The Bushwackers Drum and Bugle Corps, an all-age ensemble, took the spotlight in one of the country’s top late-night television shows when six members of the group performed in a segment with comedian John Oliver during his time as anchor on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”
Oliver parodied CNN and other cable news networks’ use of loud, thumping rock music playing over anchors reading the news. His take, called “The Marching Band News You Can Barely Hear,” featured the Bushwackers playing loudly and marching around his desk in circles as he attempted to yell over them.
“It was very exciting; I can’t even describe how excited and proud I was of the group,” says Bob Gupta, Bushwackers director. “It was a great experience for me and my members.”
A producer from the show discovered the Bushwackers through an Internet search for local marching groups and called the organization the day before filming. The corps hails from Princeton, N.J., and the show is filmed in New York City.
“They said we have a segment where we need a marching band, but all the schools were out, and because this is our prime season, we had the numbers to do it,” Gupta says. “The reason a [Drum Corps Associates] corps works out good is that [Drum Corps International] corps are all out traveling on tour, but DCA is weekends only but not during the week.”
Although the corps is often hired for corporate events, this is the group’s first major television appearance. “To have an appearance on a primetime, national show and in a very nice segment is a huge deal for us,” Gupta says. “Normally in these cases, the marching band is just a punch line, but we had some decent coverage and camera time and really were a part of the bit. It was a great experience.”