The WC Press - Spring 2023

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Letter Editor from the

Kate Chadwick shares some personal insight into this month’s theme

When I was a child, my love of animals was so great that I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. I was on a first-name basis with every dog and cat in the neighborhood. I still am—can’t tell you the first name of the guy who lives behind me, but his golden retriever is Blossom. I attempted to save every flailing bug or butterfly I encountered, and I regularly begged my parents for a horse, about as reasonable a proposition as asking them for a million dollars.

Two things happened when I was 10: the first dog in our family passed away (my grandparents’ basset mix, Barry), and I read Little Women for the first time. Realizing that I couldn’t literally keep all the animals alive forever and that I might be Jo March, the career goal changed to writer. After a few detours, here we are.

I went through a “wanting to be a dancer” phase, too; ballet consumed me from age seven to 15. A poster of Mikhail Baryshnikov and his thousand-yard stare hung in my room, I watched The Nutcracker year-round, took out library books on ballet and yes—I took lessons. I was a very good dancer, but not a great one. “I could do this for a living!” never once crossed my mind. We can all be grateful for that.

This wasn’t the case with anyone I interviewed for our feature story on Brandywine Ballet. I spoke with the founder, a resident choreographer, and a dancer. Each of them knew at a very young age that this would be their path, and each wants to stay on it as long as they’re able. There is something approaching the divine at work there—not only knowing that you have a gift, but to put sharing that gift above all else. It’s what separates performer from audience.

Speaking of performances, mark your calendar for Porchfest! The borough will be alive with the sounds of music, with bands of all kinds playing on porches around town. “Live music outside” is one of my favorite harbingers of spring, and Kelly Murray breaks it all down for us.

Spring is also the season most associated with hope and new beginnings. To that end, Jesse Piersol takes us to visit two new businesses here in the borough, Pomp and Inspired Nails. She also introduces us to an impressive and compassionate WCU student organization that is raising funds for communities in South Africa. These kids today—they’re alright.

This spring, take advantage of all this wonderful town has to offer. Do yourself a favor and go watch someone dance, or make plans to dance in the streets yourself. Or, if you’re like me, take up ballet after a 40-year absence. As Brandywine Ballet’s Tommy Gant told me, it’s never too late.

Thank you for reading The WC Press.

The Press


Dan Mathers


Kate Chadwick


Nick Vecchio


Jesse Piersol

Danielle Davies

Kelly Murray


Erik Weber @westchesterviews


View more of his work at


Becca Boyd

Andrea Mason

DJ Romeo

Kate Chadwick

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The WC Press is a monthly magazine mailed to more than 3,000 homes throughout West Chester, as well as being dropped off to about 100 locations in and around the borough. For a free subscription — digital or mailed — visit

Worth Noting



Our no-nonsense table of contents

Tag our instagram account with your best food pics


Profiling exciting & emerging businesses in the borough


Our resident interior designer helps you upgrade your space


Porchfest returns to the borough’s residential blocks


Your planetary predictions with a particularly local twist


WCU honors students raise awareness and funds for South Africa


Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking


DJ Romeo curates a list of songs you’ll be singing this season


a visit with Brandywine Ballet


Spot the five differences and earn a Saloon 151 gift card

“Spring is the time of plans and projects. –Leo Tolstoy
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Joseph D’Ambro, owner of Pomp (141 W Gay St), with his “giant lapdog wannabe” Greyson photo ERIK WEBER

We’ve all got those special pockets of town that seem like our own—the sidewalks we could navigate with our eyes closed, uneven cobblestones posing no treachery due to the path being so worn into our memory.

I’ve always had a particular fondness for Church Street. In my mind, West Chester itself seems to spring from the street’s origin out by the country club, moving past the library and into the downtown, continuing through where the businesses turn back into residences, all of which eventually melt into the expanse of West Chester University’s campus.

New businesses emerging in our favorite haunts bring fresh energy to the places and spaces we love the most. Here are two to visit on your next lap around the borough.

Inspired Nail Art Studio 133 N. Church St.

Jubetsy Moore prides herself on the unique quality she brings to her nail art, describing the moment when she first realized her true potential. “All sets are memorable to me, but I still remember my first blinged-out set where I charged $200,” she recalls. She used Swarovski crystals to achieve the desired look, along with the best nail glue in the industry. “My client came back three weeks later with everything still intact,” she says. “That’s when I knew I was different.”

In 2004, Jubetsy started doing nails as a hobby as she was getting ready to head off to college. As the years passed, she had four kids and went through a divorce. All that time, her love of nail art only grew, and she continued doing nails for friends, family, and herself. And then one day, she wondered if maybe she could do it on a bigger scale.

Jenny Bui, Cardi B’s first and still current personal nail technician, was offering a class in New York and Jubetsy signed up. “That’s the day my whole life changed in the industry,” she says. She began traveling to Florida for conventions and seminars, earning her nail license from Lancaster Beauty Academy along the way.

She opened her doors in 2022 in the town she feels has given her so much. Born and raised here until age 11, she moved to Puerto Rico, returning to West Chester at 21. She fell on incredibly hard times, the victim of domestic violence. “West Chester helped me when I was homeless. Friends Association opened their doors to me, not once but twice,” she shares. “It’s the reason I still offer a

Just a few years ago you may have never encountered nail art, but today it’s everywhere... and ever more impressive.

free manicure and pedicure to any single mom from the shelter. I want to be an example of anything is possible if you put your mind and heart to it.”

Her most popular offering is freestyle. With this service, Jubetsy has free rein


Jubetsy Moore

to indulge her creativity, or experiment with a new trend. “It all depends on my client,” she says. “After a while, I know what they like and don’t like.”

Jubetsy cites a number of ways that she differentiates herself from other salons. She continues her education constantly, only uses high-quality products, and is fastidious with the cleanliness of her tools. As an artist, she stays up to date with what’s trending, able to

accomplish almost any design brought to her. Individual attention is also a hallmark. “It’s a private, one-on-one service. I take my time and don’t rush my clients out the door. I build a bond with each and every one, and that is what matters the most to me.”

