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.

The 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 Ambassador, Marwan Ghonima 2023
Pacific Jazz Ambassador 2023-24
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 2023-24
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
Guest artists, Toby Keys on piano
Guest Artist
Toby Keys

Pianist Toby Keys '22 is a former Pacific Jazz Ambassador. He grew up in Sacramento, CA, where he began to study 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.

Pacific Jazz Ambassador 2023-24
Aimee MacDonald

Aimee MacDonald '26 is a saxophonist and doubler from Houston, TX, where she graduated from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Aimee has performed at  the TMEA convention as an All-State band member, Dizzy’s Club as a featured performer with the Jazz Houston Youth Orchestra, the JEN conference with the HSPVA Jazz Combo 1 as a featured ensemble, and the Jazzaldia and Jazz at Marciac festival with Pacific Jazz Ambassadors. She has also been honored with awards such as the YoungArts merit award and the Berklee Five-Week Jazz and Gender Justice scholarship. Her musical influences include Lee Konitz, Cannonball Adderly, Dick Oatts, Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk.

Jazz Ambassador, Aimee MacDonald on saxophone
Jazz Ambassador, Leo Milano on saxophone
Pacific Jazz Ambassador 2023-24
Leo Milano

Tenor saxophone, Leo Milano '26

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.

Jazz Ambassador, Giana Pedregon on violin

Contact Us

Faye Spanos Concert Hall
Conservatory of Music

3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211