Eastern Michigan University welcomes new director of The Pride of the Peninsula Marching Band

J. Nick Smith brings deep background in wind band study and musical collaborations

YPSILANTI – J. Nick Smith has been named assistant professor, associate director of bands, and director of the Eastern Michigan University Marching Band. Smith will begin his responsibilities in July.

J. Nick Smith
J. Nick Smith

Smith recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind band conducting with emphasis in choral conducting at the University of Minnesota. Prior to that, he received his Master of Music degree in wind band conducting from the University of Michigan.

During his doctoral studies, he developed an area of research interest focused on increasing collaborations between the wind band, orchestra, and choral mediums. His authored work, “Reimagining Nänie, Op. 82, Johannes Brahms: Inspiration, Creation, and Challenges of a Transcription for Chamber Winds and Chamber Choir,” resulted in a wind transcription that has been submitted for publication.

"Nick’s rich experience and pedigree in the wind band world are welcomed additions to our program,” said Christopher Barrick, director and professor for the EMU School of Music & Dance. “We look forward to seeing Nick bring his expertise and energetic approach to the EMU Marching Band, Symphonic Band, and music education programs."

Before coming to EMU, Smith served a total of six years in the positions of assistant director, then director of bands at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Under his direction, the Hillcrest High School Wind Ensemble received “Superior with Distinction” at all Music Performance Assessment events, and was invited to perform at the 2014 University of Alabama Honor Band Festival and the 2013 Music for All National Concert Band Festival.

“I am excited to join the incredible students, faculty, and administration of the EMU School of Music and Dance,” said Smith. “Given the difficult times and uncertain future that COVID-19 has introduced into our world, there remains an uplifting spirit on the EMU campus – one that I know will keep the Eagle spirit alive. My wife and I hope to meet you very soon, whether it be in the halls of Alexander, or in the stands of Rynearson Stadium cheering on the EMU Eagles alongside the “The Pride of the Peninsula" marching band.”

Smith earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Auburn University, where he served as head drum major of the marching band, and was named the “Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the College of Education.” Smith is an active member of The College Band Director’s National Association, Life Member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and Honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma.

The EMU Marching Band has a long tradition of musical and entertainment excellence. Comprised of roughly 200 students representing nearly every major on campus, “The Pride of the Peninsula” boasts a rich, 126-year history of serving Eastern at athletic functions, parades, and events. For more information on The Pride of the Peninsula, visit the band website.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

June 17, 2020

Written by:
Morgan Mark

Morgan Mark