And there are no “typical” clients. “Us women, regardless of our career, race, or status in life, all have one thing in common,” she says. “We all want to look and feel good. We all use our hands on a regular, and it’s one of the first things people see when being approached. So, who doesn’t want to have beautiful nails?”


141 W. Gay St.

“My dog, Greyson, is a giant lapdog wannabe,” laughs Pomp owner Joseph

Inspired owner Jubetsy Moore has overcome hardships and adversity on her road to success.

D’Ambro when asked to point to the most popular thing in his home goods store. It’s a joke, but five minutes into my visit, a group of three files in through the door, including a young man named Henry, perhaps four, interested in nothing except meeting the sweet, elegant, and positively enormous European Great Dane who inhabits the shop.

Pomp opened in late December 2022. Its aesthetic is modern and sleek, with a pale wood floor, light walls, and lots of light and texture everywhere. A massive, red-topped table—10 feet long—purposefully dominates the space to spark conversation about Joseph’s handmade furniture. The same goes for the long writer’s desk with glass doors that lines the west wall of the store. Using the legs


salvaged from an antique jump sheer (a machine used to cut sheet metal) and a white oak top, the height ended up a little taller than a standard desk, so Joseph made a coordinating bench with a higher seat to go along with it.

Joseph D'Ambro

Joseph has been designing and renovating interiors in and around Chester County since earning his Interior Design degree from Drexel University in the early 1990s. His work can be found in local restaurants including Talula’s Table in Kennett Square and Restaurant Alba in Malvern.

After decades building furniture on the side, he wanted a place to showcase his

work, which is where Pomp enters the scene. “I like to get inspired by something, and want to make something out of it,” he explains. “I needed a place to put it.” And when the time came to flesh out his new storefront’s offerings with textiles, pottery, and other furnishings, he was adamant about the type of products he would include. “I didn’t want to put my stuff around common things,” he says.

Joseph asserts that uniqueness is the primary drive behind the existence of the store. Beyond his own offerings, he estimates that 80% of Pomp’s products come from women or minority owned makers and wholesalers. Everything he sells is original, handmade, hand finished, and/or small batch, as well as ethically sourced. “It was very important to me to support the small batch makers and solo artisans, where one new customer can make a difference in their world,” he says.

“In many ways they are me, and I am them. Pomp is for anyone who doesn't want another ‘big-box-store-name-goeshere’ item that their neighbor owns.”

Plates, bowls, and cups with a delicate speckled glaze originate from KJ Pottery in Washington state, which opened in 2015 and just moved to “a big old shop in the Hillyard neighborhood of Spokane,” according to KJ’s website.

Customer favorites from the last month include blankets, drinking glasses, candles, and hotel/spa towels with tassels. Joseph sources cutting boards from Maryland. “I liked the fact that they’re local,” he adds. Luxurious textiles include spa towels of Turkish cotton adorned with knotted ends, bath sheets nearly the size of a twin bed sheet, and chunky blankets knit from no-itch Merino wool.

Young Henry and his adult companions leave, and Joseph looks after them thoughtfully. “That dog brings joy, and that makes it worth it,” he muses. “Why should I have all the joy?”

Everything in Pomp, from the layout to the display cabinets, is curated and purpose-driven.

Design Dilemmas

You are planning a home improvement project and then life happens and your plans collect dust. Sound familiar? This is your wakeup call to pull those designs back to the top of your to-do list and make it happen! Here is a step-by-step guide to help tackle your projects once and for all.

Take Inventory: Sit down with your dreams and thoughts and write a list of what exactly you want. Most importantly, create a budget and a timeline. Putting it in writing is the best way to turn it into action. For example: built-in bookcase; reface fireplace; new sofa/ coffee table/ new end tables; wallpaper; lighting, etc. Put an estimated budget by each of these to put things into perspective. Consider completion in phases.

Design Inspiration: Finding photos of similar projects online is a terrific way to stay motivated and cultivate ideas to make a space or project as perfect as possible. Make sure to look at the fine details in the photo, everything from the window treatments to the rugs to the cabinetry style. These are all questions that will come up later in the design process. My favorite resources are Pinterest and Houzz.

Obtain Quotes: Find two to three contractors for your project and request a quote. This could mean one contractor to manage and complete the entire project with their own subcontractors or you could manage it piecemeal, hiring an electrician, painter, plumber, etc. They will ask questions about the project details, which you will have ready via steps one and two. Be sure to ask them questions, too. The most important are their lead times for a start date, how long the project will take to complete, how payment is collected, any change orders handled, and hours for a typical workday. Really get to know them and their work ethic. It’s very important that you follow up with the quotes! Check in after a week if you haven’t heard back. It’s a busy industry. Contractors will know you are serious if you are following up.

Conception to Completion: Let the fun begin! Once you select the contractor(s) you have formed a partnership to take the project from dream to reality. If it’s small, this will be short and sweet. If it’s a lengthy project I recommend weekly check-ins with everyone on the team to make sure there are no questions or changes, and things are still on their projected target end date.

Finishing Touches: While construction is underway, purchase furnishings and accessories for the space. Keep your design juices flowing by acting now instead of waiting. Lead times can cause delays and it’s better to be prepared and order early so when construction is complete the remaining details will fall into place.

Feeling inspired? These projects may seem like a second job, but it’s well worth the outcome. From hanging a gallery wall, wallpapering a bathroom, or renovating your kitchen, these are all projects that once complete will bring joy to your life, day after day.

Andrea Mason of Andrea Mason Design is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

ROCKINFront Porch

West Chester Porchfest returns in May among the borough’s residential blocks story KElly Murrary photos Kevin


A screen door slams, Mary's dress sways

Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays…

In his classic tune “Thunder Road,” Bruce Springsteen opens with a wistful sequence of harmonica notes before unraveling a lyrical tale that tells the story of a young woman and her sweetheart who are grappling with the unknown of their future. Thought to be one of the greatest rock songs in American history, “Thunder Road” may evoke themes of hitting the road, starting anew, and exploring the world — but the songwriter chooses to place the setting of this seminal song at the home — specifically, on the front porch.

