Hancock was born in St. Louis, Mo., on February 17, 1929, and unfortunately for the world of church music, he died in January of 1993. He attended the University of Detroit where he studied music, and then went on to the University of Michigan for a M. Mus. degree. He earned the Doctorate in Sacred Music from Union Seminary in New York City.
Hancock was a professor of music at Manhattan Community College and held positions in a number of churches in New York City, including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and St. Phillips. From 1984-1990, Hancock was Director of Music at West End Presbyterian Church.