Joseph J. Monaldi, 53, electrician who played trumpet in family band

September 15, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Joseph James Monaldi, an electrician who played the trumpet in a family band that performed at Little Italy festivals and social events, died of an infection related to kidney disease Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 53 and had lived for the past decade in Stewartstown, Pa.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Trinity Street, he attended St. Leo Parochial School and followed his Italian-born father in taking up music -- starting to play trumpet at age 3.

"He was chosen by my father, out of his four other brothers, to play trumpet because he was the only one who could blow in it and make the best sound," said his sister, Rosanna Biscotti of Severna Park.

Mr. Monaldi was a 1970 graduate of Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School. Trained as an electrician, he worked for Milton Electric Co. before becoming a city employee. Among his duties was putting up lights and wiring for outdoor festivals, including the Flower Mart and the old City Fair.

In 1982, he took a federal job with the National Security Agency and became a facility project manager. He received numerous awards of excellence at NSA, his family said.

But many evenings and weekends were devoted to music, as he dressed in a tuxedo and joined his father and brothers in the Monaldi Brothers Band, in which he had played since age 12.

"People followed the Monaldi Brothers to bull roasts, crab feasts and weddings," his sister said. "They had a loyal following."

The band traveled to Italy in 1966 and 1979 and performed at Pesaro, Ravenna, Rimini and Cattolica. In later years, the group made compact discs and cassettes of old Italian and pop music favorites.

The Monaldi Brothers became known at Little Italy's annual St. Anthony and St. Gabriel festivals. Mr. Monaldi last performed in July.

Family members said he was a deeply religious man and joined a prayer group at work. He was a member and Eucharistic minister at St. John Roman Catholic Church in New Freedom, Pa.

A former resident of Highlandtown and Overlea, Mr. Monaldi tried to tailor his performing schedule around Baltimore Ravens football games, which he watched at a sports bar in Timonium, wearing a Ravens T-shirt.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Leo The Great Roman Catholic Church, Exeter and Stiles streets, where he was baptized and married.

Survivors, in addition to his sister, include his wife of 24 years, the former Kathleen A. Tribull; a son, Daniel Monaldi, and two daughters, Michele Monaldi and Christina Monaldi, all of Stewartstown; his mother, Maria Monaldi of Baltimore; four brothers, Pete and Frank Monaldi, both of Overlea, Olindo Monaldi of Woodbine and Mario Monaldi of Perry Hall; another sister, Maria Oma of Overlea; and a grandson.

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