Considered to be a uniquely American architectural tradition, the front porch — which rose to prominence in American houses during the 1800s — has evolved into a central part of the home. From enjoying sips of coffee on a summer morning, to trick or treating on Halloween night, or even sharing a first

kiss, the front porch plays host to a slew of experiences that shape our lives.

So, it’s no surprise to hear mention of the beloved exterior feature woven into lyrics of American songs across all genres. From rock and rollers to country crooners, to hip hop artists and blues singers, each has a story to tell from moments shared in the communal space that extends from our front doors. And now returning for its second year, West Chester Porchfest offers borough residents some front porch rockin’ of their own.

West Chester Porchfest, which kicked off in 2022, cultivates a unique music festival environment where attendees are invited to stroll down designated streets and enjoy live music performances from residents’ porches. Taking place in the southwest quadrant of the borough, the route winds along from Church Street to Bradford Avenue and Miner Street to Dean Street, along a backdrop of the borough’s stately historic Victorian homes. This year, West Chester Porchfest is scheduled for Sat-

urday, May 20th and promises a lineup of more than 40 local performers, food trucks, and children’s activities.

Organized by the West Chester Green Team (WCGT), a non-governmental civic association that works to provide the public with education and community events centered around green initiatives, West Chester Porchfest’s origins are rooted in both building community and protecting the environment. This relatively new event joins the WCGT’s established roster of programs that have been active in the borough for many years. Along with community building, the WCGT focuses on providing sustainable and community-oriented solutions to issues around climate and energy, gardening and food, pesticides and herbicides, reducing plastic use, and light pollution.

Porchfest is managed under the WCGT’s West Chester Area Transition initiative, which became fully functional in 2021, and follows guidelines of the international Transition movement. Known simply as Transition, it is


a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild the world. Groups in the movement work to create positive change locally in their community—whether neighborhoods, towns, and cities—or on a smaller scale such as at school, the workplace, or on a college campus. Established in 2005, the Transition network is growing rapidly, and can be found across 48 countries around the world; local communities including Phoenixville and Media are also Transition towns.

“As a Transition town, they ask you to set goals,” explained Margaret Hudgings, co-founder of West Chester Green Team and event organizer for Porchfest. “One of the things [Transition] features is building a community of connection, happiness, and spirit. That is how we decided to do Porchfest—as a community builder and connector.”

And connect the community they did. Last year, Porchfest welcomed 2,500 people and hosted 41 live performers ranging from jazz musicians to a Japanese folk singer. “It was just an amazing success last year. The mayor co-spon-

sored the event. We had a diversity of different kinds of music. Lots of participation. [Porch hosts] put their own spin on each block. The 400 block of Dean Street decided they would offer free hot dogs, hamburgers, brownies, and lemon bars. They used it as a fundraiser for Friends of Everhart Park.”

This spirit of generosity is found throughout Porchfest. It is a volunteer-based event, so those involved –from hosts to bands to organizers – are lending their time and talents in the name of community building and to enjoy great local music with the neighborhood. Along with residents who open their porches to musicians, local organizations have also offered support in other ways. Last year, Iron Works Church, located at 312 W. Union Street, set up tables and chairs in their parking lot so festival goers would have a place to sit down and enjoy the music. Members of their congregation cleared tables and poured water. Hudgings was pleased to share that Iron Works Church will be involved in this year’s event as well.

This year, West Chester Porchfest returns with a growing lineup of performers – and a few new updates to their gameplan. Hudgings shared that the festival will cover more blocks. “We will have the same basic footprint [as last year], but that was consolidated within a three-block area. Now we have the 100 block of Miner Street and the First Presbyterian Church (at 130 W. Miner Street) involved. We’ve also added the 100 block of W. Barnard Street and 109 S. Brandywine Street to the route. We like having outlying houses because we can schedule bands there that may be louder, and won’t conflict with anyone else’s performance, which also gives us more flexibility with scheduling.”

Ensuring that everyone has a proper place to perform is indicative of the care and curation that goes into the talent featured at Porchfest. After all, at the heart of the event is the music. This year, Porchfest is bringing a lineup of over 40 local performers in genres including indie, rock, folk, blues, funk, classical, bluegrass, punk, and dance. So, whether you’re looking to hear some


acoustic jams, just vibe out, or dance in the streets, you’ll find it. And it’s clear that the event organizers and attendees are passionate supporters of the music community in West Chester. When speaking about the return of Porchfest, Hudgings stated, “I do think there’s tremendous support for it. It’s local talent. That kind of local connection is what people are really hungry for these days.”

This sentiment is shared by local musicians and returning Porchfest performers onyx&honey. Made up of Chester County natives Rob Perna and Nikki DiGiorgio, onyx&honey. is a celebrated West Chester-based duo that delivers a vibrant, eclectic mix of music. “It’s funkdazed, improvisational original music with elements of punk and rock and roll,” explained Perna. “We bounce around a bit, with a common thread of being a danceable, groove-oriented band.” They formed during quarantine and have been performing for three years now.

DiGiorgio emphasized the need for reviving the local music scene in the borough. “I’ve been living here for five or

2023 Porchfest Performers

Curious to see who’s playing this year? Check out Porchfest’s lineup. This lineup includes registered performers as of early March. Performers can register until mid-April, so this list is subject to change.

Acoustic Jukebox

Annalise Curtin

Angelica and the Midnight Ghost

Anthem Arcade (formerly The Walton Marquette Project)

Baker & Collins

Blanton-Chambers Guitar Duo

Blues Berry Hill Band

Brad Rau, Classical Guitarist

Brett Durham

Bryan & Kyle Weber (ZELAZOWA/Everything Turned to Color)

Cam Narimanian


Cornflower Jam

Dan Schatz

DJ Sub Freq

DT and the Burners

Elise Acoustic

Garden Station

Groove Intelligence

Homeless and Desperate

John Faye

Jeff Campbell

Jesse B.

Jumping Juvies

Kurt Papenhausen


Michael Rudolph Cummings

Not Quitting Our Day Jobs onyx&honey.

Peter Peak

Pimp Fried Rice

Rented Mule

Sanction Ethereal

Stephanie Phillips

So Colloquial


Tea Head

The Flip Phones

The Penny Lane Combo

The Shoeshiners

We don’t have it.

