Legacy Musician Ineze Cordelia Caston was born in Jackson, Mississippi, where her love for music began. At the age of six she was repeating the 23rd Psalm and singing “Yes Jesus Loves Me” at community churches. It all began at Mt. Helen Baptist Church, at the corner of Church and Grayson streets in Jackson, Mississippi.
Her friend’s uncle was a Deacon and anytime they went to church, she went. She was fascinated by the music. All week she would sing the hymns and play her improvised piano (a chair). Her mother, living in Riverside, California, made arrangements for her piano lessons. It was the joy of her life, practicing in the parlor of her friend’s aunt, Gustava Mason, who became her teacher.
Upon moving to Riverside, she studied under Newell Parker, noted organist of the Mission Inn. She immediately became active in the music of her father’s church. Shortly thereafter, the music director moved to Chicago in order to sing with Thomas A. Darcy (Dorsey?). At the age of twelve she began playing for the church. She continued studying with Newell Parker until she finished junior college. Mrs. Caston earned her degree from Chicago Music College.
As First Lady of Trinity Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California, Mrs. Caston applied her inexhaustible work ethic, love, and commitment in numerous projects, including service as Superintendent of the Beginner’s Department of the church school. She became active in the Missionary Society, the Organ Guild, pianist and organist for the Cathedral Choir. She taught a sight-reading class, organized and directed the Children’s Choir and the Celestial Choristers, besides directing the I neze C. Caston Gospel Chorus (1952 - 2004).
She also found time to do graduate work at Cal State in Early Childhood Development, and later taught HeadStart for six years. She became Director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program for eight years. Mrs. Caston served sixteen years under four administrations as State Director of Music for the Western Baptist State Convention, besides serving as a board member for the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies and as coordinator for the Lamplighters, a woman’s auxiliary to the EC for BCS.
During her forty-nine productive years of service at Trinity Baptist Church, she served as Matron of the Henry M. Spears Chapter #79 OES PHRA, Grand Treasurer of Charities, Grand Treasurer and Grand Minister of Music of the Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Rite of Adoption.
She has received many accolades, citations, and awards. Among them her greatest pride was in cutting four sides and two LPs for Trinity’s Building Fund, receiving a platinum record for her LP ( One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism), and coordinating the work of Trinity as she served as Host for the first appearance in the black community by Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra with the Interdenominational Choir.
Mrs. Caston shared her talents as Director of the Sanctuary Choir of Messiah Baptist Church, as instructor at Santa Monica College, as instructor of Music in Christian Education for the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, and as organist for the Woman’s Auxiliary, National Baptist Convention, USA Inc.
Her papers are in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.