Elle King surprises beloved Tulsa teacher during local tour stop

Her A-Freakin-Men Tour is underway

Elle King couldn’t wait to graduate high school so she could focus full-time on her music career. But when she read a letter recently from Chouteau High School senior student, Emma Hughes, praising her teacher, Cathy Welker-Graham, who is an avid fan of the singer and Chouteau High’s teacher of the year, she knew it was time to revisit the classroom.

Before her show in Tulsa on Friday (Mar 24th) during her headlining A-Freakin-Men Tour, King and her guitarist completely surprised the student who sent the email, her favorite teacher and the entire student body when they marched through the school into her classroom where King praised Welker-Graham calling her “America’s Sweetheart” before performing the hit song with that title to a room full of students, faculty and administrators.

“I didn’t always have the greatest experience in school,” laughed King. “But every few schools I would find a teacher who believed in me, and it gave me confidence and they told me that I could do something great with my life even if I was different. So I think that great teachers should be celebrated. It was important to me that we show this deserving teacher some well-earned gratitude.”

Chouteau High School Principal Clint Hall, who helped to coordinate the surprise said, “As educators, this is why we do what we do. We are here to make positive impacts on our students. It took a lot for me to keep a lid on this. Mrs. Welker-Graham is a rockstar teacher and Emma is a great kid! It could not have come together for two better people. This was priceless! Tears of joy from a lot of people today!”

Following her school day, King traveled to The Church Studio where she and her band recorded a new song. The legendary Church Studio was built as a church in 1915 and was purchased in 1972 by music pioneer Leon Russell, who converted it into a world-renowned recording studio that is cited as being the heart of the “Tulsa Sound.”

King’s sold out show at Cain’s Ballroom, that included honored guests Welker-Graham, Hughes and Hall from Chouteau High School, showcased her multi-genre hits plus songs from her new album Come Get Your Wife. One of those songs is “Tulsa.” While Tulsa has been named checked in many country songs, this is the first time it’s recognized for its spelling in reverse.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com