West Chester Dance Works

West Chester Ukelele Group

Without Question


six years now and have made it a point to invest in the community whether through music or events,” she explained. “Hearing about Rob’s rich history and how [the music scene] used to be… we are committed to reviving that and capturing that.” Perna, who is a guitar instructor and the band leader of the funk, reggae, and R&B group The New Kings of Rhythm, is a familiar face to many in the local music scene, due in part to his unwavering presence in the community as both a performer and mentor. “There’s no shortage of original artists here. But that stopped being a focus. Where did the shift happen?” continued DiGiorgio, “When we heard about West Chester Porchfest, we knew it was a perfect forum for original bands, and any kind of band, to shine a little bit.”

This year, onyx&honey. are excited to be returning to the porch of 423 Dean Street to perform with a full band lineup. “[Porchfest] is an opportunity for people who are patrons of the arts…to open up their porch and have other people play. The vibe of your porch is an element that people don’t always get to

see…it’s a way to have a chance for people to represent the culture they want to have,” said DiGirogio. “Plus, last year we had a gig somewhere after our Porchfest set,” added Perna, “This year we’re going to be able to hang out and represent harder.” In the meantime, Perna and DiGiorgio will have no problem staying busy. The duo is currently recording their second onyx&honey. album, host a weekly radio show every Thursday at 5pm on WCHE, and are part of the team behind The Look Around Music and Arts Festival scheduled for August 26, another newly minted grassroots festival in West Chester created to support the local music and arts community.

It was just an amazing success last year... We had a divaersity of different kinds of music. Lots of participation... The 400 block of Dean Street decided they would offer free hot dogs, hamburgers, brownies, and lemon bars. They used it as a fundraiser for Friends of Everhart Park.

For Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Annalise Curtin, Porchfest is not only an opportunity to perform, but a way to reconnect with her hometown. The West Chester native, who sings original folk, rock, and blues, will be returning to perform at 341 W. Miner Street. For Curtin, this porch holds personal significance – it's her parent’s place. “My dad is a musician, and my brothers are musicians, too. It’s just been a way for our family to bond. My parents love sharing that with other people and are unbelievably proud to be a part of anything,” said Curtin. “I love my parents and can’t wait to hang out with them. It's a good time and a good memory to build.” While Curtin’s excitement speaks volumes to her family bond, she is also keenly aware of the impact events like Porchfest have across generations within the neighborhood. “I think it’s a great way to strengthen the community, and I think West Chester has needed that. There’s lots of young kids, but there’s people who have been living there for a long time. [Porchfest] is a way to strengthen that neighborhood bond.”


Like Perna and DiGorgio, Curtin shares a strong support system with many local musicians in the area. She is quick to express her admiration for John Faye, the singer-songwriter from Newark, Delaware, and front man of 90s alternative rock band the Caulfields, who will also be returning to perform at 341 W. Miner Street as a solo artist this year. “I always love performing with John Faye. We’ve known each other for 10 years, and he’s one of the first people I met in the industry in Philly.” Along with Curtin and Faye, 341 W. Miner Street will also welcome Jesse Breindel to his first Porchfest. “Jesse was actually my English professor,” Curtin disclosed with a laugh, “I found out he did music, so once he wasn’t my teacher anymore, I figured it was a great way to introduce him to the music industry. It’ll be the first time performing together.” Until their reunion at Porchfest, Curtin and Faye will continue developing original music and focus on their own projects. Curtin said that she released two singles last year “Heading Out Soon” and “Falling” and looks forward to doing more

vocal collaborations and gigs. In early April, Faye released his first book The Yin and Yang of It All, a memoir on his life as a musician.

It’s just been a way for our family to bond. My parents love sharing that with other people and are unbelievably proud to be a part of anything. I love my parents and can’t wait to hang out with them. It’s a good time and a good memory to build.

This welcoming spirit is prevalent among all those involved in Porchfest, and that includes the porch hosts, too. For many, getting involved in the event unfolded organically. Miggy Min, who relocated with her family to West Chester from Boston two years ago, became involved after a serendipitous conversation on the sidewalk with her neighbor Hudgings. During their chat, Hudgings invited her to join the Porchfest planning committee. Min, an interior designer, lent her creative skills to the effort and

has helped set up the festival website, created t-shirts, and designed promotional posters. Her husband designed the event logo. In a way, joining the Porchfest committee was a full circle moment for Min; she attended college in Ithaca, New York, the city that hosted the first organized Porchfest back in 2007.

When they decided to become hosts, the Mins welcomed The Walton Marquette Project (now Anthem Arcade) to their porch on Dean Street. “It was awesome being a host,” said Min. “The Walton Marquette Project performed classic rock and 80s covers. They were great for dancing and very high energy.” This year, Min hopes that the band, made up of local musicians Wade Walton, Michelle Marquette, Mike Bassick, and Jim Marquette, will be assigned to their porch again. She looks forward to experiencing their new sound as Anthem Arcade, an arena rock and roll tribute band.

Min explained that hosts must agree to several things to participate, such as


being able to provide electricity sources for band’s gear; informing neighbors that there will be a music performance next door; and providing recycling and water. For Min, last year’s setup was seamless and enjoyable. The band arrived before the festival to set up their gear, and that gave them an opportunity to chat and get to know each other a little bit. As for the neighbors nearby who weren’t hosting? It was a priority to make sure that surrounding homes were made aware of the festival by social media and more traditional tried-and-true methods like handing out flyers at each door and posting signs around the block. It’s safe to say there weren’t any noise complaints for this gathering.

Along with live music, Hudgins and Min told us that the committee is planning a series of porches interspersed throughout the blocks that will have displays dedicated to the work the WCGT is doing for the environment. So far, these include a living landscape porch, where visitors can learn about sustainable gardening; and a dark skies porch,

which will provide information on how to cut down light pollution to help lightning bugs breed successfully. Children will be able to enjoy face painting and other activities planned for each block, and the food truck selection will expand this year, including dessert and ice cream trucks.

As a Transition town, they ask you to set goals. One of the things [Transition] features is building a community of connection, happiness, and spirit. That is how we decided to do Porchfest — as a community builder and connector.

