Jazz Ensembles & Orchestra



Jazz Combos & Jazz Vocals

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Seattle Spotlight Jazz Ensembles (SSJE) Combos

SSJE is the perfect home for driven performers dedicated to advancing their skills. SSJE combos will build ensemble experience through weekly rehearsals culminating in higher caliber performances in well known venues such as Boxleys and Eagan's Ballard Jam House.

Come join like-minded musicians and learn how to effectively convey your musical ideas with stylistic authenticity in group melody, harmony, and tight rhythm.

Spotlight combo directors are seasoned professional musicians and educators, dedicated to nurturing your musical journey.

We strongly encourage anyone in high school and beyond to audition for these limited spaces!

Dates/Times: Wednesdays 6:30-8:30pm, January-May 2024

Performances: March, April, and May

Seattle Spotlight Jazz Ensembles (SSJE) Vocals

Vocalists will participate in weekly master class rehearsals centered on performing classic jazz arrangements. Special attention will be given to microphone technique, capturing the essence of swing, mastering song forms, and expanding their knowledge of standard jazz repertoire and vocabulary.

Students will also be introduced to the art of improvisation within song structures and explore various rhythmic styles within the jazz genre. Our emphasis will be on achieving rhythmic and tonal precision, enhancing stage presence, and fostering meaningful audience engagement.

Please visit the Choir page for additional vocal information and singing opportunities.

Spotlight vocal directors are seasoned professional musicians and educators, dedicated to nurturing your musical journey.

We strongly encourage anyone in high school and beyond to audition for these limited spaces! No jazz experience required. Prior vocal experience strongly recommended.

Dates/Times: Wednesdays 7-9pm, January-May 2024

Performances: March, April, and May

Please note that for the protection of our students and their creative environment, we only allow Spotlight Repertory NW staff members and approved volunteers into our classrooms containing minor children. For any questions, please contact us at info@spotlightrepnw.org. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Meet our SSJE Combos Directors

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Max Holmberg


Drummer, Bandleader, and Educator


Max Holmberg is a Seattle-based drummer, bandleader, and educator. While he started drumming at a very young age, Max kickstarted his love of jazz in Seattle's Eckstein Middle and Roosevelt High schools' jazz programs. He then moved to Boston where he earned his B.M. at the Berklee College of Music. Max has performed in 7 countries and also with touring Broadway shows. Closer to home in Seattle, he hosts the Sunday night jam session at the Angry Beaver in Greenwood and can be found performing live and on the radio with many diverse projects and bands including the Alex Dugdale BandDanny Quintero Band, Jacqueline Tabor Jazz Band, 200 TrioThe Arsonists, the Eric Patterson Band, The Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and the Kareem Kandi Band, as well as teaching out of his studio and at the Seattle Drum School.

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Alex Dugdale


Multi-Instrumentalist (FADE Jazz Quintet) and Educator


Check him out!

Alex Dugdale was adopted from Cali, Colombia and raised in Seattle. After graduating from Roosevelt High School, Alex studied saxophone performance at the Eastman school of music in Rochester NY. He returned to Seattle and formed his own jazz quintet while also becoming a first call performer with many of Seattle’s finest bands including the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and The Seattle Symphony. Alex is also a passionate educator teaching both tap dance and music as a full-time teacher and guest educator for the last decade. When Alex is not performing with his own bands, he can be found teaching elementary band and orchestra for Seattle Public Schools and tap dance courses for the University of Washington dance department.

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-Founders

Seth DeWhitt

Seth DeWhitt


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.

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SSJO Seattle Jazz Orchestra performing at Castle Pine

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

SSJO Performances

Check back frequently for our 2023-24 Season performances!

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

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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