Johns Hopkins showcases talent to raise funds for United Way

A 'Perfect' performance by a band of musical nurses takes home the win in Hopkins' Got Talent

The fourth annual Hopkins' Got Talent fundraising event, held Dec. 11 in Turner Auditorium on the East Baltimore campus, delivered a heartfelt evening of music and song in support of the 2023 United Way campaign. The event—hosted by the Johns Hopkins Office of Government, Community, and Economic Partnerships (GCE) and represented on stage by Stephanie Banks, recruitment and referral manager for the Johns Hopkins Innovation Fund of Community Safety, and James Biernatowski, administrative specialist in Baltimore City Government and Community Affairs—raised $4,100 for the campaign.

The evening opened with remarks by Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland, who highlighted the power of human resilience and community. Baker served as a judge for the competition, along with Hosanna Asfaw-Means, GCE's director of community health investments across JHU and JHHS; and Mia Brooms, graduate education program administrator for the Whiting School's Office of Graduate Education and Lifelong Learning.

Video credit: Roy Henry / Johns Hopkins University

Taking the stage for an opportunity to win $500 for the nonprofit of their choice were three acts from across the university and health system: Vocal Alternative (signer Melissa McVaugh and musician Dawn Thompson), singer Asia Gilliam, and M.A.M.M.M.A., a musical band composed of Mae Maprangala (bass guitar), Avic Aquino (lead vocals), Michelle Villa (keyboards), Mhalen Camarao (drums), Maria Sanglay (acoustic guitar), and Anna Trinidad (lead guitar).

Vocal Alternative promotes diversity and inclusion in music by using sign language. McVaugh is the assistant director of Central Sterile Processing at Johns Hopkins Hospital; Thompson is her musical partner. They sang Hero by Enrique Iglesias as a tribute to the faculty and staff at Johns Hopkins for their tireless efforts each day.

Asia Gilliam, a financial analyst at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, enlivened the atmosphere with a performance of My Grown-Up Christmas List.

The final performance of the evening was M.A.M.M.M.A., an acronym of the members' first names. The band of registered nurses from multiple Johns Hopkins entities performed a rendition of Pink's Perfect.

Each performance brought the audience to their feet, and, after deliberating, the judges announced M.A.M.M.M.A as the winner.

The evening concluded with brief remarks from Lawanda Johnson, producer and coordinator of the JHU United Way campaign, who enthusiastically described the history of Hopkins' Got Talent and was presented with flowers.

To date, JHU has raised a collective $323,000 toward its goal of $550,000. The campaign ends Dec. 22.

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