Because it was created with the intention to bring the community together, Hudgings hopes that Porchfest will continue to grow and that they’ll be able to connect with artists and musicians in other neighborhoods around the borough. Only in its second year, it’s clear that West Chester Porchfest is a refreshing family-friendly event

with a promising future. Those working on either side of the proverbial stage –from musicians and artists to the event organizers and porch hosts – have come together to create a grassroots celebration of the arts and the environment that takes place right at our doorsteps. In a way, it’s fitting that this fusion of artistic expression and environmentalism would occur on a series of front porches, the space that connects our innermost dwellings to the outside world, and opens us up to the beauty of the communities around us.

Porchfest is scheduled for Saturday, May 20th from 1pm-7pm in the southwest quadrant of the borough. Rain date is Sunday, May 21st. This is a family-friendly event. Admission is free.

For more information on Porchfest, or to learn more about becoming a sponsor or volunteer, please visit:, Facebook @West Chester Porchfest, and Instagram @westchesterporchfest


Market Forecast

Resident astrologer Kate Chadwick provides your planetary predictions with a particularly local twist

Aries (3/21-4/19): It’s your season, ram friends, and high time for you to step into the main character role. Make an appearance at the West Chester Film Festival—maybe you’ll finally be discovered as the star you are..

Taurus (4/20-5/20): Your planetary ruler, Venus—queen of all things beauty—is in your sign for a spell, bulls, and you’re a big fan of all things beauty. Pop into Katie Mac for a bouquet and a plant or two to pretty up your home.

Gemini (5/21-6/20) Independent as heck, twins, you still have a large posse. The universe is asking you to reassess your squad— all of them—this spring. Out with the old, network the new by joining Heyday Athletic.

Cancer (6/21-7/22) This spicy Aries energy is in your career house, crab friends. Whether it’s a promotion or a whole new gig, start with the top and work down, with a fresh cut at La Difference or Simply Men’s Barber Shop.

Leo (7/23-8/22) The Aries sun is igniting your ninth house of travel and philosophy. Going away? Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings when you’re there. A journal from Pine + Quill will help you keep track.

Virgo (8/23-9/22) Intimacy and control are at odds now, Virgo. Let the Aries energy help you loosen your grip on feelings, and by extension, body. If oysters are an aphrodisiac, Greystone is where you’ll find them. Just saying.

Libra (9/23-10/22) It’s all about partnership now, lovelies—especially if you’re single. Smile at a stranger if you feel it. Keep your mind and eyes open, even if you’re just sitting in the waiting room at Goshen Chiropractic..

Scorpio (10/23-11/22) This Aries energy is propelling you Scorpions right out of a rut. A complete overhaul of your fab self is unnecessary, but maybe just a simple change to your usual route around town. Spring in WC is exquisite.

Sagittarius (11/23-12/21) Your innate sense of adventure and spontaneity is front and center. The universe is coaxing you to put yourself out there—way out there. Off the Rail Karaoke Drag Show at Split Rail is just the ticket.

Capricorn (12/22-1/19) The sun is in your house of family and foundations, goats. Take your foot off the work pedal and shift your focus. If it’s home, a kitchen or bath revamp via Giuseppe’s. For family time, pizza night at Brothers.

Aquarius (1/20-2/18) It’s all about community and education for you, water-bearers. Kill two birds at the West Chester Public Library. Their events and workshops range from crochet to book discussions to a ukulele group.

Pisces (2/19-3/20) A little spring organizing is on tap for you, fish friends. That could extend from a domicile refresh to a large purchase. Either way, your wallet will be involved. Talk with the folks at First Bank about a loan..







For many students at West Chester University, adult life unfurls in a certain way during these formative college years in a place like the borough, with its charming architecture, beautiful campus, and well-trodden paths between campus and iconic Thursday night hotspots downtown. WCU student Grace Nicholas loves it here. “It’s a big school, but it feels small. The campus is compact. I still see people I recognize every day, and I say hi,” she exudes. “I love the town. There is so much to do.”

Nestled within this idyllic setting, it can be easy for students to ignore the challenges faced by people living halfway around the world. But for students in WCU Honors College such as Grace, it is the perfect time to connect with others and share their bounty.

Grace is Assistant Director of Aid to South Africa, a student-run organization through the Honors College that raises funds for three separate organizations in South Africa. A Nursing major headed for graduation in 2024, she envisions her life after WCU as a nurse in a hos-

pital emergency room somewhere between here and Philly.

She got involved with Aid to South Africa as a first-year student in the Fall of 2020 and almost immediately found herself as Student Outreach Director, working to connect Aid to South Africa to other groups on campus as well as in the greater West Chester community. Today, as Assistant Director, Grace kickstarts events and recruits others, while planning meetings and generally getting the word out.

nership between the Honors College and the people of South Africa in the summer of 2001. The WCU website describes how that year, “27 students from around the state participated in a two-week international program that conducted oral histories of current South African college students, men, and women once on the forefront of change from Apartheid to Democracy.” Since then, Aid to South Africa has expanded on campus and in the community, hosting events, increasing awareness, and raising funds. “Over the last 18 years, we have fundraised over $100,000 for our beneficiaries,” states junior Biomedical Engineering Major and Aid to South Africa Coordinator Jessica Mitchell.


Past WCU President Madeline Wing Adler and a handful of educators launched the Aid to South Africa part-

Fundraising efforts for the year culminate with the annual carnival in the spring. “Our goal for the day is $12,000,” says Grace. “We slowly make money all year, and then the carnival is our last hurrah.” Afterwards, the year’s earnings are disbursed among the three benefi-

Over the last 18 years, we have fundraised over $100,000 for our beneficiaries.
JESSICA MITCHELL, aid to south africa coordinator

ciary organizations in South Africa.

This year, the carnival is on April 16 from noon to 4pm on WCU’s Academic Quad, featuring games and activities for all ages. Numerous clubs perform on a central stage throughout the day. Last year, Grace was enamored with the swing dance club’s performance. “You could tell that they worked really hard!” she says. “They’ll be coming back again this year.” WCU’s a cappella groups, Under A Rest and High Street Harmonix, will be performing, along with individual talent acts. The dunk tank, featuring students, frats, and even faculty members, is always a big draw. There will also be raffle baskets from businesses such as Playa Bowls and Philly Pretzel Factory, along with gift cards to local boutiques.

