Ralph Smith was born October 15, 1923 at Slaton, Texas. At the time of his birth, his father was band leader in the Harley Sadler Tent Show which played in various towns throughout Texas and New Mexico. Later the Smith family moved to Hereford where Ralph's father was the high school band director for 23 years.
Ralph began playing the cornet at age 5. He graduated from Hereford High School in 1941, and while in high school he participated in the National Music Contest in 1939 and 1940. From 1942-1946, during World War II, Ralph played in the 501st Air Force Band.
Ralph received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Instrumental Music from West Texas State College in 1949. His first teaching position as band director was in Childress, Texas from 1949 to 1952. In 1952, he moved to Dimmitt, Texas where he remained until his retirement in 1983. While in Dimmitt, Ralph's bands won 28 Sweepstakes awards. They won the "Outstanding Band Award" at the Enid Tri-State Band Festival, Buccaneer Festival, Worlds of Fun Festival in Kansas, and the Durango Band Festival. They were runner-up for outstanding band at Six Flags of St. Louis, and at the Opryland Festival for 2 years.
Ralph has held every office of TBA. He has served as President of Phi Beta Mu, Alpha Chapter, and served as a national board member of Phi Beta Mu. He was Assistant Executive Secretary for TBA. He was the Band Contest Chairman for Region XVI, North Zone, for 13 years. He has served as a member and chairman of the State Music Advisory Committee.
Ralph was Texas Bandmaster of the Year in 1979. He is well known as an adjudicator and clinician, and also for the 8 books he co-authored with Frank Piersol entitled "Precision Drill". He is also the author of the book "Instant Mix". Ralph and his wife now spend much of their time traveling.