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Donald Ernest Caneva

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Donald Ernest Caneva ENCINITAS -- Don was born in Lockport, IL and passed away Friday, August 29, 2008 in San Diego, after a long illness. He taught music at every school level from elementary through college, as a third-generation band director. He received a Bachelors of Music Education degree from DePaul University and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii. He began his teaching career at age 17 as the director of the St. Dennis Band in Lockport, IL. After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Don organized the band program at the new John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL. During his time, the Hersey Bands were privileged to perform with some of the "giants" in the music field, including Frederick Fennell, Carmen Dragon, Arthur Fiedler, Rafael Mendez and "Doc" Severinsen. They also performed at numerous prestigious events which included the Cotton Bowl Parade, Orange Bowl Parade, Tournament of Roses Parade, and the College All-Star Game. The Hersey Band's excellence was recognized through placement on the Sousa Foundation's Roll of Honor of Historic High School Concert Bands. In 1976, at age 39, Don was one of the youngest band directors to be elected to membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association (ABA). He served on the ABA's International Relations and Enrichment Committees, and as chairman of the ABA Foundation. Additionally, Don served as the ABA Chairman of the Sudler Committee until his death In 1978, Don moved with his family to San Diego, CA. and founded the ûWorld of Musicú Festivals, which for over 25 years held competitive music festivals for junior and senior high school bands, orchestras, and choirs throughout the United States. Don was appointed Director of the Coastal Communities Concert Band in Encinitas, in 1987 and served until the time of his death. The original 30-member band grew to a full 80 plus member concert band that traveled extensively to destinations such as Hawaii, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. The band won many prestigious awards, including the "Sudler Silver Scroll Award" from the John Philip Sousa Foundation (1998), and the Gold Prize at the International Alpine Music Festival in Switzerland (2001). In 2007 the documentary film "Community Band - Our Lives in Music" was produced in association with the Coastal Communities Concert Band. The film highlights the band and its members with behind-the scenes stories of passion, dedication, commitment, and hope. It was recently awarded an Emmy Award and has been broadcast extensively on local cable TV and on KPBS. He is survived by his wife, Brenda; four children, Chris (Jal), Keith, Amy, and Danielle; seven grandchildren, sisters, Denise DeSanto (Jim) of Libertyville, IL, Diane Caneva (Anthony Massa) of Addison, TX; brother, Tom Caneva (DeeDee) of Muncie, IN; stepmother, Lillian Caneva of Champaign, IL; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Don was preceded in death by his father Ernest, mother Jeanne and sister, Maureen. Services will be held Saturday, September 6 at 11:30 AM at the Carlsbad Community Church located at 3175 Harding St, Carlsbad, CA 92008. A reception will be held immediately following at the Carlsbad Senior Center located across the street from the church. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to either the Coastal Communities Concert Band Foundation, 3651 Mt. Ashmun Ct., San Diego, CA 92111 to be used to commission a new concert band composition in Don’s name; to the H.I.A./Caneva Scholarship, John Hersey High School, 1900 East Thomas, Arlington Heights, Il 60004; or to the foundation with the American Bandmasters Association. 893 Park Place, Iowas City, IA 52246.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Sept. 4, 2008
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