It’s not just all fun and games— attendees will also be able to grow their knowledge. “There is a whole portion on cultural insight into South Africa,” says Grace. One of the organization’s goals is to bring awareness to and correct erroneous perceptions. “Many people think that technology is advanced there and assume that Apartheid has been over for 30 years,” Grace explains. “We like to bring light to post-Apartheid South Africa.”


Three separate organizations benefit from Aid to South Africa’s fundraising efforts.

One is Nkosi's Haven, a non-governmental organization located in Johannesburg that provides care for HIV/AIDS infected mothers, their children, and children made orphans by AIDS. The United Nations states that in 2020, almost 8 million adults and children were living

We hold signs that say things like ‘$5 can feed a family for a week,’and that really gets to people.
GRACE NICHOLAS , assistant director of aid to south africa
133 W Market St West Chester, PA 19382 610.719.0170

with HIV in South Africa. WCU’s website describes the mission of Nkosi’s Haven “to continuously work to create an energetic environment for those impacted by HIV and AIDS by building upon facilities and services offered.”

Another organization is the H.E.L.P. Ministries Soup Kitchen. Reverend Cecil Begbie started the soup kitchen to feed hungry school kids. “When he was just getting started, he asked the schools around him to provide a list of children in desperate need of food,” states WCU’s website. “The principals responded with their entire attendance roll.” Today, Cecil’s team prepares 6,000 bowls of soup daily in his own garage, delivering them to nine primary schools and 1,000 unemployed adults. For many, this is their only daily meal.

The third organization is Mosaic, whose mission is to support foster mothers caring for orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa. With the help of donations, Mosaic assists their families with job creation and training, housing, education, and more.


Aid to South Africa has spurred community connections within WCU’s campus. Grace has noticed that in the last two years, due to the pandemic subsiding, people seem more motivated to help. “Even members of the broader WCU community, and not just the Honors program, come to the Honors meetings and Aid to South Africa meetings,” she relates. “We’ve had a huge increase in student and community support, and that helps get fundraising up and going.”

They are changing the community beyond WCU, too. Twice a year, beginning in March, the Aid to South Africa group collects donations at the corner of Market and High streets. “We hold signs that say things like ‘$5 can feed a family for a week,’” Grace says. “And that really gets to people.”

In May, a group of Honors students will be traveling to South Africa for the first time in four years. They will be sightseeing during their 10-day visit, but they’ll also be meeting the beneficiaries, to see who they are helping with their

work. “We work with them all year and raise money,” Grace says. “This trip will break it down so we can see how it really helps the community in South Africa.”

Not surprisingly, the changes are personal as well. “We’re contributing to something bigger than ourselves, and using our privilege to help others,” says Grace. “It’s caused me to stop and think before I speak. We complain about little things, but we need to step back and see the bigger picture. I write things down that I’m grateful for. People think I’m crazy that I write down that I’m grateful to have central heating.”

“It gave me a much bigger sense of community,” she muses. “It feels good to help.”


Follow Aid to South Africa

on Instragram: @aidtosouthafrica

Come to the carnival: April 16th from 12-4pm on WCU’s Academic Quad

Make a donation:


Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at

Beccanomics Home

I received this text from my neighbor the morning after a get together: “I feel like I’m going to be thinking about that goat cheese dip for the rest of my life.” Strong, yes, but not wrong! The salad dressing is fresh and easy and doubles as a dip with crudité that will take you half the time as the goat cheese dip. –

3 slices thick cut bacon (5 slices regular bacon)

10.5 oz creamy goat cheese

1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt (any fat percentage will do)

1/4 c. honey, divided

2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 Tbsp. water

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 large shallot, finely diced

10 Medjool dates, pitted and thinly sliced or chopped

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Crostini for serving

1. In a large skillet, cook bacon in dry pan over medium-low heat until crisp on both sides. Remove to paper towel to drain. Chop once cooled. Keep fat in pan.

2. Meanwhile, combine goat cheese, yogurt, 2 Tbsp. of the honey, olive oil, water, salt and pepper in medium mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer or whisk well until completely smooth. Spoon mixture into shallow serving bowl or plate and spread.

3. Add rosemary to pan (maintain medium low heat) and cook until deep golden brown – flip and cook on second side. Remove to drain with bacon.

4. Add shallot to pan and cook until softened and golden brown; add cider vinegar, dates, reserved chopped bacon and remaining 2 Tbsp. honey and increase heat to bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until reduced and slightly thickened.

5. Spoon mixture on top of goat cheese. Sprinkle with rosemary (the leaves only) and drizzle with olive oil. Finish with a shake of freshly ground black pepper and serve. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate. Heat to serve in warm oven or microwave (depending on serving platter).

Creamy Caesar Dressing makes 2 cups

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. anchovy paste

Juice of one lemon

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. Worcestershire

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. grated pecorino Romano

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Whisk all ingredients together. Refrigerate in airtight container.

Whipped Goat Cheese Dip with Bacon, Dates, and Honey serves 8-10

Spring Hits List

DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be singing all season long

The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. And, you can now stream the list in its entirey at:

@DJRomeo24 |

Macklemore ft. Collet – NO BAD DAYS

Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding – Miracle

Morgan Wallen – Last Night

Lizzo ft. SZA – Special

JVKE – golden hour

Tiësto & Tate McRae – 10:35

SZA – Kill Bill

John Summit ft. Hayla – Where You Are

Fall Out Boy – Love From The Other Side

PinkPantheress ft. Ice Spice – Boy’s a liar Pt. 2

The Weeknd ft. Ariana Grande – Die For You (Remix)

Kx5 ft. AR/CO – Bright Lights

Bebe Rexha – Heart Wants What It Wants

Tove Lo – Borderline

Halsey – Die 4 Me


Jason Mraz – I Feel Like Dancing

Latto ft. LU KALA – Lottery

Miguel – Sure Thing

Niall Horan – Heaven

Tyla – Been Thinking

Jason Derulo – It’s Your Thing

Dove Cameron & Khalid – We Go Down Together

Lauren Spencer Smith – Best Friend Breakup

Charlotte Sands – Alright

Tiësto – All Nighter

Miley Cyrus – River

Fred again…, Skrillex & Four Tet – Baby again.

