July 1957, Barre, Vermont.
Merrifield grew up in Mansfield, Massachusetts, where his father was a clerk at the post office for many years, and his mother was a school nurse. In high school, he learned the guitar, became active in band and chorus, and wrote folk songs. In Christmas 1974, his high school choir recorded and performed his Christmas Round; his first song collection, 18 Years, appeared the following year.
Ralph majored in music composition at Westfield State College, where he became president of the local chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ. He also played in local coffee houses and churches, and played the baritone horn with the Symphonic Wind Philharmonica.
After college, Merrifield worked at the international headquarters of the Campus Crusade for Christ in San Bernardino, California (1979–83). He and his wife then returned to New England, where he worked for Crossroads, an interdenominational Christian ministry in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and various bookkeeping/accounting positions.
Ralph and his friends have been writing Scripture-based praise choruses, recording and leading worship for over two decades. Since 1991, their songs have traveled to over 210 countries and all 50 states in America. His New Hope Music web site has over 500 original, Scripture-based praise songs and hymns by Ralph Merrifield, Adrian V. Miller, Stephen Misarski, Lenny Smith, Julie Joyner and others. Their songs have been translated into over 20 languages; they have published three songbooks of choruses for Public Worship, Children and Choirs. One piece, Splendor and Majesty, was published by Hal Leonard in their Praise and Worship Fake Book; it was also arranged by Tom Fettke and published by Fred Bock.