A Hinshaw Classic

Stephen Bock
Stephen Bock serves as President of Fred Bock Music Company, a job he completely enjoys. After graduating from Occidental College, Mr. Bock spent fifteen years in the television and film business, working as a writer, producer, and editor on many award winning documentaries and network specials. Following the untimely death of his father, Fred, Stephen returned to the family business in 1999 and has been there ever since. He says that his tenure in the music publishing business has been a “thrilling ride and I’m glad to be working with such universally talented and nice people.” He served as the President of the Church Music Publishers Association from 2009-2010.

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46

We’ve all heard these two verses before in Sunday School or a sermon (usually on tithing, right?!?!) on Sunday morning. This little parable of Jesus is profound, explaining the true value of the Kingdom of God in a way that everyone can understand in just one sentence. You can’t read those short lines and not immediately synch up with Jesus’ message. The Kingdom is immensely valuable, but obtaining it requires supreme risk and sacrifice. The merchant sells everything he had to purchase that pearl. He gave up everything for it. Supreme sacrifice.

But what if the merchant had sold everything and then found that the pearl had been sold to someone else? What if the owner of the pearl decided that they weren’t interested in selling it? What if the funds generated from the sale of his other possessions wasn’t enough to buy the pearl? Supreme risk.

While Jesus’ parable is really a spiritual lesson for us all, there are times when the truth of His words finds its way into other parts of our lives. Some of us have given up everything we have known and moved to a new city with no friends because we got a job or schooling option that required that sacrifice and risk. Some of us have found relationships that call us to different places that force us out of our comfort zone but offer us depth and joy that we could not have known otherwise.

Sometimes Jesus’ words even apply to companies. This was the case for us at Fred Bock Music Company over the last year. In early 2016 we were offered the opportunity to purchase the music catalog from one of our competitors. Not just any catalog, but a supremely valuable catalog. I know exactly how excited that merchant was when he found his pearl.

As we drove deeper into the investigation and discussions, it became clear that purchasing this pearl would not be without significant sacrifices and significant risks. We would have to change some of our models and practices. We would have to spend a great deal of money. We would have to enter into new businesses. We could miscalculate and over-extend ourselves, underestimate the time and costs, or we could just mess it up. The risks and sacrifices were immense. But so was the value of this pearl. We had to do it no matter the cost.

The pearl, of course, is Hinshaw Music – one of the truly storied publishers of choral music – and I’m so happy and proud to say that this great catalog is now part of the Fred Bock Music Companies family. There are dozens and dozens of writers in Hinshaw who have had changed choral music as we know it today: Andre Thomas, Mack Wilberg, Alice Parker, Dan Forrest, Natalie Sleeth, and Mark Hayes. There are some fantastic new writers, like Elaine Hagenberg and Peter Anglea, who bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the catalog. I’m so excited to be working with all of these people, but I’m more excited to bring their music to you.

Starting next month, there will be a new Hinshaw blog on the WorshipSongsOnline site. Bill Carroll, the Editor for Hinshaw Music, will be writing new installments regularly, introducing you to all of the wonderful gems in the Hinshaw catalog. Some you’ll know; some you won’t. Either way, you’ll enjoy it!

In closing, allow me to “introduce” you to one of my favorites from Hinshaw: “Here’s One” by Mark Hayes. Mark has taken the classic spiritual, “Talk About a Child That Do Love Jesus,” and arranged it passionately for choirs. Mark’s skills and sensitivities are always at a very high level, but he found a new peak with this piece. It is truly stunning.

Stephen Bock

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