Freddie Tieken to be honored at Celebration of Success

Freddie Tieken, a 1953 graduate of Unity High School, gained fame as the front man for Freddie Tieken and the Rockers.
Posted: Oct. 6, 2012 4:21 pm Updated: Oct. 20, 2012 6:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

MENDON, Ill. -- An old friend is coming home.

Freddie Tieken will be at the Unit 4 Foundation's second Celebration of Success honoree on Nov. 3 at the Holiday Inn in Quincy.

Tieken, a 1953 graduate of Unity High School, gained fame years as ago as the front man for such musical groups as Freddie Tieken and the Rockers.

"The Celebration of Success focuses on the positives coming out of the (Unity) system," said Phil Conover, one of the event's organizers. "Freddie is one of those success stories. A lot of people in this region grew up with Freddie Tieken and the Rockers."

Funds raised through the Celebration of Success are used by the Unit 4 Foundation, which was formed 16 years ago, to help to help meet the educational needs of students.

The honoring of Tieken follows the 2010 salute of Dick Spohr, a former Mendon teacher and coach.

Music was actually just one of several careers Tieken has undertaken. For more than five decades, his life has been filled with music, art and design. He has been a musician and vocalist, songwriter and arranger, recording engineer and producer, artist manager, music publisher and concert promoter. He has owned and operated three recording studios.

On his website, he explains how for 16 years he fronted his own band, playing more 3,500 live shows and "spending thousands of hours in recording sessions." He released three albums and four singles.

"Freddie's CDs are still in demand today among collectors," Conover said.

Tieken was creative director at a leading Chicago design agency before establishing his own company. During the course of his career, he received more than 200 national and international awards in the fields of design, illustration, art direction, marketing and advertising. Now retired from the business world, Tieken lives in Arizona and concentrates on creating contemporary works of art as an outlet for his creative energy.

But it all started with music for Tieken, who was born in Meyer.

"By the mid-1950s I had graduated from high school and was playing a lot -- bars, proms, parties and jamming with anyone who would let me sit in," wrote Tieken in an account of his own life. "My musical tastes were widening. I loved the blues and was really into the Memphis sound like Rufus and Carla Thomas and Otis Redding. The clubs up and down the river were jumping, especially the Terrace Room at the Hotel Elkton in Quincy.

"Johnny, the Terrace Room manager, would hire these fabulous black jazz groups from all over the country. I'm talking about smokin', rockin' bands like Illinois Jacquette, Hiawatha and his Musical Tribe and Cozy Eggleston ... Quincy was a convenient layover between Chicago and the clubs (down around St. Louis).

"Every Sunday afternoon brought live jam sessions and I can't believe I had the nerve to get up there and play with those monsters," Tieken wrote. "They tolerated me and did I learn a lot. It was so exciting!"

Tieken is scheduled to arrive in the area Nov. 1 and the following day will be visiting district schools to talk to students.

Tickets for the banquet are $50 for per person, $100 per couple. Cocktails and music start at 6 p.m. Dinner will be at 7. There will also be a "jam session" followin the banquet that Tieken will lead.

There will also be a silent auction. Conover said Tieken is donating a piece of his own artwork for the auction.

"The theme of the event is ‘Don't Stop Believin,' " Conover said. "Freddie thought outside the box and never stopped believin' in himself."

More information on the event can be found on the website.