September 8, 2010
Camp Washington-Carver will present its second evening of musical entertainment entitled “Music in the Mountains” featuring Ethel Caffie-Austin on Saturday, Sept. 18. The one-hour concert will take place in the Great Chestnut Lodge at 6 p.m. The performance is free and the public is invited to attend.
Caffie-Austin of Dunbar is known as West Virginia’s “First Lady of Gospel Music.” A native of Mount Hope, 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, Caffie-Austin 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 projects, and has performed at festivals across the country and in Europe.
Caffie-Austin is in demand as a clinician and often presents gospel workshops in conjunction with the annual Vandalia Gathering held at the Culture Center and State Capitol grounds each Memorial Day weekend. She founded the Black Sacred Music Festival at West Virginia State University in Institute and has several recordings and an instructional videotape to her credit. Caffie-Austin 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.” She was the 26th recipient of the Vandalia Award, West Virginia’s highest folklife honor, in 2006.
Caffie-Austin graduated from West Virginia Technical College in Montgomery, taught school in the state for 20 years, and in 1997, received an honorary doctorate from Davis & Elkins College in Elkins.
For more information about the free concert, contact Jennifer Sharp, cultural program specialist, at (304) 558-0220, ext. 171.
A beautiful retreat listed in the National Register of Historic Places and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Camp Washington-Carver serves as the state’s mountain cultural arts center. The facility nurtures the cultural heritage embodied in the site since its dedication in 1942 as a 4-H and agricultural extension camp for West Virginia’s African Americans. The camp is located in Fayette County adjacent to Babcock State Park, just off Rt. 60 (Midland Trail) on Rt. 41.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Culture Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Culture Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.