Mel Canales was a charter member of the Santa Clara Vanguard and one of the first members to come to the Vanguard from schools in the city of San Jose. Mel’s talent as a soprano and mellophone player were frequently utilized and featured in Gail Royer’s scores while Mel was a marching member. As the Vanguard grew to be a contender, Mel took on a leadership role, working with the horn line as a member/instructor. After he aged out he became a horn instructor and helped the corps capture its first two DCI Championships in 1973 and 1974.
During Mel’s years in leadership he mentored countless young horn players and helped them become the best musicians they could be. Mel also helped establish many of the early traditions that the members of today still value. His contributions to the Santa Clara Vanguard hornline greatly contributed to building this small corps from Santa Clara, California into the powerhouse that it is in today’s drum corps world.