2004 - Booking Agent/Promoter
Recognizing a need to generate “a few extra dollars” to help with the education of his three children (David, Denise and Duane), Fred Fenchel capitalized on the youth’s love for rock and roll music.
He began by booking bands for high schools’ Friday and Saturday night dances. Fenchel Agency has had a total of over 36 rock bands over the years in addition to 58 country music bands as well as polka, Dixieland and German bands.
Fred and his wife, Ila Mae, have owned and operated Fred T. Fenchel Entertainment Agency in Mason City for over 40 years. The agency is a talent business dedicated to assisting entertainment buyers in securing the right type of attractions for their specific needs, no matter how large or small.
Many rock and roll bands benefited from Fred’s willingness to follow through in every detail for their clients. Because of Fenchel’s dedication, the agency soon began booking acts beyond the Mason City area, branching out to the entire state of Iowa.
Fenchel Agency soon had access to headline entertainers for events such as state and county fairs, conventions, banquets, reunions, weddings and other special occasions for corporations or private individuals. The business provided rock and roll bands, country music stars, the big band sound, magicians and other specialty acts, sports celebrities; in other words, any kind of talent or act one could ask for.
An example of Fred’s versatility was the North Western Cement Company “1,000 Accident Free Days” celebration in October of 1978. He got the New Christy Minstrels, Barbara Mandrell and the Ralph Martierie Orchestra to play for dancing.
The Association of Iowa Fairs awarded the Fred Fenchel Agency the “Showman of the Year” in 1980.
The “2002 Leo Overland Memorial Showman of the Year” award also went to Fenchel from the same Association of Iowa Fairs. Fred was recognized for exceptional service and overall positive impact on the industry.
His personal touch and eye for detail have made the Fenchel Agency so successful for such a long period of time in an industry that can be fleeting and fickle. Those qualities have flowed over into Fred’s community service. He has been an active Mason City Chamber of Commerce Ambassador since 1960, been a volunteer for the North Iowa Band Festival, Friends of the Library, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society and Junior Achievement.
A personal highlight for Fred was playing the role of Mayor Shinn in the local production of “The Music Man’ with author/composer Meredith Wilson and his wife in the audience.
The Mason City Chamber of Commerce honored Fred Fenchel in 1996 for his volunteerism, commitment and dedication to his community. Now in 2004, the Iowa RockNRoll Music Association places Fred Fenchel in the Hall of Fame for his promotion of and dedication to Iowa musicians for over 40 years.