Under The Rug ft. Ariel Posen – Lonesome & Mad

Gryffin – Dreams


en pointe


Ballet originated in Italy in the 1500s. When Italian Catherine de’ Medici became Queen of France by marrying Henry II, she introduced it into court life, and it became popular in Paris. King Louis XIV founded the Academie Royal de Danse in 1661, which is still in existence and is now known as the Paris Opera Ballet. It arrived in the U.S.—as many aspects of life in North America do—via immigrants, and the first official ballet performance took place here in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1791.

Donna Muzio Morley brought it to West Chester in 1974, founding the nonprofit Brandywine Ballet.

“I can’t imagine what I would have done that wouldn’t involve dance in some way,” she says. Her mother was a

hairdresser in West Chester for 40 years, so she supposes she might have pursued that avenue, “but it was certainly not a consideration when I was 20.”

I knew at a young age that I wanted to have a professional classical ballet school and company in the suburbs.

As a young teen, Donna student-taught dance all through school, along with taking ballet classes daily. Starting with tap and jazz, she eventually moved to classical ballet, and danced with various regional and

pre-professional ballet companies. During her development as a dancer, though, she always found herself to be more interested in who was working behind the scenes—making everything happen—than in the actual performing.

“I loved watching professional dancers and always gravitated toward who taught them, how they were trained, what pointe shoes they were wearing, why they were wearing them,” Donna recalls. “I knew at a young age that I wanted to have a professional classical

Donna Muzio Morley, Thomas Gant, Jr, and Nancy Page (L toR) take a break from the rehearsal for Brandywine Ballet’s upcoming performance of Beauty & the Beast. photo Erik Weber

ballet school and company in the suburbs.” She traveled to Philadelphia and New York for all her formal ballet training, both teacher-training and technique training, with the goal of bringing that level of professionalism to the suburbs.

Donna founded The Dance Center in 1974, and it presently serves as the official school for the Brandywine Ballet. While the school’s main objective is to provide training for dancers who plan to pursue a career in the field, equal attention is given to those who simply enjoy it and/or do it for exercise. The school’s training method is consistent from Levels 1 through 6, according to their website, which prepares dancers for the pre-professional division of the school at age 12. And while it’s largely about ballet here, that’s not the only game in town; dancers can take part in their Contemporary Dance program, which includes classes in Modern, Lyrical, Jazz, and Hip-Hop.

After five years owning her own school, she founded the Brandywine Ballet Company in 1979. “I wanted to have a non-profit ballet company associated with my school, so the company

FAST FACTS: A Ballet Primer

Ballet may look beautiful and elegant—even frou-frou—but there are bodies and nerves of steel behind all that tulle. Here are some things about ballet you may not know...

• Ballet existed for almost a century before women were permitted to perform in 1681.

• It takes between 60 and 90 hours and up to $2000 to make a professional tutu, and up to 100 yards of tulle.

• A single professional ballet performance can run up to four hours. In that time, dancers use the energy equivalent to playing two soccer games or running 18 miles.

could be self-sufficient and attract other dancers from the tri-state area, not just students of The Dance Center,” Donna says. Starting with nine dancers, they have today grown to 65 dancers in the Ballet Company and the Contemporary Company. Donna has built a team around her, including but not limited to Nancy Page, Resident Choreographer, Ballet; Tim Early, Resident Choreographer, Contemporary; and Thomas Gant, Jr., Principal Dancer. All of them also teach at Brandywine, passing their knowledge, experience, and skills set on to future dancers.

Donna is not only the Founder, but the Artistic Director for the company. “I decide the repertoire of our three-series productions each year; auditioning new students; seeking professional choreographers and master teachers; hiring professional dancers; organizing our Summer Intensive Program; and constructing a teaching curriculum that

• Ballerinas typically go through pointe shoes at a rate of three a week. Sometimes, a pair won’t even last a night for a principal dancer in a production such as Swan Lake. The Ballet Theatre in Pittsburgh once revealed that it spends $100,000 each year on just shoes for its dancers.

• When a ballerina is en pointe, or wearing “toe shoes,” their toes take on three times their body weight.

• Romanian police officers have been known to take ballet classes so that they can manage traffic with more grace and ease.

• Ballet dancers don’t say “good luck” or “break a leg” before a performance. They say “merde,” a French swear word. If you don’t know the definition, here’s a hint: one theory is that in its early years, many horse-drawn carriages outside a performance hall meant a successful show—which meant stepping around a lot of merde in the street.

Donna founded The Dance Center in 1974, and it presently serves as the official school for the Brandywine Ballet. photo Erik Weber

is organized and consistent, so all students are taught in the same manner. That aspect is key to training dancers to a professional level,” she said.

Resident Choreographer, Ballet Nancy Page has been dancing since childhood. “Ballet has been a part of my life since I was five,” she told us. “When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to dance. I auditioned and I got a job. I was very fortunate to have exceptional training with Donna along with several of the faculty members here at the time. It was truly the foundation needed to take me everywhere I chose to go.”

Among the places she chose to go for training were the Milwaukee Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet, eventually accepting a position with the Sarasota Ballet in Florida. “I absolutely loved being a principal dancer with Sarasota Ballet and living in Sarasota,” Nancy said. It was a unique and very fulfilling ballet company in the heart of a beautiful city. But as much as I loved Sarasota, in my heart I knew I wanted to come back to West Chester to start my family and move on in my career. I grew

up here. My family, friends, and Donna drove me back here. All BIG supporters of mine all through my dancing years.”

Our Winter Series is always The Nutcracker —a true favorite of our audiences. For the past two years we have completely sold out our performances.

Another title Nancy has is Ballet Mistress. “This position truly covers all areas concerning the dancers, primarily teaching, rehearsing, and coaching,” she said. “And all thoroughly enjoyable. I teach six days a week and several classes a night.”

