STAFF AND LEADERSHIP
Angel Sands Gunn, Board Chair
Angel earned her Master’s in Arts Education and Administration at NewYork University and worked as the Marketing and Development Manager at The Creative Arts Team in New York City. Having studied Theater at Northwestern University as an undergraduate, she has taught drama for over ten years and helped found New Bridge Ensemble, an all-female theatre company dedicated to creating original work in her hometown of Memphis, TN. Angel also writes, and her work includes songs, plays, and fiction. Her writing has been published in various journals including Full Grown People, Literary Mama and Appalachian Heritage.
Cay Lee Ratliff, Vice Chair
Cay Lee has a background in education that includes teaching at the preschool, elementary and high school levels. She also has experience in a variety of other fields, including real estate, financial management, insurance, and higher education admissions. Cay Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in education administration, both from the University of Virginia. She currently resides in Charlottesville.
James Wilkinson, Secretary
James Wilkinson writes about environmental, social equity and land use planning issues for consulting company Skeo Solutions. He loves playing music and serves as secretary for The Front Porch.
David Cathcart, Treasurer
David Cathcart is a businessman with over 35 years of experience. As a partner in the firm Schieren Accociates, Ltd., based in New Jersey, he was responsible for the financial oversight of a sales and product development business that averaged $5 million in annual revenue. After moving to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1999, he, as Vice President of Development of Cathcart Properties, managed a portfolio of large-scale multifamily development projects in the Charlottesville area. Now retired, David enjoys investing and supporting his favorite activities such as bluegrass and traditional music.
Mandi Montgomery Smith is a partner in the Staunton, Virginia law firm of TimberlakeSmith. Her practice focuses on counseling and representing public school divisions throughout Virginia about the variety of issues that confront school boards, educators, and administrators. Not a musician or performer herself, Mandi has a deep love for music of all genres and is frequently in the audience of music shows and festivals around Virginia and elsewhere. She holds a bachelor of science in Agriculture and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech, and received her J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law.
Dhara Goradia, Board Member
Bassist, composer and band leader Dhara Goradia grew up in Charlottesville, VA, where she learned jazz at her junior high school in the jazz band starting on piano and electric bass before eventually dedicating herself to the upright bass at the age of 16. In 2011, Dhara attended Berklee College of Music on a scholarship, where she gained the invaluable experience of focusing on her musical development related to performance and composition, while also nurturing a passion for what she feels is one of the most powerful aspects of music — collaboration with her incredibly talented peers from across the globe. In addition to a busy life as a professional musician, Dhara also holds a formal degree in Architecture and is currently working as a designer for Bushman Dreyfus Architects.
Elliot Jennings, Board Member
Elliott Jennings is a certified Journeyman Farrier who moved to Charlottesville five years ago. He is currently studying for his BA in elementary education. Elliott’s love of traditional music began in his homeland of England where he enjoyed the traditional Irish Folk music of The Pougues and Dubliners. He is seldom without song and began playing banjo two years ago in an effort to expand his musical range and interest. In addition, Elliott is currently studying for the Associateship of the Worshipful Company of Farriers. Elliott has a passion for promoting and developing education in traditional arts and crafts.
Emily Morrison, Executive Director
Emily is a lifelong educator. Hailing from Ferrum, Virginia, she grew up in a family of musicians and educators in a region steeped in traditional music. She’s worn lots of hats since moving to Charlottesville to teach high school English in 2000, including founding and operating a summer day camp for children and directing a performing arts program at a pre-K – 8th grade Montessori school. Emily’s passion is in helping others express their innate creativity. Emily holds a B.A. in English and an MAED from The College of William and Mary.
Jess Knicely, Director of Operations
A native of Charlottesville, Jess is an Old Time fiddler, and freelance designer. She comes from a family steeped in mountain music tradition and harbors a deep passion for the sharing and preservation of traditional arts, music, and Appalachian culture. Jess has previously worked as a Media Archivist, specializing in Old Time music, for the Virginia Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Jess also holds experience in business development, marketing, design, merchandising, and art installation as a Senior Visual Manager and Acting District Visual Manager for the retailer Anthropologie.
Emily Kresky, Community Outreach Coordinator
After falling in love with music in her college years, Emily moved to Charlottesville in the winter of 2014 from New Jersey and dove headfirst into songwriting and the local music scene. She is a firm believer that musicianship is about connection and not competition and she is dedicated to being an active participant in strengthening and growing the Central Virginia music scene. Emily organizes an annual music and arts festival called Jam Fish that supports local and regional music. She is also a singer-songwriter and performs in various groups including Garst and Company and the folk duet, Together Soul.