Ernest Oreste Caneva was born in Asiago Italy in 1907 and came to the United States with his parents when he was one year old. He studied music and earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees at VanderCook College in Chicago. Mr. Caneva played many instruments, including the saxophone, clarinet and accordion.
Mr. Caneva organized the Lockport Township High School Band program in 1932 with 32 students, and by 1940 the band had 100 members and was winning many awards. He ran the band program for 40 years, including the 1962 LTHS Marching Porters that won the national Music Man Marching Band Contest. The LTHS band program was enormously successful and earned national acclaim under his leadership. He also formed grade school bands in the area feeder schools, teaching students that would eventually attend LTHS. He was also a talented composer, composing approximately 70 works over the years. The Ernest O. Caneva Performing Arts Center in Dellwood Park is named in his honor. Mr. Caneva died in 1992.