Since stepping into the role of Executive Director of The Cavaliers in the fall of 2015, my goal has been the improvement and growth of the organization so that we can best serve our students, our staff, and to make our community proud.
My drum corps story started back in the fall of 1998 with Teal Sound, a brand new drum corps based out of Jacksonville, Fla. Watching DCI finals the following year, I remember sitting in awe of every single moment I witnessed from the stands, but I thought I would never be as good as those incredible performers on the field in front of me. That is, until a Cavalier alum took the time to say, “you can do this.” He encouraged me to take a chance on auditioning for The Cavaliers, because he knew I was so inspired in that moment. He knew that The Cavaliers would influence me in a way I couldn’t quite understand at the time, and he was right.
Today, as the organization’s leader, I’m committed to furthering our positive impact in a safe, respectful, and meaningful way.
After working with our Board of Directors in recent years, I know The Cavaliers have taken important steps forward to build a culture of mutual care and respect within the organization. More importantly, if and when information of a troubling nature is reported, the organization partners with our compliance task force to address complaints and to ensure the organization’s policies are followed for the safety of all involved. Our task force conducts timely and thorough investigations; reports findings to the Board of Directors; and notifies appropriate authorities, if warranted.
On March 23, 2018, we released this statement highlighting the policies and procedures implemented over the past several years to address student and workplace safety. Our policies establish the standards of behavior here at The Cavaliers and underscore that any misconduct will be stamped out immediately. Training and ongoing discussions are then used to reinforce our policies aimed at creating a positive environment, including background checks; reporting procedures; non-fraternization; bullying; hazing; sexual harassment, abuse, and intimidation; retaliation; and whistleblower.
Since then, we’ve seen disturbing and heartbreaking stories about sexual abuse that have rocked the drum corps world. I say with full conviction that we stand with the brave victims who have told their story and the incredible young people, staffers, and volunteers at The Cadets and YEA. With the support of the community, we're confident they will persevere with dignity, strength, and pride.
These recent events serve as a reminder that our work is never finished. No organization is perfect; including The Cavaliers. That’s why it's critical to go beyond policy and educate our people on recognizing the signs of misconduct, reporting procedures, and taking immediate corrective action. We can never stop improving every aspect of what we do.
Over this next few months, The Cavaliers have committed to:
- Specialized training & discussions facilitated by outside HR professionals and consultants;
- Deep-dive review of the reporting tools available and escalation options;
- Partnering with DCI and the community to keep student and workplace safety the top priority;
- Kickoff Symposium on April 28 to update our parents and alumni;
- Reduced rehearsal schedule for the drum corps move-in weekend focused on developing our people around the mission, vision, and values of The Cavaliers; and
- Weekly safety training schedule for Summer 2018.
My door is open, and I’m listening for every opportunity to enhance the protection of our people today. The Cavaliers do not tolerate harassment; past, present, and future. You can contact me at Chris.Lugo@cavaliers.org or submit any concerns to our ethics inbox at email@example.com or anonymously at https://cavaliers.org/whistleblower.
I am proud of the steps we’re taking to address student and workplace safety here at The Cavaliers and in our community, and I welcome your feedback as we continue to improve.
Executive Director, The Cavaliers
Founded in 1948 from Boy Scout Troop 111, The Cavaliers are one of the most successful drum and bugle corps in history, winning 20 national championships, including seven Drum Corps International world championships since 1992.
The Cavaliers provide a variety of educational and performance programs for young people, including GearWORKS, Cavaliers Indoor Percussion, Chromium Winds, Crystal Lake Thunder, and Midwest Connection. The organization delivers life-changing experiences that go beyond music and performing arts to build personal accountability, excellence, teamwork, and camaraderie.
The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization sponsored by The Village of Rosemont, Illinois.