Let the Good Times Roll

Amazing Grace

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Chile’

Steal Away

Happiness is a Thing Called Joe
Verlin Sandles

God Bless The Child
Kathi Mills

It Don’t Mean A Thing
April Wright

Tradewinds
Verlin Sandles

Happiness is a Thing Called Joe

Verlin Sandles

God Bless The Child

Kathi Mills

It Don’t Mean a Thing

April Wright

Tradewinds

Verlin Sandles

Before I Let Go

Intermission

Really Gonna Miss You

Jerald Stroughter

Really Gonna Miss You
Jerald Stroughter

Oooh Chile

I’ll Survive
Kathi Mills

I’m Every Woman
Kathi Mills

Proud Mary
April Wright

I’ll Survive

Kathi Mills

I’m Every Woman

Kathi Mills

Proud Mary

April Wright

Hymn Medley

Jesus Can Work it Out

April Wright

Jesus Can Work It Out
April Wright

Cast & Crew

April Wright

April M. Wright, a native of Richmond, California began singing at the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church at 8 years of age. Since then, April’s sung, lectured and directed choirs locally and internationally. April has directed several choirs in the Northern California region including the California State Baptist Convention; Northern California Chapter, GMWA; the historic Bethel A.M.E. Church and Third Baptist Church of S.F.

April first appeared on stage when she was cast in David Leonard’s adaptation of Little Shop of Horrors and more recently, appeared in the 2018 production of The Dearly Departed. The 2016 production of Crowns and the 2015 production of The Dearly Departed.  In 2011 April won the Arty for Best Supporting Actress as Aunt Em/Glenda in the Musical Category for The Wiz and in 2010 she won the Arty for Best Lead Actress in the Musical Category as Mother Shaw in the Crowns. In 2007 and 2008 April performed with the famed Lorraine Hansberry Theatre of San Francisco, CA in Stanley Williams’ adaptation of Langston Hughes’, The Black Nativity.  In June of 2000, April was a guest speaker at the Multicultural Peace Education Seminar held in Cairo, Egypt, and has been a guest clinician for Grammy Career Day.

In 2017 and 2018 April’s production company Symphony Enterprises, premiered her music review, “Chicken, Chitlins and Caviar,” a musical journey through African American culture.

Some of April’s recording credits include:

  • April Wright- “Just April”
  • Claybon Lea, Jr.- “It’s About Time”
  • D.R. Curry Memorial Choir- Jackson, MS
  • Northern California Chapter, GMWA “Wait” and “Created for Worship”
  • “Northern California Chapter with Dorothy Norwood”
  • G.M.W.A. National Mass Choir

April attended Jackson State University in Jackson, MS and subsequently received her Bachelor of Arts degree from The Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH. She has done continuing education at UCLA School of Business, Los Angeles, CA; and Laney College, Oakland, CA.

April continues to perfect her gift of music and has studied under the tutelage of Mrs. Ruby Pleasure and the late Dr. Beulah Forbes-Woodard of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her voice is a unique blend of classical, traditional and contemporary gospel music, which gives her broad audience appeal.

April can be heard each Saturday morning from 6am until 9am Pacific on KPFA 94.1FM or www.kpfa.org as the host of “The Gospel Experience.”

Verlin Sandles

Verlin Sandles has been singing since the tender age of five. She studied music specializing in vocal, choral, and directing at San Francisco State University and studied privately with Mr. Rue Knapp, Mr. George Davis and Roland Wyatt of San Francisco.

She has appeared as soloist and performer with jazz immortal Jon Hendricks in the smash musical hit play “The Evolution of the Blues,” which played at the On Broadway Theater in San Francisco where she received raving reviews from many of the leading newspapers and critics. Her international travel includes United Arab Emirates, Germany, Paris, Switzerland and Belgium where she performed for a Black History Program at NATO Headquarters. While traveling throughout the United States, Mrs. Verlin has appeared in many concerts on radio and television, before civic and special groups, two National Baptist Conventions, and has even performed the national anthem at major sporting events.

Verlin’s recording credits include:

  • He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Needs/It’s Alright
  • Praising Together (Just When I Need Him Most)
  • I Give My All, GMWA Live in Philadelphia
  • I’ll Be Happy In the Midst of the Lord
  • Trade Winds
  • God is Everywhere
  • Don’t Quit (GISIC)
  • God is Still in Control

You can find her on Sunday mornings at her local church where she does it all – Singer, Director, Chorographer, Minister of Music or visiting the local churches, District and State Associations. Her Music Ministry includes conducting local music workshops where she demonstrates vocal control, voice, and presentation to young vocalist eager to learn.

Kathi Mills

Kathi Rachea Mills affectionately known as Lady Kathi was, born and raised in Gary, Indiana to Pastor Jesse and Evangelist Norma Phai Mills (both deceased).  She began singing at the early age of 8 with her three brothers, Jeffrey, Ronny (deceased) and Eric until the age of 17. She and her family later moved to Oakland, CA in 1983, where she graduated from Castlemont High School, was a Castleleer and led her first school song I Need to Pray. Kathi’s passion is writing lyrics to music, writing poetry, typing and creating. She also has her own secretarial business, titled Lady Kathi’s Creations. Kathi’s singing career finally began when she joined Peace Gospel Choir. She is currently a solo artist that sings for weddings, anniversaries, funerals, programs, dining establishments and much more.

