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This profile was last updated on 7/12/14  and contains information from public web pages.

Dr. Ethel Caffie-austin

Wrong Dr. Ethel Caffie-austin?

Employment History

  • Pianist, Vocalist
  • Minister of Music
    State of West Virginia
  • Pastor
    Rimson Memorial Church of God
  • Minister of Music
    West Virginia Jurisdiction of the Churches of God
  • Pianist, Singer
  • Homespun Tapes Ltd

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Founder
    Black Sacred Music Festival
  • Member
    Commission of Arts and Humanities


  • West Virginia Technical College
  • honorary doctorate
    Davis & Elkins College
  • bachelor of arts degree , language arts
    West Virginia Institute of Technology
  • honorary doctorate degree
    Davis & Elkins College
68 Total References
Web References
Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival Artist Faculty | Centrum, 12 July 2014 [cached]
Dr. Ethel Caffie-Austin of Dunbar, West Virginia's "First Lady of Gospel Music" grew up in a home steeped in African-American heritage and culture.
Centrum - Blues Workshop Faculty, 4 Jan 2007 [cached]
Ethel Caffie-Austin is a pianist, vocalist, choir leader, and educator who is steeped in the traditions and styles of the black church.She was born in Alabama as the granddaughter of a slave, so she is deeply rooted in the old songs that she has heard and sung since her childhood.She started to play the piano when she was only six years old and from the age of ten on she directed the choir at her father's church.Acclaimed as West Virginia's "First Lady of Gospel Music," she has been the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Humanity, West Virginia's Brotherhood Award, and many other prestigious honors.
Ethel Caffie-Austin (see bio, above), besides leading the gospel choir, will give a daily class on gospel-style piano.
Ethel ..., 3 July 2013 [cached]
Ethel Caffie-Austin
Mount Hope native Ethel Caffie-Austin is known as West Virginia's First Lady of Gospel Music. She earned this title after years of teaching, playing and performing gospel music in settings that range from prisons to the Smithsonian. Immersed in music as her father worked as pastor of the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ, she began playing piano at age 6 and directed her first choir at age 11. She has performed at numerous festivals in the United States and Europe. She founded the Black Sacred Music Festival at West Virginia State University, and she was appointed the Minister of Music for the State of West Virginia. She has recorded at least three CDs of her music, as well as being the subject of two documentary films and numerous magazines and newspaper articles. She recorded music for a Smithsonian Folkways project that was also featured on television. She regularly performs at the Augusta Festival in West Virginia and the Black Cultural Heritage Festival in Georgia.
live music, blues, soul, R&B, Shakedown Blues, Peterborough, UK, 9 April 2014 [cached]
Ethel Caffie-Austin with Delnora Roberts live music, blues, soul, R&B, Shakedown Blues, Peterborough, UK
Ethel Caffie-Austin with Delnora RobertsEthel Caffie-Austin was born on the 11th February 1949 in Bluefield, West Virginia and grew up close to Montgomery. Her father was the Pastor of the local Pentecostal Church of God in Christ and she was immersed in church music before she could walk. At the age of three she began singing with the choir and three years later took up playing the piano. When she was ten she started conducting the choir and at fourteen she assembled the first Pentecostal Church of God in Christ 'Mass Choir' of West Virginia with singers from ten parishes. Since then this has grown into the 'Mass Choir' of West Virginia State and she herself has been appointed the Minister of Music for the State of West Virginia. It was after the death of Mahalia Jackson that she became known as the 'First Lady of Gospel Music' and has since traveled extensively with both her choir and her group. The latter is made up of members of the choir and fluctuates from a duo to a sextet depending upon the venue.
She regularly appears at gospel, jazz and folk festivals throughout the States, Canada and Europe but is particularly fond of appearing at the prestigious Augusta, Atlanta 'Black Cultural Heritage Festival' where she has become a fixture. She has recorded three CD's, two for her own Kobie Label; 'From Generation to Generation' and 'Christ is Back' and one for the Swiss Blueshouse imprint. The latter was used to promote a Swiss Blues/Gospel festival and is as rare as hen's teeth. She also recorded a couple of tracks for Smithsonian/Folkways, which were released on a gospel compilation and featured on the Paul Jones' show last year. Two TV documentaries have been made about her work and in 1995 she became a member of the Commission of Arts and Humanities.
Voiceworks Workshop Faculty - Voice Works at Centrum, 28 Dec 2010 [cached]
Ethel Caffie-Austin
Known as West Virginia's "First Lady of Gospel Music," the gifted Ethel Caffie-Austin is a pianist, singer, choir leader and educator. With a big, passionate voice and mighty two-fisted piano style, Ethel Caffie-Austin drives her home gospel train with a fiery intensity and élan. The daughter of a Pentecostal minister, Caffie-Austin was born in Alabama and raised in Mount Hope, West Virginia, in the heart of the coalfields. Among the songs and stories passed on to her by her family and neighbors were veiled references to the Underground Railroad, and the community's participation as a way station on the road north to freedom.
Ethel began playing piano at the age of 6, started accompanying church services when she was 9, and directed her first church choir at the age of 11. She began directing choirs for the Churches of God in Christ when she was 14, and has been active in that church ever since. Today, she serves as the pastor of Rimson Memorial Church of God in Christ in Charleston, and Minister of Music of the West Virginia Jurisdiction of the Churches of God in Christ. Outside of the church, Ethel received a teaching degree in Language Arts from the West Virginia Institute of Technology, and, several years later, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Arts degree from that institution. In addition, Caffie-Austin has received a number of other awards, including the Jefferson Award for Humanity and West Virginia's Brotherhood Award. She has appeared on public radio's Mountain Stage, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. She has taught numerous vocal and piano workshops in the United States and Europe, where she incorporates spirituals and other pre-gospel styles into her presentations in order to expose people to the wide range of African American sacred music.
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