West Virginia's "First Lady of Gospel Music" scheduled to perform April 3

Release Date: 3/10/2014

Renowned pianist, vocalist and educator Dr. Ethel Caffie-Austin will perform a concert at University of the Ozarks at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 3, in Munger Memorial Chapel.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University's 2013-2014 Walton Arts & Ideas Series.

A native of Mount Hope, West Virginia, Caffie-Austin is known as that state's "First Lady of Gospel Music."  

She began playing piano at the age of six, started accompanying church services at nine and directed her first choir at age 11. Throughout her life, she has carried on a rich tradition of African-American gospel singing, piano playing and worship. She has taken her music and ministry into prisons, schools and government housing projects, and has performed at festivals across the country and in Europe. She also is in demand as a clinician and often presents gospel workshops in conjunction with the Vandalia Gathering.

Caffie-Austin founded the Black Sacred Music Festival at West Virginia State University in Institute and has several recordings and an instructional videos to her credit. She was the subject of a 1999 documentary film entitled "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" and a 1997 Goldenseal magazine article, "Hand-Clapping and Hallelujahs: A Visit with Ethel Caffie-Austin."

In her instructional videos, Caffie-Austin performs such hymns and spirituals as "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Standing in the Need of Prayer," "Angels Keep Watching Over Me," "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus," "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," "Show Me The Way," "Study War No More," "Jesus is on the Mainline," and "Amazing Grace."

For more information on the concert, please contact the University at 479-979-1349.