Cpl. Nicholas Smith, a musician with the 10th Mountain Division Band and recent recipient of the 2020 Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award, holds his trumpet outside of the band hall on March 11, 2021, on Fort Drum, N.Y. Smith has been a musician with the 10th Mountain Division Band for the past two years and has composed several musical pieces during his time here. (Photo by Pfc. Anastasia Rakowsky)
Mountain musician receives distinguished award
Pfc. Anastasia Rakowsky
27th Public Affairs Detachment
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (March 11, 2021) – A member of the 10th Mountain Division Band, Cpl. Nicholas Smith, received the 2020 Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award on Feb. 18.
The award acknowledges U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard enlisted musicians, grades E-4 to E-6, who display exceptional leadership qualities, outstanding musical talent in both solo and ensemble performance, and a great potential for outstanding future service.
“To win the award, you really have to distinguish yourself, not only among your peers but among the members of the other branches of service,” Smith said. “This award is something that you can only win once, and it’s really cool to have gotten it at my first duty station.
The Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award is awarded in honor of Col. Finley R. Hamilton, who served over 35 years in the U.S. Army Bands Program. He retired after serving as the commander and conductor of the U.S. Army Field Band. The award reflects Hamilton’s dedication to Armed Forces musicians and his championing of outstanding musician leaders from bands of all branches. In order to receive the award, the Soldier must be nominated by the U.S. Armed Forces band to which they belong.
Smith is the fifth 10th Mountain Division Band Soldier to receive the award.
“I joined the Army Band because I thought it would be a good opportunity to do what I love, which is play the trumpet,” Smith said. “I would like to stay for a 20-year career, and I hope to become a premier band musician.”
Smith has been a musician with the 10th Mountain Division Band for the past two years. In addition to playing his trumpet, he has composed several musical pieces during his time at Fort Drum. One of his pieces, “Memorandum March,” was played by the West Point Band during the graduation ceremony for the school’s 2020 graduates last summer.
“You just have to keep an open mind on what the Army has to offer. Never forget your passion for music,” Smith said. “If you never forget why you joined, never lose that passion, you’ll be able to do whatever you want to.”