“Saying ‘Yes’ To Someone Else’s Good Idea”: A Career Leading Army Musicians

Tod Addison


Tod Addison grew up in a Navy family. His father served on the deck of an aircraft carrier, and the family spent time on both coasts. When his father retired from the Navy, they moved to Mansfield, Ohio. Tod was always interested in art, music, and poetry, and he was inspired as a 4th grader listening to the 6th grade band. Later he discovered the Mansfield Symphony, and a particular favorite piece was Barry White’s “Love’s Theme.” In high school, he played piano, clarinet, and pretty much any instrument the director needed. Following high school, he attended Ashland College, the Ohio State University, West Texas State University, and East Carolina State University, and upon graduation he took a job teaching music in public school in North Carolina. After seven years of teaching, he decided to join the Army, and enlisted as a 30-year-old clarinet player. While he was serving in his first unit, he received the opportunity to interview about becoming a band officer, and after OCS he was commissioned into the Adjutant General Corps (under which all Army Bands are organized). Some of his assignments included serving as the Company Commander at the Army School of Music, dual-hatted as the director of both Training and the Officer Course of Instruction. He commanded the Training and Doctrine Command Band (renamed the 50th Army Band), and served as the Deputy Commander for the West Point Band and Deputy Commander and Orchestra Director at the U.S. Army Band. He then served as the U.S. Army Forces Command Staff Bands Officer. He was responsible for a bottom-up review of the Active, Guard, and Reserve bands, conducting 40 three-day visits to Army bands across the globe. Since 2017, he has been the Commander of the United States Military Academy Band. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his college years, and his experience teaching school in North Carolina. He describes his Army career, exploring both his enlisted time and his service as an officer. He discusses his assignments along the way, focusing primarily on his time with the West Point Band. He details his work supporting Academy messaging, and his engagement with the Army Music Analytics Team and the West Point Music Research Center. He reflects on his conversations with former USMA Band Directors about the history of the band. Finally, he shares what his service means to him.


topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Music West Point History
date 08 September 2021


name Tod Addison
institution Ashland College; Ohio State University; West Texas State University; East Carolina State University
service Adjutant General
unit USMA Band
specialty Clarinet; Army Bands
service dates 1995