Dr. Ralph Chapman

Picture of Ralph Chapman

Assistant Director of Bands  •  Adjunct Instructor

Woodwind Studio (Single and Double Reeds)  •  Jazz Band II

rachapman@pvamu.edu | The Marching Storm | 936.261.3318

Mr. Ralph Chapman is a native of Mobile, Alabama, the birthplace of Mardi Gras in North America. He is an arranger, songwriter, clinician, director, woodwind specialist, pianist, organist, and lecturer.  Mr. Chapman received his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Instrumental Music from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge Louisiana and went on to receive his Masters of Arts Degree in Instrumental Music Performance from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.  He has also completed course work at the University of South Alabama and Doctoral work from Louisiana State University.

Mr. Chapman formally began training as a musician at the age of 9 studying piano. At the age of 11, he began his journey as a saxophonist in middle school under the direction of Mr. Jesse Sharp where he quickly gained status in the band. Mr. Chapman continued his musical development during high school in the band program under the direction of Mr. Marion Ward and Dr. Horace Lamar. He went on to achieve leadership roles as saxophone section leader and head drum major of the marching band.

During his junior year of high school, two events occurred in his musical development that would shape his focus of music forever. Mr. Chapman’s strong performance and overall musicianship skills led him to a formal introduction to jazz music, under the tutelage of Mr. Ward, with an invitation for membership to the E. B. Coleman Jazz Orchestra (a group made of professional musicians/educators throughout the city) as a student musician.

The lush, rich sounds of the Orchestra, whose repertoire included the works of composers Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Frank Foster and original works, would peeked Mr. Chapman’s interest in developing a higher level of musicianship and develop his arranging skills.  Consequently, a new class was offered to accommodate Mr. Chapman and a few of his classmates’ interest in arranging music. Through the teachings of Dr. Horace B. Lamar, a college level music theory and sight singing course was created. This led to Mr. Chapman and classmate Mr. Terrance Mixon in receiving the honors of becoming student arrangers their senior year for the marching and concert bands, providing the vast majority of all the show music for the school year.

Mr. Chapman would then move to Louisiana to begin his formal studies as a saxophonist/pianist in Baton Rouge, La where he enrolled at Southern University.  Chapman quickly became acclimated to his new environment by achieving Most Outstanding Freshman honors as well Section leader in his first year in the Southern University Marching Band.  He served in other leadership roles and received other awards under the direction of Dr. Isaac Greggs, Director of Bands and staff.  Chapman also earned the respect of his Mentors as a student arranger for the University Bands Program and achieved the 1st Alto Saxophonist for the Dr. Greggs’ Stage Band.

Most notably, Chapman had the unique privilege of studying with Jazz Clarinetist, Alvin Batiste at the university. Mr. Batiste is a New Orleans native and jazz pioneer who established the Southern University Jazz Institute within the department of music where Mr. Chapman completed the coursework with honors. Chapman was also among a selected few of Batiste to arrange and perform in the Alvin Batiste and Jazztranauts.

Mr. Chapman furthered his development as an instrumentalist and arranger and by studying with Jazz Pianist, Henry Butler at Eastern Illinois University.  Henry Butler is a New Orleans native who served as an artist-in-residence, Instructor and Director of the EIU Jazz Ensemble. Under the direction of Mr. Butlers’ self study, Chapman was the Alto Saxophonist and arranged for the Ensemble with toured the mid-west. Chapman was also the 1st Alto Saxophonist for the Top EIU Jazz Band under the Direction of Dr. Alan Horney.  Mr. Chapman also studied with Mr. Sam Fagaly, who currently serves as the Jazz Director for EIU. Chapman has continued to arrange, write and perform professionally over his career in numerous settings, including Jazz, Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Zydeco, Gospel and serving in Sacred Music Ministry.

Prior to joining the Marching Storm staff and PVAMU music department, Mr. Chapman began his teaching career serving as a graduate assistant at Eastern Illinois University.  After graduating with his master’s degree from EIU, Mr. Chapman started his collegiate teaching career at Alabama State University serving as the Assistant Director of Bands and Interim Director of Bands where he taught applied woodwinds, woodwind methods, and jazz and served as the principal arranger.  He later joined the staff at Jackson State University as Assistant Band Director teaching applied woodwinds, jazz piano, and arranging an orchestration.  Chapman also served as a lecturer of music at Bishop State Community College.

Mr. Chapman was the first band director at Concordia College-Selma, where he established the foundation and infrastructure for a new marching band program through his major advertising and recruitment efforts. Mr. Chapman has also arranged music compositions for many collegiate band programs across the region including Southern University and A&M College, Alabama State University, Jackson State University, Delaware State University, Prairie View A&M University, Concordia College, Miles College and numerous high schools across the Southeast in addition to Illinois and Ohio. Mr. Chapman currently teaches Applied Woodwinds, Woodwind Methods and Jazz Band.