STAFF AND LEADERSHIP
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
James Wilkinson, Chair
James Wilkinson has a background in the arts, journalism, and urban planning.
He works on environmental, social equity, and land use planning issues for Skeo,
an environmental consulting company in Charlottesville. A long-time city resident,
he is an avid supporter of local music outreach and education, with a particular
interest in exploring the region’s cultural heritage. He plays guitar in The Front
Porch Bluegrass Band and is also taking mandolin lessons at The Front Porch.
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.
Dhara Goradia, Secretary
Dhara Goradia grew up in Charlottesville, where she was part of the award-
winning Albemarle High School Jazz Ensemble. She went on to play in the
University of Virginia Jazz Ensemble and several small jazz combos led by John
D’earth, performed with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Terence Blanchard, Dave Liebman,
Branford Marsalis, and Ritchie Cole, and later attended Berklee College of Music.
Dhara now leads local world/jazz/fusion band Quiet Fire and west coast trio
Emerald Flame. In addition to a busy life as a professional musician, Dhara holds
a degree in Architecture and works as a designer for Bushman Dreyfus
David Cathcart, Treasurer
David Cathcart is a businessman with over 35 years of experience. As a partner
in the New Jersey-based firm Schieren Associates, he was responsible for the
financial oversight of a sales and product development business that averaged
$5 million in annual revenues. After moving to Charlottesville in 1999, he served
as Vice President of Development for Cathcart Properties, and managed a
portfolio of large-scale multi-family development projects in the area. Now retired,
David enjoys investing and supporting his favorite activities such as bluegrass
and traditional music.
Mandi Montgomery Smith, Board Member
Mandi Montgomery Smith is a partner in the Staunton law firm of
TimberlakeSmith. Her practice focuses on counseling and representing public
school divisions across Virginia about the issues that confront school boards,
educators, and administrators. Mandi has a deep love for music of all genres and
is frequently in the audience at concerts 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 the Washington and
Lee University School of Law.
Pete Vigour, Board Member
Pete Vigour, musician and music teacher, is a lifetime resident of central
Virginia. He works with The Field School and teaches music at Stacy’s Music
Shop and The Front Porch. He also plays with local bands Uncle Henry’s
Favorites and Zuzu’s Hot Five. Pete organizes jam sessions and musical events
through CFOOT (the Charlottesville Friends of Old-Time Music) and The Front
Porch. He lives in White Hall with his wife Ellen and enjoys hiking and camping.
John Frazee, Board Member
John Frazee and his family moved to Charlottesville in 2003. He is a UVA
graduate and a current employee of SNL, who first discovered old-time music via
Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music at WTJU. A mandolin student at
The Front Porch, he loves to make a joyful noise with family and friends
Joan Fenton, Board Member
Joan Fenton has a master’s in Folklore from UNC-Chapel Hill, is the founder of
Blues Week at the Augusta Heritage Workshop in Elkins, West Virginia, where
she continues to teach and serve as coordinator, and for many years hosted
blues and traditional music programs on public radio. She has four retail stores,
including J. Fenton Too and Quilts Unlimited/J. Fenton Gifts on Charlottesville’s
downtown mall. She is chair of the Downtown Business Association of
Charlottesville (DBAC) as well as serving on other boards.
Robinson Hubbard, Board member
Robinson Hubbard is an attorney, educator, and musician from Natural Bridge, Virginia. He grew up playing music from an early age and is currently part of the Charlottesville reggae band Positive Collective. Rob received his undergraduate degree in History from the University of Virginia. While at UVA, Rob performed in the UVA Jazz Ensemble and studied with John D’Earth, Pete Spaar and Robert Jospe, among others. Rob is a 2016 graduate of Washington & Lee University School of Law. Rob is currently an attorney at MartinWren, P.C., a Charlottesville civil litigation firm.
Chris DuBois, Board Member
Chris DuBois is a founding partner at Sticks Kebob Shops. Originally from New Jersey, Chris came to Virginia to attend the College of William and Mary and has remained in the Commonwealth since then. He enjoys spending time with his two sons and friends, listening to music of all kinds, and playing soccer and guitar.
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 Montessori school. Emily’s passion is helping
others express their innate creativity. Emily has a bachelor’s degree in English
and master’s degree in Education from The College of William and Mary.
Jess Knicely, Director of Operations
A native of Charlottesville, Jess is an old-time fiddler and a 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 and music.
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 has
experience in business development, marketing, design, merchandising, and art installation.
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 organized the music and arts festival, Jam Fish, for three consecutive years, supporting both local and regional acts. She is a certified Teaching Artist of MIMA Music. She is also a singer-songwriter and performs in the group Emily Julia Kresky and The Point.
Betsy Arlen, Communications Manager
The fact that music keeps us in the moment has been a brick in Betsy Arlen’s foundation. She came to Charlottesville in 2008 en route from Michigan, Ohio and upstate New York (Motown is her hometown). Betsy has been telling tales through maps and delivering information over the years and comes to the Front Porch most recently from the world of alternative energy. She is committed to the preservation of musical traditions within the community for future generations and is excited to share the story of The Front Porch with you.