We recognize the importance of fine arts on growing well-rounded young adults. We require all EHS students to take at least one credit of fine arts during their high school career; many of our students take more. Our fine arts programs offer creative and innovative opportunities for students through diverse curriculum in art, drama, and music. Students frequently submit their work to juried visual art shows and writing competitions. Students have many opportunities to perform through choral and instrumental music ensembles, theatre productions, and during the annual Fine Arts Festival.
The philosophy of our Communication Arts Department is, "One goal. One promise. Student success." We believe that communication is a vital process in the moments when humans interact with one another. Communication is a skill and an art, which we need to understand, develop, and enhance. In addition to public speaking classes, there is a forensics club for students who want to have fun as they improve their debate, presentation, delivery, and acting skills.
The Communication Arts Department chair is Pamela Hanson-Stewart, who has served on the EHS faculty since 1980. She has received numerous leadership and teaching awards, including the EHS Alumni Appreciation Award, Norman Bassett Teaching Award, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to Columbia University, and more.
Creative Writing and Poetry
Student writers of prose, journalism, play scripts, and poetry will find courses and co-curricular activities that provide an outlet for their talents. Edgewood publishes an award-winning annual magazine of student writing and art, The Wayfarer. In addition, students in journalism courses contribute articles and essays to the student news publications, The Envoy and The Times of Edgewood. Modern drama classes participate in the Young Playwrights program of Children’s Theatre of Madison.
Edgewood’s Physical Education Department offers ballroom dance as an elective. The Crusaders Athletic Program has a dance team that performs jazz and pom routines at sports events throughout the year and has won numerous awards and honors, including an invitation to perform at the Disney theme parks in Florida. Dancers are crucial to most musical productions as well. The drama program has won awards for choreography and individual featured dancers.
Edgewood High School stages two major productions a year, usually one drama and one musical. Major roles are often double-cast, giving more students the experience of performance. There is also a summer theatre project inviting participation from recent alumni as well as current students.
Katrina Brunner Williams is the drama director and choreographer. She has been at EHS since 2008 and has more than 20 years of award-winning experience in acting, choreography, and teaching in the Chicago and Madison areas. She is also the director of The House Theatre at Edgewood in the summer.
Our Music Department includes piano classes, band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, pep band, several different choral groups, and numerous other instrumental ensembles. In fact, the offerings are so diverse, the Music Department has its own website!
The Music Department chair is Carrie Backman, a 1999 EHS alumna who has taught at Edgewood since 2005. She also chairs the Fine Arts Festival, is instrumental director for musicals, coordinates the Pizzicato string instrument program, and oversees liturgical musicians.
Serina Jolivette, who joined Edgewood in 2014, is the vocal music director for musicals and the Mass Band director, as well as the conductor of EHS choruses and the Crusader Singers show choir.
Hikari Maekawa serves as a piano teacher at Edgewood High School and also created a piano program called Vivace Piano. The program is sponsored by EHS and offers private lessons to all ages and ability levels in the Madison community.
Our Visual Arts Department facilities includes designated art rooms for 2D, 3D, and photographic art. As part of the art co-curriculum, students can practice their expertise by working on the Crusader yearbook, The Wayfarer student literary magazine, or in the Underground Society of Art.
Mark Thering, who has been a faculty member since 1974, heads the Visual Arts Department. He holds numerous production and professional awards and also serves as the yearbook advisor, set director, and a Fine Arts Festival committee member.
There are a variety of fine arts co-curricular opportunities for Edgewood students.
In addition to musical performance opportunities offered directly through the Music Department, Edgewood students can audition to participate in the a cappella Edgetones or the musical productions, either as a stage performer or a member of the pit orchestra. Science teacher Eric Pantano, who has been at EHS since 2002, is the advisor to the Edgetones.
Laughing Stock is the EHS improvisational comedy troupe that helps students practice skills in thinking fast on their feet and making others laugh. The group performs a couple times a year. Science teacher Eric Pantano is the advisor to Laughing Stock.
Hear what a couple current members of Laughing Stock have to say about participating.