Roland Arlington Wiggins, Mus.D., aligned with the TRUTH of himself, LIGHT and LOVE, on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. His family was present during this peaceful passage. Born on April 15, 1932, in Ocean City, New Jersey, Roland was the third child of Roselia nee Shaw and Leonard Leondis Wiggins. Recognized as a musical prodigy, he began formal studies on the piano at the age of eight. At 15, he was featured as a star performer at the Atlantic City, New Jersey Steel Pier. After graduating from Ocean City High School in June 1949, he attended The Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and studied Classical Piano with Vincent Persichetti. After one year he enlisted in the military and served in the U.S. Airforce. In the Air Force Band he met and performed with renowned Jazz and R&B trumpeter, Donald Byrd. While serving, he began studying composition and advanced chord, informally, with the composer, Henry Cowell, regarded by many as one of the most innovative composers in 20th century American music. After serving, Wiggins moved to New York and continued his studies with Cowell, and also with Clarence Cox in Philadelphia. These studies led to his becoming an authorized teacher of the Schillinger System of Musical Composition, a theory based on mathematical processes of melody, harmony, rhythm, counterpoint, form, and semantics. His circle of students and colleagues included many jazz greats including John Coltrane, Bill Barron, Chris White, Sonny Fortune, Jimmy Owens, Yusef Lateef, Archie Shepp, among others. On November 3, 1956, Roland married Muriel Dockery of Philadelphia, who he met and courted in his home town of Ocean City, the summer before she graduated from Johnson C. Smith University. They bore three daughters, Rosalyn Cowell in 1957, Suzan Elaine in 1959, and Carol Melissa in 1966. During this time, Roland enrolled in The Combs College & Ornstein School of Music with Liberal Arts requirements at The University of Pennsylvania. He ultimately earned his undergraduate, master's, and doctorate degrees at Combs, and an offer to teach there. Over the course of his distinguished career, in addition to his Combs College teaching, Wiggins has been a Music teacher in numerous junior high schools in Philadelphia, Pa.; recipient of a Research Grant from the Philadelphia School Board to work with the Franklin Institute to conduct further research on Roland's early independent exploration of the possibilities of electronic music production; Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Aesthetics in Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Intersession professor at Williams College and Amherst College; Amherst Regional High School music teacher, where he saved and strengthened the music program; Associate professor of music at Hampshire College; and Director of the cultural center of the Luther P. Jackson House for African American Studies at the University of Virginia. Roland was most fondly remembered for his brilliant and innovative mind, his application of advanced musical theory, and his ability to unconditionally love all who knew him. Holding in loving memory are his wife, Muriel Dockery Wiggins; his daughters, Rosalyn Berne, Suzan Wiggins, and Carol Ross; grandchildren, Ari, Kaya, and Austin; as well as his sons-in-law, William Prindle, Monty Ross, and Gordon Berne; and daughter in law, Carla Arranaga. The family is eternally grateful for all those who attended the recent tribute to Roland's life's work, while he was still with us on September 21, 2019, at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, which will serve as his memorial service. His light and love lives on in all of us.

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