Joe Giattina's love for music lasted from his days as first violinist with the Ensley High School orchestra through his days as leader of the popular Bama Cardinals Big Band, and continued even after he gave up the band December 31, 1992. Joe, who fo … show more
Joe Giattina's love for music lasted from his days as first violinist with the Ensley High School orchestra through his days as leader of the popular Bama Cardinals Big Band, and continued even after he gave up the band December 31, 1992. Joe, who formed his first band in the 1930's, hoped to make his living as a bandleader, but found that music would not support his family, so he took a position with Brown Service Insurance Company, later called Liberty National Insurance Company. He eventually became vice president of the company from which he retired in 1974.
The later Bama Cardinals, which started as a Shrine band playing free engagements, realized they needed a strong leader to get the band going, and Joe seemed like the obvious answer. He became their leader in 1978. The band was called Joe Giattina and his Bama Cardinals until he turned the band over to Don Cornutt in 1992, when the name was changed to The Joe Giattina Orchestra. Don led the band until 1997, when it was turned over to Bill Jeffries, the present leader.
Joe's lovely wife, Grace, always first in his life—even above his music--passed away in 1994. After she had a stroke, Joe spent as much time as possible with her. They were married 60 years, and her death took its toll on Joe.
Even after retiring from the band, Joe remained in close contact with all the guys. The orchestra has been together 24 years, playing in Birmingham and surrounding cities for wedding receptions, dance clubs, deb parties, birthday celebrations, anniversary parties, and for many civic organizations. They always end their year in the Grand Ball Room at The Club at the top of Red Mountain,
Our CD is dedicated to Joe Giattina, who passed away August 1998. Through his love and devotion to big band music we are “Still Swinging.” We will always miss you, Joe.