UV To Hold 1st Annual Pastor Sandra (Sandy) Johnson Theatrical Festival

As part of its 1st Annual Pastor Sandra (Sandy) Johnson Theatrical Festival, Unified Voices of Johns Hopkins (UV) will present Ursula V. Battle’s DisChord in The Choir: Pitch Please! The performances will take place Saturday, June 22, 2019 (2 p.m. & 7 p.m.); and Sunday, June 23, 2019 (5 p.m.) in Turner Auditorium, located in the Johns Hopkins Turner Building, 720 Rutland Ave., Baltimore, Maryland 21205.


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DisChord in The Choir: Pitch Please! writer Ursula V. Battle and director Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch.

The gospel stage play is being directed by Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch (Theatrical), and Howard “Buddy” Lakins (Musical). Baltimore gospel singing trio Serenity will be performing in the production, which returns by popular demand.

The presentation is also part of UV’s 25th Anniversary Calendar of Events, which also includes the “25th Anniversary Concert” being held May 19, 2019. DisChord in The Choir: Pitch Please! is in loving tribute to the late Pastor Sandra (Sandy) Johnson, founder of Fresh Water Ministries, and a longtime member of UV. Johnson passed away on June 23, 2017. The beloved pastor was a member of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Pastoral Staff, and her many community outreach efforts included organizing Cease Fire marches in an effort to help stop violence.

“We are excited and honored to present The First Annual Sandy Johnson Theatrical Festival,” said Dr. Branch, who also serves as Executive Director of UV. “The Theater Festival is being presented in commemoration of UV’s 25th Anniversary and in memory of the late Rev. Sandy Johnson. Many knew her as a Women of The Cloth and a motivational speaker, but she was also a creative, talented, and inspirational singer and actress.”

He added, “The Festival also takes place during the time of Sandy’s birthday on August 11. We are asking everyone to come out and pay homage to this remarkable woman by supporting the Theatrical Festival and the Anniversary Concert, while also celebrating 25 years of UV’s great work of spreading hope, health, and healing through harmony at Hopkins. Through this presentation, people can expect to laugh, cry, and most of all, to be uplifted as Hopkins turns into the Hippodrome.”


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Dr. Branch and gospel group Serenity, who will be performing.

DisChord in The Choir: Pitch Please! is inclusive of soul-stirring singing, side-splitting comedy, gripping drama, and powerful ministry. The musical’s riveting storyline centers around the dramatic chain of events which follows the sudden death of The United in Victory Tabernacle on the Hill Freewill Baptist Catholic and Episcopal Church of God’s longtime musician, “Dr. William Nelson Madison, III”.

The production also touches on addiction – particularly the struggle of a youngster named “Junior Jacobs” who becomes addicted to crack cocaine after running with the wrong crowd. Through ministry and song, this production illustrates how we can overcome addiction. DisChord in The Choir: Pitch Please! features a powerful cadre of some of Baltimore’s most talented musicians, singers, actors, actresses, and other performers.

Ursula V. Battle’s “DisChord in The Choir” was last presented at Hopkins in 2015, and drew sell-out audiences and rave reviews. The reprised production – DisChord in The Choir: Pitch Please! returns with several original cast members along with many new faces and even more hilarious, unforgettable characters.


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Leonard Stepney, Jr. returns as the charismatic preacher “Pastor Wright Just”.

Founded in 1993, UV is a gospel choir that consists of a diverse group of individuals with different personalities, lifestyles, and backgrounds working together to bridge the gap between the medical institution and the historic East Baltimore community.

Dr. Branch has directed numerous productions including The Wiz and A Raisin in The Sun. He also serves as Director of Health and Human Services for Baltimore County. Playwright Ursula V. Battle is a journalist, Public Relations professional, and CEO of Battle Stage Plays.

DisChord in The Choir: Pitch Please! is the latest work by Battle to be presented by UV and directed by Dr. Branch. Other productions include Ursula V. Battle’s The Teachers’ Lounge, Serenity House: From Addiction to Deliverance, FOR BETTER OR WOR$E and My Big Phat Ghetto FABULE$$ Wedding.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. To purchase tickets or for more information call Unified Voices at (410) 955-8888, or visit www.unifiedvoices.com. You can also call Battle Stage Plays at (443) 531-4787 or visit www.battlestageplays.com.