Jazz Orchestra & Ensembles

Spotlight has a long history of including live jazz music in its various performing arts showcases and is proud to build upon that tradition with the Seattle Spotlight Jazz Orchestra.

The Seattle Spotlight Jazz Orchestra (SSJO)

SSJO started with a dream of two high school students to form a group of like-minded, dedicated jazz musicians who love the big band sound and who seek out challenging scores to play.  Spotlight founder, Frances Garcia Hoffman, gave them a home as part of her plan to create multiple instrumental opportunities in support of the community's talents.

Seattle Jazz Orchestra SSJO | Premier Seattle Jazz Orchestra

SSJO reaches across the entire Seattle region with members from West Seattle, Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Mt. Si, Carnation, and Sammamish.

Key SSJO goals:

  • To raise awareness and support of jazz within the broader community through training and education.
  • To foster connections and a sense of community while encouraging each participant to reach their personal best.
  • To develop professional performance skills and work ethic by focusing on diligence, teamwork, recording, and performing in public venues.
  • To encourage collaborative leadership skills through student-driven problem solving and direction.
  • To further the understanding and appreciation of the various styles of jazz.
  • To provide opportunities to experiment, have fun, and just jam!

Essentially Ellington Audition

In addition to performing in local community events, SSJO promotes professional musicianship by preparing and submitting audition recordings to jazz competitions.

2022-23 Season: September 2022 - May 2023

Sunday afternoons or evenings; please email SpotlightSSJO@gmail.com for specific schedule or for more information.

SSJO at Crossroads Bellevue

SSJO in A Very Broadway Holiday

Meet our SSJO Co-Founder & Leader

Seth DeWhitt

Seth DeWhitt

Tenor Saxophonist

Seth DeWhitt has led SSJO for 2 seasons since Fall 2021, and he fell in love with performing tenor sax when he joined the Inglewood Middle School jazz band program.

As the leader of The Royals, a modern band of friends since 8th grade, Seth developed a passion to share those same student-driven experiences with a big band of committed jazz musicians.

Seth is extremely grateful for Frances Garcia Hoffman's welcoming of SSJO into Spotlight and the growth opportunities that she always invites and cultivates within her Spotlight community.

Meet our SSJO Director


Jim Sisko

Bellevue College Professor,

Jazz Band Director,

Instrumental Music Coordinator

Jim Sisko has become one of the most sought-after teachers, and performers in the Northwest. The Jim Sisko Quintet has been featured at countless festivals and concert venues, including the Port Townsend Jazz Festival, Bumbershoot, The Art of Jazz Series and Jazz Under the Stars. He has performed with The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, The Manhattan Transfer, and the rock band Yes to name a few. Jim has served as principal trumpet for the Yakima Symphony and has performed with the Seattle Symphony as well. He can be heard on over 40 motion picture soundtracks, and many independent c.d. projects. Sisko’s trumpet students are well versed in both classical and jazz styles and are consistently recognized as some of the strongest players in the region. Jim has served as a Camp Director for Jazz camps throughout the Northwest and is currently the director of the Shoreline Jazz Camp. In addition to his home teaching studio, Jim is the director of the Instrumental Music program at Bellevue College and is the director of the award-winning Bellevue College Jazz Bands.

MFF_3937 crop1
SSJO Seattle Jazz Orchestra performing at Castle Pine

To book SSJO for an event, check availability by emailing SpotlightSSJO@gmail.com

Upcoming SSJO Performances

  • December 2nd & 3rd - A Very Broadway Holiday!
  • March 3rd, 2023 - Crossroads Bellevue
  • May 2023 - TBA

The Royals Modern Band

The Royals is a modern jazz-funk-rock fusion band of friends that formed in 8th grade for a Spotlight fundraiser. Since that momentous beginning, these seasoned, entertaining musicians have continued to spread their passion for jazz in private and public events (weddings, parties, music festivals, fundraisers, jazz/arts fairs, and farmers markets).

IMG_3370 The Royals Redmond Wedding June 2021

To book The Royals for an event, check availability by emailing TheRoyal6Jazz@gmail.com

Royals Logo
EHS Convocation Finale b
Rising Stars sing and dance with Shining Stars and the Encore Women's Show Choir at the Hooray for Hollywood show. CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW PERFORMANCE.
Spotlight Cabaret Fundraiser
Spotlight Night on Broadway Fundraiser