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Collection memorializing Tulsa musician Ernie Fields Sr. donated to Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture

From Staff Reports Published: March 8, 2013

Ernie Fields Jr. followed his father into the music business and played saxophone with the band when he was young. After graduating from Tulsa Booker T. Washington High School, he served in the Army and went to college before returning to Tulsa to begin his music career. Fields Jr. has been the music contractor since 2008 for “American Idol” and several other television shows, where he is responsible for hiring musicians to perform in house bands and musical productions. He also has played with diverse artists such as Lyle Lovett, Blake Shelton and French pop legend Johnny Hallyday, as well as legends of R&B and jazz including Bobby “Blue” Bland, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Rick James and Marvin Gaye.

The planned OKPOP Museum continues to collect important stories from Oklahomans in popular culture.

“It is critical that we collect, preserve and share these objects and stories,” said Jeff Moore, project director for the OKPOP Museum, in the news release. “Oklahomans have made significant contributions to popular culture worldwide. If the OKPOP doesn't bring these collections to Oklahoma, they will be donated to or acquired by institutions in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and Cleveland.”

Previous donations to the OKPOP related to Bob Wills and Leon Russell were announced in the past year.

“If the Oklahoma Historical Society wasn't developing the OKPOP Museum, the Bob Wills and the Leon Russell collections would not be coming back to Oklahoma,” Moore said.

The Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture, being developed by the Oklahoma Historical Society, will be located in the Brady Arts District of Tulsa with the approval of a $42.5 million bond issue. The 75,000-square-foot, four-story building will be dedicated to the creative spirit of Oklahoma's people and the influence of Oklahoma artists on popular culture around the world. The museum will collect artifacts, archival materials, film and video and audio recordings that reflect Oklahoma's influence nationally and internationally.