owner of the studio. 

I continued my search, not expecting a response from many, if any, of the places I had contacted. 

I started my internship with The Church Studio on July 23. It was established that since the studio was undergoing massive revitalization, I would be doing most of my work at the historic Harwelden Mansion, which is The Church Studio’s sister property. In order to fulfill my due diligence as a new intern, I researched the history of The Church Studio and Leon Russell, who originally converted the sacred 1915 church into a world-class studio. At the time, this was a man I had never heard of before. I am a faithful 70’s rock fan, so I was shocked to learn about an artist from that era that had slipped under my music radar. I began to read up on Russell and his contribution to the “Tulsa Sound.” I had heard the phrase thrown around loosely before, but never knew its true definition until I became involved with The Church Studio. Virtually anywhere you read about the birth of the Tulsa Sound, it describes the style as an amalgamation of country, blues, folk, and rock. This description is barely the tip of the iceberg on the history of Tulsa music. 

As a musician, I was immediately enthralled with everything I learned about Leon Russell. When I left my first day as an intern, the first thing I did when I got in my car was listen to “A Song for You”, which is Russell’s most popular hit. My jaw actually dropped. The song began with an incredibly lovely piano solo, followed by Russell’s low, sulky tone, and rich vibrato. One song after the other, I got an idea of what his personal sound was like. What a beautiful example of an Oklahoma musician, I thought to myself. Was this what everyone meant by “Tulsa Sound”? 




Sadie Kane Gronigan is an Oklahoma native studying Music Industry at Oklahoma State University. She is a trained musician, writer, and an intern for The Church Studio in Tulsa, OK. She is a motivated newcomer to the music industry with special interests in music history, studio recording, and music journalism. After graduating in December of 2019, she plans to further pursue her career in the music industry by exploring the recording and journalism side of the industry, while also nurturing her passion in opera and classical music.

Teresa Knox

Teresa Knox

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  1. Karen J Guilliams on August 22, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    That was a great post Sadie. Great musicians know to write or play so others can feel the emotion. You are feeling it. Thanks

  2. Steve Ball on August 24, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Enjoyed your well written post Sadie. I believe you have a bright future ahead. Best of luck to you . I look forward to reading more of your posts

  3. Jim Barton on August 25, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    Good luck Sadie!..I lived in Tulsa for several years and have many musician friends in Tulsa..Some of them played with Leon Russell,Eric Clapton & JJ Cale..My great uncle John Faulkner is in the Ok. State Track & Field Hall Of Fame..Hope you enjoy your time in Tulsa!

  4. Lanette Giese on December 1, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Love the inspiration Sadie, I’m sorry I’m just now seeing this. You were blessed to find the BEST place IMHO to help you gather your experiences, sharpen your journalist pencil & work w/ & around THE best music people in OK! Good luck on all your projects & enjoy learning about the Master of Space & Time A~Z & everything in between.
    I grew up in Tulsa in the shadow of MANY musicians that were either school friends or just people we all saw make their way thru the years playing Tulsa & beyond. Now all these later they’re the “old guys or gals” making the Tulsa area the place to be for live music &/or recording their talents. Teresa & Ivan & all the people developing Tulsa Row into a destination have my heartfelt admiration & undying support.

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