Arnold Bernard Sherman, 75, of Tyler passed away on May 20, 2024, surrounded by his family.

A celebration of life service will be held at Pollard United Methodist Church in Tyler on Aug. 3.

Arnold was born on Dec. 24, 1948, in Rochester, New York. His parents were both veterans of the United States Navy in World War II, and he grew up on naval bases around the world, including Egypt, the Philippines, Hawaii, and on both coasts of the United States.

He graduated from Richa rd Montgomer y High School in Rockville, Maryland, in 1966 and attended Montgomery Junior College in Maryland and Baylor University in Waco. After college, Arnold proudly served in the United States Air Force during the final years of the Vietnam War, stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Arnold was an accomplished composer of musical works for choir, orchestra and handbells, and served as a director of church music and theatre arts throughout his career. He was a member of the Maryland All-State Choir for both his junior and senior years in high school and was student director of the prestigious Baylor University A Capella Choir.

His professional career began in Rockdale, where he was director of music and youth at St. John’s Methodist Church from 1969-1976.

In addition to his work at St. John’s, he voluntarily directed the Regeneration Singers community youth choir for seven years. The Regeneration Singers performed several concerts each year on the stage at Rockdale High School to packed houses and at churches of different faiths throughout the community. The choir also went on a multi-state tour to Washington, D.C., in 1976.

He also directed an adult community choir in Rockdale for two years.

Arnold spent the remainder of his career serving at churches in Atlanta, Henderson and Tyler, including over 30 years as director of music and the arts at Pollard United Methodist in Tyler.

He founded the Pollard Theatre Center which produces a season of plays and musicals each year.

Arnold was a prolific composer with more than 400 published works, including many commissioned pieces for prominent concerts and events.

He was a recipient of the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) Standard Award for many years (now called the ASCAP Plus Award). He co-founded Red River Music, a music publishing company, which was eventually sold to the Jeffers Handbell Supply Co.

Arnold was the founder and director of East Texas Handbell Ensemble and served as area chair of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers.

As a clinician and guest conductor, he led choral and handbell workshops and festivals throughout the United States and internationally in Canada, England, Japan and the Bahamas.

He was music director for the Texas Shakespeare Festival for eight years, working with Equity actors on Broadway musicals such as “Carousel,” “Camelot” and “Man of La Mancha.” He was preceded in death by his parents, Florence Arnold Sherman and Bernard Sherman, and his sister, Elizabeth Sherman Frindell.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Judy Sawyer Sherman of Tyler; daughter Ashley Andrews and husband Ryan Andrews, grandchildren Laird Williams, Peyton Andrews and Gillian Andrews of Edmond, Oklahoma; Wendy Nichols and grandchildren Reagan Nichols and Ben Nichols of Northbrook, Illinois; brother John Sherman and wife Jo Ann Sherman, nephew Benjamin Sherman of Rocklin, California, and niece Emily Sherman of Chicago, Illinois; niece Karen Frindell Teuscher of Santa Rosa, California, and nephew Alan Frindell of Seattle, Washington.

Rockdale Reporter

221 E. Cameron Ave
Rockdale, TX 76567