Pacific Jazz Ambassadors are a jazz combo comprised of students pursuing a three-year Accelerated Bachelor of Music Honors Degree in Jazz Studies at the Conservatory of Music. This opportunity is open to five high school graduates who are exceptionally talented and motivated jazz musicians.

Pacific Jazz Ambassadors study with Pacific's Jazz Studies' faculty, visiting jazz educators, artists, clinicians,and other music professionals while working towards obtaining their undergraduate degree at University of the Pacific. They perform extensively locally, throughout the U.S. and abroad.


The Ambassadors represent our institution and exemplify excellence of  musical education at Pacific. Regular international performances are a primary component of the Ambassadors' education. They also play locally and at national jazz venues and events such as:

  • The Monterey Jazz Festival
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center
  • JEN Conference
  • Seattle Jazz Experience and other

Educational Opportunities

The Ambassadors take group classes and have individual lessons, participate in group rehearsals and coaching, as well as in discussions with visiting artists and clinicians. They work in the on-campus recording studio producing at least one recording project each year.

Visiting Artists & Clinicians

Collaboration with the visiting professional artists and clinicians is a high priority. This engagement may include private lessons, rehearsal and coaching, special topic discussions, and sessions on professional career development. Frequently, the visiting artists share the stage performing with the Ambassadors.

  • Dave Brubeck
  • Carl Allen
  • Donald Brown
  • Dee Daniels
  • Taylor Eigsti
  • Eric Harland
  • Jimmy Heath
  • Vincent Herring
  • Fred Hersch
  • Conrad Herwig
  • Freddie Hubbard
  • Gregory Hutchinson
  • Ingrid Jensen
  • Geoffrey Keezer
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Bennie Maupin 
  • Christian McBride
  • Bobby Militello
  • Mulgrew Miller
  • Lewi Nash
  • Nicolas Payton
  • Chris Potter
  • Joshua Redman
  • Rufus Reid 
  • Reuben Rogers 
  • Edward Simon 
  • Mary Stallings 
  • Helen Sung 
  • Greg Tardy
  • Bobby Watson
  • Jeff "Tain" Watts 
  • Steve Wilson 
  • Miguel Zenon

Pacific Jazz Ambassadors play "New York 19" by John Lewis

Pacific Jazz Ambassador, Marwan Ghonima
Pacific Jazz Ambassador 2021-22
Marwan Ghonima

Marwan Ghonima '24 plays upright and electric bass. He graduated from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX. His background is in jazz, blues, R/B, gospel and hip-hop. He believes that all genres of music are equally important art forms and he hopes to master as many as possible to become a diverse musician. Marwan also values the art of arrangement and composition planning to pursue a career in music directing for events, shows and tours. His biggest influences include Quincy Jones, Christian McBride, Kanye West, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Gil Evans, Hiatus Kaiyote, J Dilla, Fred Hammond, Jaco Pastorius, and Herbie Hancock. 

Pacific Jazz Ambassador 2021-22
Samson Hulett

Samson Hulett '24 is a drummer from Sacramento, CA. He began playing drums at five but became interested in jazz as a middle school student. He studied drumming techniques with his mentor Tim Metz, played at music camps, in a high school honor band, and in the local jazz community. Later he studied with world-class musician Carl Allen. Samson is committed to the art of making good music.

Pacific Jazz Ambassador, Samson Hulett
Tal Kalman, Pacific Jazz Ambassador
Pacific Jazz Ambassador 2020-22
Tal Kalman

Tal Kalman '22 is a saxophonist from Rehovot, Israel. He began his jazz career at the age of 14 at Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts in Givaataim, Israel. During his studies in the Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv, Tal received numerous scholarships and awards such as Israel Conservatory excellence in Jazz scholarship, Berklee Five-Week Jazz workshop and Berklee Global Jazz at Newport. He played around the globe at events such as the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Rex (Toronto), Cambridge Jazz Festival, the Red Sea Jazz Festival, JEN conferences and Beit Ha’amodim (Tel Aviv). Tal was mentored by Terry Lynn Carrington, Danilo Perez, Miguel Zenon, Aaron Goldberg and Joel Frahm.

Pacific Jazz Ambassador 2020-22
Toby Keys

Toby Keys '22 is a pianist from Sacramento, CA, who began studying jazz on the clarinet in a middle school. While in high school, Toby extended his interest to jazz piano and he played both instruments for Rio Americano High School's Jazz Ensemble at events such as Essentially Ellington at New York’s Lincoln Center, Swing Central in Savannah, GA, and at California’s Monterey Jazz Festival. His musical idols include Bill Evans, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. After graduating from Pacific, Toby hopes to embark on a musical career that marries tradition with innovation.


Pacific Jazz Ambassador, Toby Keys
Pacific Jazz Ambassador, Gianna Pedregon
Pacific Jazz Ambassador 2021-22
Gianna Pedregon

Violinist and composer Gianna Pedregon '24 grew up in Los Angeles, CA, where she attended the Orange County School of the Arts. She has performed in jazz combos with Monterey Next Generation Women in Jazz, the NYO Jazz and the Colburn Jazz Workshop, as well as at the Monterey Jazz Festival and other events in the U.S. As a soloist, Gianna has received awards such as YoungArts and the Downbeat Music Awards. She has been mentored by and/or played with Terri Lyne Carrington, Wayne Bergeron, Kenny Rampton, Javon Jackson, Tamir Hendelman and Josh Nelson.

Contact Us

Conservatory of Music

3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211