Joan T. Lanza, 64; music was her calling

Posted: October 14, 2001

Joan Trombetta Lanza, a popular church organist, singer and piano teacher in Philadelphia, died Friday of a stroke at Albert Einstein Medical Center. She was 64.

Teamed with her husband, Louis Lanza, a longtime violinist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Mrs. Lanza performed at many weddings, funerals, and other special functions in the Philadelphia region.

"We did nothing but perform music and make people happy," said Mr. Lanza, 65.

The two met at the funeral of a mutual friend in 1963 and six months later went out on their first date.

"I tried to find fault with her," Mr. Lanza said.

He could find none, he said, and on their third date, he proposed marriage.

They were engaged three years and were married in 1966.

Mrs. Lanza grew up in Port Richmond and graduated from Little Flower High School in 1955. She later taught music at St. Martin of Tours Church and became the organist at the Camden Cathedral.

She graduated from the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in music. From 1960 to 1966, she taught music and was music director at Camden Catholic High School.

Mrs. Lanza taught music to her two children, Lou Lanza, now a jazz and pop vocalist, and Cara Lanza Hurley, who is studying for a doctorate in clinical psychology.

The two children performed in many concerts with their parents.

Mrs. Lanza's only brother, Vincent Trombetta, was a musician on The Mike Douglas Show for 18 years.

Mrs. Lanza lived with her husband in the city's East Oak Lane section until she died.

A viewing is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Mother of Divine Grace Church, at Thompson and Cambria Streets in the city's Port Richmond section. Mrs. Lanza had been musical director at the church. Viewing will continue from 9 a.m. Tuesday until the 10 a.m. Funeral Mass. Interment will be in Resurrection Cemetery in Bensalem, Bucks County.

Robert Moran's e-mail address is bmoran@phillynews.com.

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