James L. Gallo
James L. Gallo, 87, of North Port, Fla., and formerly of Mansfield, Mass., died on December 20, 2015 at Tidewell Hospice House in Sarasota, Fla.
He was born in Boston, Mass. on September 5, 1928 to the late Thomas J. and Lena (Sinnopoli) Gallo, and was the beloved husband of the late Marjorie P. (Rotchford) Gallo, for over 51 years.
As a young boy, Jim fell passionately in love with the trumpet. He formed his own band as a seventh grader in Roslindale, Mass., and was also an enthusiastic participant in the Holy Name CYO band there. He was a graduate of Boston University, where he earned a bachelor’s, and later a master’s degree in music. While at BU, he joined and actively recruited his classmates for the 215th Army Band in Boston.
Following his graduation from BU, Jim was hired by the Mansfield Public Schools to start a band program. Beginning with 11 students, he worked tirelessly to develop the Mansfield High School “Hornet” Band into the marching powerhouse it became in the ’60s and ’70s, numbering more than 125 members The organization soon became one of the finest marching bands in New England, garnering a bevy of trophies and first-place awards. Its performance venues included the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, New York’s World’s Fair, Disney World, Fenway Park with the Red Sox, Gillette Stadium with the Patriots, and countless music festivals and other parades.
At the same time, Mansfield’s concert band grew and prospered. During Jim’s tenure, the band traveled from Maine to Virginia, participating in 17 exchange concerts with other high school groups. His premier travel adventure came, however, in 1977, when he took the band, drill team and color guard on a 17-day concert tour of Ireland.
Alongside his Mansfield achievements, Jim was also the music director for St. William’s CYO band of Dorchester, Mass., where his students consistently came away from CYO competitions with first-place awards. He also worked with other CYO bands in the Boston area including St. Kevin’s, St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s of Medway.
On many weekends, Jim managed to find time to perform with area dance and stage bands, accompanying such greats as Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr. He also performed under Arthur Fiedler at the Boston Pops Esplanade concerts.
Following his “retirement” from Mansfield in 1980, Jim began a second career when he was hired to start a middle school band in Punta Gorda, Fla. Like his band in Mansfield, the Punta Gorda group expanded and prospered and was the first middle school band to perform at Disney World. Jim’s latest musical associations included playing with several Dixieland groups, as well as the North Port Concert Band and the Port Charlotte Concert Band.
He was inducted into the Massachusetts Drum Corps and Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2015.
Jim’s survivors include cousins and literally thousands of students whom he considered to be his extended family. His influence on his students is infinite as he discovered during Mansfield’s band reunion in 2010 and St. Williams’ in 2011.
His funeral will be held on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in San Pedro Catholic Church’s Chapel, 14380 Tamiami Trail, North Port, followed by entombment at Charlotte Memorial Cemetery, 9400 Indian Spring Cemetery Road, Punta Gorda.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jim’s memory to the Marjorie P. & James L. Gallo Scholarship Fund c/o CSF of Mansfield Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 23, Mansfield, MA 02048; Humane Society of Sarasota County, www.hssc.org; San Pedro Catholic Church, www.sanpedrocc.org; or Tidewell Hospice, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238.
Funeral arrangements by Charlotte Memorial Funeral Home, Cemetery and Crematory. Online condolences may be made at www.charlottememorial.com.