This collection of stories from people sharing their “Wisconsin Life” includes the story of Orange Crush, a high school pep band that plays as a full blown rock band. The band generally consists of a lead singer, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, and a horn section. All of which is made up almost entirely of high school students led by Burlington Middle School choir director Rod Stoughton and retired Burlington music teacher Ron Pederson.
Then Wisconsin Life travels to Madison to meet Manabu Ikeda, an artist in residence at Madison’s Chazen Art Museum. Building on the tradition of East Asian landscape painting, his pen and ink surfaces are covered with minute details of worlds within worlds, all drawn from his life experiences. Because of the exacting detail, Ikeda only completes about four square inches a day on a masterpiece that is ten feet by thirteen feet. The Wisconsin Life team follows Ikeda’s progress as he nears completion on a monumental piece.
Next, we will stay in Madison to meet Kelsy Schoenhaar, the founding artistic director and resident playwright for the Encore Studio for the Performing Arts, the only professional theater company for people with disabilities in Wisconsin. Schoenhaar and the other theater staff help the Encore Studio’s actors develop their creative voice and perform theatric works that share an authentic message about disability and culture.
Also on tap, a trip to Stevens Point to learn more about Pat Hilpert and Operation Bootstrap. At 80 some years young, Hilpert is an expert in lions, tigers and teddy bears. Hilpert has made it her very personal mission to rescue unwanted/unused stuffed animals and provide them with a second life in the loving arms of children. She has donated around 10,000 recycled stuffed animals to the local food bank, hospitals and churches – anywhere that there is a need and a child to provide the stuffed animals with a loving home.
Finally, Wisconsin Life heads back to Madison to meet Cynthia Woodland. In this animated story, Woodland interviews her grandmother, “Big Mama,” and discovers a deeper understanding of her family’s matriarch.