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Joseph Ficocelli, Sun City Pops organizer

The trombonist organized and managed the Sunshine City Pops Orchestra and was from a family of musicians.


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 7, 2001

ST. PETERSBURG -- Joseph Ficocelli, organizer and manager of the Sunshine City Pops Orchestra in the 1970s, died Tuesday (March 6, 2001) at Tandem Health Care. He was 89.

A trombonist, he was a member of a prominent musical family from Youngstown, Ohio, and the last of three brothers who came here to play.

One brother, Michael "Maestro" Ficocelli, former conductor of the Pops Orchestra and the all-volunteer St. Petersburg Community Orchestra, died two years ago. The third brother, Carmine, a violinist who was a guest conductor with the Pops Orchestra, died here in 1996.

Composed of professional musicians, many of them retired from such orchestras as the Cleveland Symphony and London Philharmonic, the Pops Orchestra played concerts in condominiums, churches, The Pier -- even in a supermarket.

Joseph Ficocelli, a member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local No. 427, also played with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Civic Opera and Florida Suncoast Opera Orchestra.

A musician since age 10, he played in Youngstown with the Pascarella Band and was a member of the Youngstown Symphony.

For 44 years, until his retirement in 1973, he was an Electrolux vacuum cleaner salesman. He was Catholic.

His wife of 49 years, Helen, died in 1987. Survivors include a daughter, Elaine Ficocelli, and two sisters, Theresa Ficocelli and Lena Velardo, all of St. Petersburg.

Friends may call Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at E. Dale Gunter Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 4100 16th St. N. A funeral will be Friday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with burial at Memorial Park Cemetery.

- Information from Times files was used in this obituary.

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