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.