“Memorandum March,” a musical piece written by 10th Mountain Division (LI) Band Soldier Spc. Nicholas Smith, was played by the West Point Band during the graduation ceremony for the school’s 2020 cadets on June 13, 2020.
Smith had decided to post his composition on Army Bands Intranet, a website where Army bands, both active duty and reserve, can share music and resources, after noticing that nothing had been added to the site in a while.
“The Commander of the West Point Band, Lt. Col. Tod Addison contacted me,” Smith said. “I never thought that one of the four special Army bands would want to play it.”
Smith says that he usually gets ideas for his music spontaneously and writes them down. On nights when he has trouble sleeping, he spends his time writing his music. His music is inspired by the history of the 10th Mountain Division, and his marches try to invoke a little bit of the pride he feels for the unit.
“We’re so proud of our history here at the 10th Mountain Division, but we don’t have a lot of music out there that represents that history,” Smith said. “So I thought I’d try to add to that.”
Smith has written seven marches in the roughly two years that he has been at Fort Drum, taking inspiration from famous composers such as Henry Filmore, Karl King, and John Philip Susa. Two of them, “Glory of the Mountain” and “March the 2nd” have been performed by the division band in the past year.
Smith has been a musician for 15 years and plays the trumpet in the band.
“Being a military musician is one of those ways you can get paid to do what you love and be part of something bigger than yourself and serve your country at the same time,” Smith said.
He plans on continuing to write music for the rest of his Army career.
“My goal when I joined the Army was that everywhere I went I would write something for that unit to kind of leave a little bit of myself behind for future members of those units to play,” Smith said. “This job has given me some pretty incredible opportunities. I’m really looking forward to where this Army journey will take me.”