Milk and Honey
2004 - Band
Members: Rick Koch, Maureen Hastings, Steve Boesen, Roger Miller, and Luke Kjolhede
Originating in 1967 in Western Iowa, Milk and Honey is the Cedar Valley’s longest performing rock band. They still rock ballrooms and clubs today.
The original members of the band were Rick Koch (who remains with the band today), Hank Goodman, Randy Chard, Jim Watson, Ray Guntreh and John Spike. The group traveled for most of that first year playing throughout the Midwest.
In 1969 they relocated to the Cedar Valley area to attend the University of Northern Iowa and with that move, band members changed. The new Milk and Honey band consisted of Rick Koch, Luke Kjolhede, Larry Koch, Jack Fellenzer and Mike Cain.
Live music was very popular in that region of Iowa so the band performed in several night clubs such as: Wayfare Lounge at Electric Park, a college hot spot called The Circle, and the Music Box in Waterloo.
With a decision to work as a duo, Cain and Fellenzer left. The remaining musicians decided to add a female touch to the sound... Maureen Hastings. This made them the first local rock group to have a female singer. Another year later, Larry Koch moved out of state to attend graduate school and Steve Boesen became the drummer.
This foursome remained together for 11 years averaging 250 nights a year performing in clubs and ballrooms. Their tunes, harmonies and stage presence were popular with a huge fan base that the band still cherishes today.
Through the 80’s and 90’s Hastings and Rick Koch have been the constant force behind the group’s continuing popularity. Through the years, the band has opened for several national acts such as: The Little River Band, America, REO Speedwagon, and others.
Band members have changed over time. 20 years ago Roger Miller brought his professionalism from Nashville to Milk and Honey. His musical ability and guitar playing are unparalleled. Through the years other members have included guitarists Al Stee and Don Boyle, drummers Kerry LaCoste, Denton Ketels, Tim Crumley and Sean Murphy; who later moved to lead vocal and guitar.
Current band members, along with Rick Koch, Hastings and Miller are John Arntson, Wayne Risvold, Jesse and Jenny Koch. The Koch kids operated sound and lights for the band while they were in high school. Several years later they got their start performing during the band’s breaks at the Iowa State Fair. Matt Fitkin is the current sound and lights technician.
The key to the band’s longevity, according to Miller, “It’s all about playing what your crowd wants to hear, and getting them on their feet dancing.”
The name of their current CD is “Still Showing,” a fitting expose of the wide range of the band and what Milk and Honey is really all about.. .popular, talented, versatile musicians giving pleasure to the crowds and now, in 2004, taking its honored place in Iowa music history.