She has released (2) R&B singles Love Dove Kind of Love & Tailor Made, which can be found under her middle name by Rachea [Ra-Shay], (2) Gospel albums, How Great Thou Art and I’ve Gotta Rejoice, released (2) Gospel singles Forever Forgiven and The Waiting Is Worth It (inspired by her late mother who wrote a poetry pamphlet title “Why… Because He Cares”). She is currently in the studio working on a full album.

She has performed with such artists as:

  • Glenda Benevides
  • Michael Nelson
  • Allowyn N. Price and Friends
  • Ronny Mills Ministries
  • Rev. Yvette Flunder and the City of Refuge Praise Team
  • Peace Gospel Choir
  • Timothy Davis
  • Deborah Wright and Ministry
  • Rap artist MC Spirit.

Kathi has appeared in the following theatrical productions:

  • Historical Hoover Theatre – Playful People Production – Footloose
  • Lorraine Hansberry TheatreSoulful Christmas
  • San Jose Music Theatre – $10k Singing Audition Competition
  • Someday “SHE” Music ProductionA Good Ole’ Praise
  • Paramount TheaterYour Arms Are Too Short to Box With God
  • Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Kathi is a member of Word Assembly, Tracy, CA where Bishop Johnnie Clark, Jr. is pastor and also serves as a worship singer for St. Matthews Bapt. Church, Livermore, CA.

Jerald Stroughter

Jerald A. Stroughter, Sr. was born in Chicago and moved to San Francisco as a young child. He loved music and taught himself to play drums as a child. In high school Jerald studied music theory and played in the school band. At 16, he became a professional drummer playing in the jazz circuit traveling up and down the West Coast. By 20, he had begun traveling, singing and playing with gospel bands and spent time working with theater companies.

Jerald began producing, writing and recording in the Bay Area and has traveled with R&B bands on the casino circuit and local Bay Area bands to refine his smooth tenor and baritone vocals. The Touch of Velvet provides Jerald the opportunity to showcase his entertainment experience into a high energy show.

Christopher Frazier

Christopher Frazier born in Oklahoma City, OK watched music videos and listened to the radio endlessly with dreams of being a dancer but wasn’t quite sure how to even begin. He began studying classical clarinet at the age of 10 and after high school where he was a drum major for Southeast High School for two-years, he entered university as a music major and subsequently changed to dance performance.

Christopher is an international model, hip hop/ jazz dancer and has appeared in national commercials such as H&R Block which played during Super Bowl ??. He has worked in television and movies including Divorce Court, Book of Sean Foxsoul, Legendary, Season 3 and Good Trouble. He most recently, finished a successful season in the theatrical production of The Lion King for Disneyland, Los Angeles and will appear in an upcoming Hulu series, Dance Double.

Christopher is a graduate of University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Modern Dance Performance. He has studied under Cleo Parker Robinson, Lula Washington, Robin Pasternak, Derick Mentor and with Alvin Ailey Summer Camp.

Synonymous with professionalism and creativity, Christopher states, he will continue to travel the world and “be the star my mother always saw and knew!”

The Band

Benton Smith
Musical Director/Keyboardist

Nate Pitts
Bassist

George Jackson
Drummer

Charles Spikes
Guitarist

Angelo Luster
Tenor Saxophonist

Benton Smith

Musical Director/Keyboardist

Nate Pitts

Bassist

George Jackson

Drummer

Charles Spikes

Guitarist

Angelo Luster

Tenor Saxophonist

Background Vocalists

Nona Brown

Mark Brown

Patrick Sturgis

Nona Brown

Mark Brown

Patrick Sturgis

Dancers

Christopher Frazier

Deiana Vinluan

Christopher Frazier

Deiana Vinluan

Production Team

Terrence Ivory
Theatrical Director

Christopher Frazier
Coreographer

Stephanie Johnson
Lighting Designer

Carlotta Williams
Stage Manager

Norma Ward
Asst. Stage Manager

Eric Wright, Sr.
Production Assistant

Felicia Scruggs
Tiara Scruggs
Merchandise

Kwansah Madani
Graphic & Digital Design

Marie Mayne
Voiceover Artist

Nicole Kiley
Marketing

Terrence Ivory

Theatrical Director

Christopher Frazier

Choreographer

Stephanie Johnson

Lighting Designer

Carlotta Williams

Stage Manager

Norma Ward

Asst. Stage Manager

Eric Wright, Sr.

Production Assistant

Felicia Scruggs/Tiara Scruggs

Merchandise

Kwansah Madani

Graphic & Digital Design

Marie Mayne

Voiceover Artist

Nicole Kiley

Marketing

Special thanks to Rev. Dr. Ronald Burris and the Temple Baptist Church family of Richmond, CA for your immense generosity. We are forever grateful to you for opening your arms and doors.