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Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra performs after three year hiatus

Jim Levitt
The saxophone section of the Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra.

Marge Rosen, a long-time trumpeter with the Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra, is also the orchestra's executive director. Her focus has been on getting the band back to work.

As with most musicians, the lockdowns and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic were a devastating setback for the women of SWOJO. Not being able to perform live or gather for rehearsals took its toll on the orchestra.

Rosen found some creative solace in using the downtime to develop and market a card game: "Pirate Party: Women of the High Seas" is based on characters inspired by historical figures. It was a fun challenge, but she told KNKX she'd rather be playing music, not cards.

Rosen said she's excited to bring the orchestra back to live shows. There are new musicians adding fresh energy to the band, and new members of the orchestra's board of directors ready to propel the organization to the next level.

The orchestra will continue to offer its annual composition contest for women composers, and Rosen plans to increase SWOJO's educational outreach programs. She also has her eye (and ears) on Terri Lyne Carrington's "New Standards," a collection of lead sheets of jazz tunes written by women composers as a source of new material for the band.

SWOJO returns to the stage on Dec.13 at Seattle's Royal Room for "A Jazzy Holiday" show, playing arrangements of Christmas music as well as some new compositions.

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.