Band president plays successful tune

Marching 100 President Ralph Jean–Paul will play a new melody as he interns at the Fox Studio Lot in Los Angeles this summer.

Jean-Paul, 26, a senior music education student from Miami, was awarded a Fox Music Experience internship at the 2009 Honda Battle of the Bands.

The internship was a complete surprise to Jean-Paul. He recalls listening to the speaker read the biographies of the winners and one captured his attention.

“It sounded too familiar,” he said. “Then I heard the speaker say, ‘choosing FAMU was the best decision I ever made,’ and I knew it was me.”

Immediately, Jean-Paul said he was overcome with excitement and felt like a star.

“All the camera people rushed me and it was on the big screen,” Jean-Paul said. “It was like a miniature BET awards.”

Jean-Paul said his love for music came from his mother who he said is a wonderful singer.

“My mom sings all the time and I get it all from her,” said Jean-Paul, as he recalled always hearing his mother sing in the kitchen and in the car. 

Jean-Paul’s love for music led him to play the tuba when he was in seventh grade.

Now, he serves as the Marching 100’s president and liaison between staff, section leaders and the band.

Director of bands Julian E. White said he is pleased with Jean-Paul’s performance as band president.

“(Jean-Paul) is great and he does a very fine job,” White said. “He is a very mature band president.” 

White said he believes Jean-Paul’s internship will open the door for future Rattlers to have a connection with the music production business.

Fellow band members are confident and comfortable with Jean-Paul representing the school while away.

“He is a good president and a good role model,” said Assistant Head Drum Major Chad, 25, Norton, a senior music education student from Miami said. “Where he is now and where he used to be is motivational for many.”

During his Fox Studio experience, Jean-Paul said he hopes get an overall understanding of the music business.

“I hope to incorporate what I have learned in class with the internship experience,” he said.  “I want to make an impact on Fox that young African-Americans are doing something out here.”

Jean-Paul said there are many students at all Historically Black Colleges and Universities, especially FAMU, who are talented.

With his love for music, Jean-Paul said he aspires to become an entrepreneur.

“I want to customize my own mouthpiece for the tuba and my own signature brand of tubas,” he said.

After graduation, he plans to attend graduate school and receive a master’s in music performance. He also wants to give back to his community and work in the public school system.

“I solely believe in the passion of music and showing others how to use music and its greatness,” Jean-Paul said.