Gary Oberwanowicz

Gary was the consummate musician. A natural talent on nearly any instrument he chose to play, Gary’s true instrument of mastery was the guitar. His facility on the guitar transcended genre, style, period and culture. In his hands it felt like an extension of himself.

‘Foot’, a nickname given to Gary at a young age, was also an incredible soprano player. As a young member of the daunting St. Andrew’s Bridgemen in the early 1970’s and later The Bayonne Bridgemen soprano lines, Gary was double and triple tounging early in his career.

He soon became a soloist and member of any, and all small ensemble work that Larry Kerschner arranged for the Corps. He was asked to be a part of those groups because Gary would always be spot on and nail every note. Gary aged out of The Bridgemen in 1980, finishing in 3rd place at the DCI Championships.

After a short time off, Gary joined the Bushwackers as part of the brass staff in 1982 and continued on to 1987 where his responsibilities during this time included Assistant Brass Instructor, Brass Caption Head, Show Coordinator, and Arranger.

The Bushwackers won their first Championship in 1986 with Gary as caption head of one of the best brass sections in the Corps’ history. He was able to take a group of individuals with various levels of skill and abilities and mold them into a powerhouse hornline. Everyone knew that when his ‘praying mantis’ hands got going, things were starting to sound great, and that Bushwackers Labor Day ‘sizzle’ the hornline produced, was ‘Foot’s’ doing!

His personality was unique and Gary often had an interesting way of motivating people under his tutelage, and fellow staff members on his team, to move in the direction he saw as the best path……but the fact remains, he was more often right than not. Please help us welcome Gary into the Bushwacker Hall of Fame.

Since Gary lost his battle with Cancer in January of 2015, his children, Hope and Jacob accepted on his behalf.

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