PASADENA, CA (March 21, 2016) — A memorial service for Roland Tabell, who had a major impact on Covenant hymnody, will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Pasadena Covenant Church.
Roland, 81, died March 2.
He was born December 3, 1934, in Tacoma, Washington, to William Bertel and Jean (Short) Tabell. He graduated from Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College. After serving two years in the Army, he completed a master of music degree and did doctoral studies in church and choral music at the University of Southern California.
Roland and his wife, Betty (Kimbell), married in 1967.
Roland served as minister of music and worship at Pasadena Covenant Church for 38 years until his retirement in 1999. He also served on the Covenant’s Commission on Church Music and Worship, helping produce the silver songbook, The Song Goes On, and on the Hymnal Commission, which produced The Covenant Hymnal: A Worshipbook in 1996.
He is credited with arranging 17 of the selections in the hymnal, including “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “How Can I Keep from Singing?” and “Come, Share the Lord.”
Roland published more than 30 choral arrangements and compositions, many created with Bryan Jeffery Leech. Together they also produced two musical dramas, “A Tale of Two Brothers” (the Prodigal Son story) and “Resurrection,” which was recorded with singers from Pasadena Covenant Church along with members of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Roland’s musical gifts were eclectic. Throughout his ministry, he was committed to inclusivity and creativity. He could move easily between Vivaldi and Hillsong, hymns and contemporary choruses, always choosing the richest texts and enhancing them with his arrangements.
In addition to his wife, Betty, Roland is survived by his daughters, Pamela (Roger) Wagner and Linda (Raimer) Rojas, as well as eight grandchildren.