Biography

 
 

Ernest Caneva


Delwood Park, now part of the Lockport Township Park District, was originally a private amusement park
with rides, a grandstand, harness racing and baseball games. Visitors would travel by rail from Chicago and other communities to visit the park-and to sit on the grassy hills and hear the band play, says George Pierard, who plays trumpet. "They had a gazebo bandshell, box lunches and 10-cent dances-all the things you hear about in the movies."

The Delwood Park Band faded out around 1915, but was resurrected in the late 1970s by Ernest "Ernie" Caneva, the band director at Lockport High School from 1932 to 1972.

Caneva endeared himself to the community in 1962 when he took the school band to Mason City, Iowa, where it won the title "Music Man Band" in a promotional contest for the movie "The Music Man." The Park District in 1976 renamed the bandshell in his honor: the Ernest O. Caneva Performing Arts Center.

The reorganized Delwood Park Band lasted six or seven years into the mid-1980s until Caneva could no longer direct because of poor health. He died in 1992.