Maria Monaldi, the booking agent for her sons' Monaldi Brothers Band who was known as Mamma Monaldi, died of a respiratory ailment March 25 at Mercy Medical Center. The Little Italy resident was 86.
Born in Maria Vidi in Pinzolo, Italy, in the Dolomite Alps, she came to Baltimore in 1935 with her mother. She attended St. Leo's Parochial School and joined a family business, Vidi Brothers Grinding Service, after her older brothers were drafted for military service during World War II.
"She jumped right in with her younger brother, Nilo, to help and learned how to sharpen and hone knives," said her daughter, Rosanna M. Biscotti of Severna Park. "She learned to drive a truck and went to East Baltimore businesses, the city markets and Little Italy restaurants. Sometimes she sharpened knives on the spot from the motorized grinding stone in the back of the truck."
In 1948, she took a job at Maria 300's Restaurant in Little Italy, where she met her future husband, trumpet player Olindo Monaldi, who also worked there. They married in 1949. After having five sons - including twins - she and her husband organized a band.
"They both loved music and instilled that love into their children," her daughter recalled. "She became a booking agent for the Monaldi Brothers. Because her children were so young, she had to attend functions because they were minors."
Family members said the brothers' first date was a Fourth of July party at Magothy Beach. At the time, the three oldest boys played alongside their father.
The band, which went on to include five sons, became popular in the Italian-American community and played at weddings, bull roasts, fraternal organizations and outdoor festivals. The band continues to play today.
"She was called Mamma Monaldi at music jobs," said her daughter. "My brothers always played the song 'Mamma' [to] honor her. She loved it."
Mrs. Monaldi followed sports closely. She attended games at Memorial Stadium and at Camden Yards.
A Mass was offered Saturday.
Survivors include four sons, Peter L. Monaldi and Frank J. Monaldi, both of Overlea, Olindo T. Monaldi of Woodbine and Mario A. Monaldi of Perry Hall; another daughter, Maria V. Oma of Overlea; a brother, Nilo Vidi of Woodbine; 18 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1987. A son, Joseph J. Monaldi, died in 2004.