Ralph Hardimon is widely considered the innovator in marching percussion ensemble composition and arranging that pushed drum and bugle corps activity into a higher level of integration and musicality by highlighting the voice of the entire percussion ensemble. His scores made use of the full spectrum of percussion elements, including the battery and front ensemble.
While he was director of percussion for Santa Clara Vanguard from 1976 to 1990, his ensembles won five high percussion awards in driving the Vanguard to four DCI world championship titles. He was a key member of the Anaheim Kingsmen drum line during the first years of DCI in the early 1970s, helping set a new standard in rudimental performance and execution that attracted a new level of interest in youth around the world.
He is a world traveller himself, conducting clinics in the Japanese cities of Nagoya, Tokyo, Kagoshima, Osaka, Okayama and Yokohama. He has conducted drum clinic tours for both Pearl and Premier Drums. His signature drum sticks are considered the industry standard, used by ensembles around the world.
He has served as percussion coordinator, arranger or consultant for other DCI corps, including Blue Knights, Bluecoats, Capitol Regiment, The Academy, Troopers, Kingsmen, Blue Devils, Crossmen and Freelancers.
His extensive judging history includes service with WGI percussion, Southern California Percussion Alliance, Bands of America and Percussive Arts Society. His percussion activities began more than 50 years ago in 1965 as a snare drummer with the Los Angeles Police Band. His notable achievements in the recording industry include Grammy nominations in the jazz and rhythm and blues categories. He has been a member of the DCI Hall of Fame since 2004. He has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sabian. He was inducted into the Santa Clara Vanguard Hall of Fame in 2014.