Pam Gamboa Petersen, or Pam Petersen as many know her today is one of the most fascinating jack-of-all-trades any one would come to know. She is a versatile vocalist with dynamic and powerful vocal cords that span 5 octaves and a multi-instrumentalist who plays keyboards, guitar and ukulele; a musical arranger who writes lead sheets for musical ensembles and vocal scores for choirs; a music instructor who has over 30 years of teaching voice, piano, guitar, ukulele and music theory; a choreographer, director, producer, engineer, computer programmer, do-it-yourselfer, the list goes on..
Pam was born in Manila, Philippines where she started honing her skills, music and otherwise. She started playing the piano at age 5 and began teaching voice, piano and guitar at "Scherzo School of Music", Manila (owned and operated by Lita Zagala) at age 14. She went to Benedictine Abbey School where she did vocal arrangements for choirs as well as conducting or accompanying them on the piano. She also choreographed for dance and cheer leading competitions and directed and acted in school plays. She graduated in 1981 with "The Leadership Award" which is equivalent to graduating with first honors. She continued on to college attending "De La Salle University" where she joined the "DLSU chorale" singing lead in many productions - she credits the chorale as her influence to jazz, being introduced to the music of Duke Ellington, Gershwin, Ella Fitzgerald and the Manhattan Transfer. She graduated at the young age of 19 with a degree in "Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management Engineering with a minor in Chemical Engineering".
Still continuing to teach at the music school after college, she also furthered her computer skills by garnering a scholarship from IBM Philippines where she also interned for a short period (Pam was one of the 28 "IBM Scholars" chosen out of over 300 entrants at that time). She was discovered by Marissa Albert, a renowned talent manager in the Philippines, while performing for a recital for the music school sometime in 1987. Marissa further discovered Pam's knack for doing comedy and voice impersonations and decided to incorporate this act in many of her concerts in the entertainment circuit in Manila. Many positive published reviews emerged after every concert but one stood out the most which coined her "The singer with a thousand voices". More opportunities followed since, including doing TV commercials, recording radio commercial jingles, performing in stage plays and musicals, guesting in television situation comedies, co-hosting and singing in many television variety shows. Pam has performed with many world-class musicians including world-renowned jazz pianist, Bobby Enriquez who spoke highly of her. Pam's last performance in Manila was in 1991, opening up for a February concert for Grammy award winning R&B singer, James Ingram at the Philippine Folk Arts Theater. She has since traveled to and performed in concerts in San Francisco, Oakland, Singapore and Guam.
Pam found herself landing on Maui after her many travels, hooking up with a popular local club band, "Asian Blend" lead by Mitchell Hazama. As fate would have it, what meant to be a short stint turned out to be over ten years when she met her husband Paul Petersen in the first days of performing with the band. Asian Blend recorded "Maui Magic" in 1992, which was nominated as best new single by the Na Hoku Hanohano awards.
Paul and Pam as husband and wife, opened "Maui Ukulele" in 1993 where they manufactured and sold "Nahenahe" brand ukuleles. Paul, being the luthier, and Pam the engineer who incorporated her hi-tech skills, doing computer programs for a laser machine and CAD programming for a CAD-operated routing machine to facilitate the building and design of their guitars and ukuleles. Being the musician that she was, Pam offered lifetime free ukulele lessons to every Nahenahe ukulele owner during the weekends at their home. In 2000 they both decided to close the business and go full-time doing music, henceforth, the Pam Petersen Band was born.
Today, you will find Pam performing throughout the island of Maui for conventions, weddings and other occasions in various venues, either as a soloist or with her band. Being the versatile person that she is, she has over a thousand songs in her repertoire, ranging in genre, which include pop, R&B, jazz, Hawaiian, disco, rock and roll, rock, funk, classical and many more, with configurations up to a 6-piece band. Pam is definitely a favorite choice for booking agents when it comes to clients with special song requests, being the musical arranger that she is, not to mention the 5-octave powerful vocal range she can exhibit!