Organ Arrangements by Fred Bock

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Fred Bock (1939-1998)

Life and Background

Fred Bock was one of the most recognized and respected leaders in the church music world. He was a noted composer, arranger, clinician, studio musician, organist, pianist, choral director, and music publisher.

He was the son of Dr. and Mrs. Fred Bock, Sr. of Great Neck, New York. Mr. Bock attended Ithaca College and received his B.A. in Music Education. It was at Ithaca that he first became involved in the music publishing business. As a college student he published a band arrangement and, with the help of fraternity brothers, "broke even" on his first publishing venture. He earned his Master's and did Doctoral work in Church Music at the University of Southern California.

While still in Graduate School at the University of Southern California, he became founder and Director of Publications for the music publishing division of Word, Inc. He held this position at the young age of 24.

After seven successful years at Word, he resigned to start Gentry Publications, an educational music company. With $1,000 borrowed from his father, he published a choral arrangement of "Scarborough Fair". The piece was extremely popular due to its use in the film, "The Graduate". Most publishers thought the piece to be written by Paul Simon, but Fred knew differently. It was a public domain folk-song and the Gentry edition of it was the only choral arrangement other than Simon's. It sold 50,000 copies in 7 months. His debt was paid back within 90 days.

With those kinds of instincts coupled with his musical ability, Fred Bock guided and expanded his business interests until several publishing companies were formed, the two largest being Gentry Publications, publishers of music for school and concert use; Fred Bock Music Company, publishers of church music for choir, organ, piano, and instruments. Through the years, Fred also acquired the Raymond A. Hoffman Company, a 65-year-old publisher of operettas for elementary school use; the H. T. FitzSimons Company, publishers of the time-honored Hamelle edition of REQUIEM by Gabriel Faure; and Fox Music Publishing.

But Fred was more than a businessman. He was Minister of Music at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, where he served for 18 years. Before that, he served as Minister of Music at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles for 14 years.

In 1976 Fred served as the Editor of Hymns for the Family of God, a revolutionary collection that he began conceiving 15 years earlier. This hymnal has sold over 3 million copies. Fred was also the editor of the new evangelical hymnal, Worship His Majesty, published by Gaither Music Company, as well as the Yes, Lord hymnal. Fred co-authored the book Creating Four Part Harmony with his wife, Lois. A book of practical ideas and help for ministers of music in local churches, it is part of church music curriculum in many Christian colleges and seminaries.

With over 600 compositions and arrangements in print, his works continue to sell to choirs and keyboard players. His piano series (BOCK'S BEST #1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) have sold in excess of 200,000 copies. The touring ensemble, The Norman Luboff Choir, featured his cantata, Song of Triumph!, on many of their tours. His anthems have been sung by leading choral groups around the world and remain strong sellers many years after their initial releases.

In the fall of 1986, Taylor University, Upland, Indiana awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree to Fred, for his contributions to the field of church music.
Fred was also involved in music industry trade organizations, and served as a member of the Writer's Advisory Board of ASCAP, as well as having been repeatedly elected President and Secretary of Church Music Publishers Association.

Fred was a keyboard-recording artist for both the secular and religious markets. He delighted in being the conductor of the Candlelight Christmas Concerts in Disneyland, which involved two 1,000 voice choirs, a 50-piece orchestra, bell choir and soloist, and thousand in the audiences. His work as a studio musician can be heard on dozens of films and television shows, numerous recordings, and one very Haunted Mansion in Disneyland, USA.

Fred lived with his wife Lois, in Tarzana, a suburb of Los Angeles. He passed away in July 1998 from complications following surgery. He leaves a hole in the lives of his family which includes Lois, Stephen, Jonathan and Sandy. For those who knew him personally, he is remembered for his keen sense of humor, his joy, his music and his deep faith in God. The memories of Fred bring a smile to all our faces. His music lives on through his recordings, his compositions and arrangements.