Don Warren founded The Cavaliers in 1948 as the drum and bugle corps for Boy Scout Troop 111 in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Warren would go on to lead The Cavaliers and make his mark in the marching arts world, with more than 20 national championships and seven Drum Corps International world championships under his belt. Most importantly, he would help cultivate the next generation of leaders, educators and beyond.

“Our hearts are heavy today,” said Chris Hartowicz, Board President. “To the Cavaliers, Don was more than just a name or a figure in our rich drum corps history. He was a man who deeply cared for all of us and who we loved deeply in return.” “We stand in gratitude not only of the past history but the future of The Cavaliers thanks to the leadership he instilled in all of us,” Hartowicz said.

“The first Cavaliers weren’t musicians, destined to lead orchestras. That ragtag bunch was destined to build city streets and bridges, root around in sinks and sewers, fry short-order eggs and fix engines. They were Chicago old-neighborhood kids, looking to kill time on a Saturday afternoon. They wore a khaki Boy Scout uniform parading down Milwaukee Avenue, played a straight bugle – no valves – and tied the knots for their own snare drum slings, thank you.” — Colt Foutz

Warren inspired his troops to pick up instruments after watching the Racine Scouts perform at a Boy Scout jamboree at Chicago’s Soldier Field in 1946, creating the Chicago Cavaliers. Under Warren’s leadership, The Cavaliers won the VFW National Championship title in Miami in 1957 and rode on to an undefeated season in 1961, later reprised in 2002. Throughout the 1960’s, Warren’s Chicago Cavaliers were the drum corps force to be reckoned with.

Warren was one of the founding fathers of what would eventually become Drum Corps International (DCI), along with Jim Jones (Troopers), Bill Howard (Madison Scouts), Dave Kampschroer (Blue Stars) and Gail Royer (Santa Clara Vanguard). The series of meetings and phone calls between this group throughout the winter of 1970 changed the face of the marching arts and established the foundation for the activity as we know it today.

Warren handed over the management of the corps in 1975 and continued to serve the organization as chairman emeritus and founder on the board of directors. Beyond his continued commitment to the corps following his departure, Warren was inducted into the DCI Hall of Fame in 1985.

“May our dear friend, leader, founder, and giant to us all rest in peace.”
— Dan Acheson, Chief Executive Officer of Drum Corps International

The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps is eternally grateful to Don Warren for his passion, commitment and dedication to the marching arts and the opportunities he created for hundreds of young performers. Warren will be dearly missed, but his legacy will live on with every step taken and every note played.

Wednesday, June 12:
Wake at The Elms Funeral Home, 4-9 p.m.
Thursday, June 13:
Wake at The Elms Funeral Home, 1-9 p.m.
Friday, June 14:
Lying in State at St. Monica’s Church, 9-10 a.m.
Mass at St. Monica’s Church, 10:00 a.m.
Entombment at St. Joseph Cemetery, 12:00 p.m.

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