Nancy explains that choreography could be anything from a 10-minute piece up to a full-length ballet. Brandywine’s next production, and last for this season, is Beauty & the Beast. “I typically

decide on what story line I’m using,” she says. “Next, I start listening to music— it takes me longer than any other part of the process. I want happy music, sad music, dramatic music, etcetera—but every piece of music I pick has to go with the feeling of that part of the ballet. My goal is for the audience to experience all moods within my ballet. Next the ballet gets cast, and then the choreography begins, along with the costumes and scenery. It is quite a process, very demanding but so fulfilling.”

Despite the demands, Nancy has a backup team. “I have a family that supports everything I do. My favorite pastime is being with them. It doesn’t matter where we are, or what we are doing, as long as we are together.”

Thomas Gant, Jr. started with Brandywine back in 2009 and continued until 2011. A licensed electrician by trade, he seems to spend every spare minute either dancing or teaching. “I started dancing at six,” Tommy said. “I’ve always known that dance, performance—the arts in general—was what I wanted to do.” His career has taken him as far as Taiwan,


where he has developed an international relationship teaching and choreographing for Tainan City Ballet as well as Chung Hwa Arts High School.

He lives in Philadelphia and travels to West Chester to teach and dance, having returned to Brandywine as Principal Dancer in 2019. “I love it here, and I hope to remain involved with Brandywine in some capacity or other for the rest of my career.” Tommy teaches elementary lessons through the more advanced young dancers, as well as private lessons for dancers, both at Brandywine and on a freelance basis. “I’ve taught several older dancers as well, both people with a background who are taking it back up, or with no background at all. Ballet is great at any age.” And he means that, sharing with us that he turns 40 this year.

Tim Early, a pivotal member of Brandywine, is celebrating his 29th consecutive season with Brandywine Ballet as a Principal Dancer. In addition to performing, Tim has choreographed for the Company and been on the faculty at The Dance Center. Tim also took the posi-

The Dance Center provides professional training to serious students pursuing a career in dance, with instruction in everything from ballet to hip hop. photo courtesy Brandywine Ballet

tion of Production Manager with the ballet company in 2018 and works to coordinate all of its performance efforts. Some of the highlights of his tenure with Brandywine include his performances in Nancy Page’s Dracula, Ronen Koresh’s Beyond the Steps, Balanchine’s Serenade, and Eddy Touissant’s Souvenance Together with Donna, he co-founded Brandywine Contemporary, the modern-based arm of Brandywine Ballet.

Are you tired just from reading this?

There’s more: Tim is co-director of the Philadelphia-based modern company Opus I Contemporary, and has choreographed for Lafayette College, Moravian College, and West Chester University. In addition, he has headed the dance department at Wyoming Seminary Summer Arts Program in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for the past 20 years.

SIDEBAR DEUX: Performances

While you’ve missed the first two performances of this season, Brandywine Ballet offers productions annually, one each in the fall, winter, and spring.

“Our Resident Choreographer, Nancy Page, choreographs all of our full-length ballets,” said Artistic Director Donna Muzio Morley. “The company performs three series each season. Every other year our Fall Series is Dracula.On the off year, we do a Repertoire Performance, which includes new pieces from other professional choreographers. We’ve done a few [George] Balanchine ballets, Meredith Rainey’s ballets, David Kloss’ ballets, to name a few.”

As for the winter production, well—there’s only one, just as there is for ballet companies around the globe: Tchaikovsky’s iconic holiday classic, TheNutcracker . “Our Winter Series is always TheNutcracker—a true favorite of our audiences,” Donna said. “For the past two years we have completely sold out our performances. TheNutcrackerhas staying power because it is a beloved holiday classic. There are no other words to describe it.” This isn’t just an audience preference, either. “My dancers LOVE TheNutcracker , and even though we give them various opportunities to perform other ballets, The Nutcracker is always their favorite.

The upcoming performance is the Beauty&theBeast , a new version of the classic fairy tale based on the book by Garbrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. There will be two performances on Saturday May 20, at noon and 4pm, and Sunday May 21 at 2pm. All performances are held in the idyllic Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall on West Chester University’s campus. “Our Spring Series is always a children’s ballet, which we alternate each year with BeautyandBeast,Cinderella,SleepingBeauty , or Wizard ofOz . My wish is within the next few years to add another full-length ballet to our repertoire.”


Some people know at a very young age what they want to be when they grow up, be it a veterinarian or a chef or an astronaut. There is no stronger certainty, though, than there seems to be about a career in dance, and there is also a tremendous will to face the rigors that come with the pursuit of this art form— even as a hobby, much less a career.

I want happy music, sad music, dramatic music, etcetera—but every piece of music I pick has to go with the feeling of that part of the ballet. My goal is for the audience to experience all moods within my ballet.

-Nancy Page

The National Institute of Health defines, in part, the demands of ballet as follows: “Classical ballet is characterized

as a high-intensity, intermittent form of exercise, demanding muscle power reserves for explosive jumps, muscular endurance to maintain high levels of power output, and cardiorespiratory endurance to execute low-intensity exercise.” There are 34 physical attributes required to dance ballet, among them “hypermobility,” “flexibility,” “overall and core strength,” “spinal strength,” and “range of movement.” Dancers are a unique combination of athlete and artist, and we can see professionals right here in West Chester in full productions, three times annually, via Brandywine Ballet.

As Tommy Gant put it so eloquently to us: “I’ll dance as long as my body allows.”

There are many ways to support Brandywine Ballet—via seasonal sponsorships, donations to specific funds, or attending one of their fundraiser events. Our suggestion is you start with buying a ticket or two to one of their fantastic productions, and experience worldclass performances, right here in the borough.

Don’t miss the upcoming performance of Beauty and the Beast May 20 & 21 and the Emilie K Asplundh Concert Hall. Tickets are available on their website, and showings are limited. photo courtesy Brandywine Ballet

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Porchfest is coming back! Spot the five differences hidden within this photo from last year by Kevin Schramm (, then email your answers to, and you’ve got a chance to win a Saloon 151 Gift Card.

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