Boomerang Band is a Central Coast Favorite!!!
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Cast Martha
Van Houten
Boomerang Band has been entertaining a loyal following on the Central Coast since 2006. Originally rooted in ‘60s and ‘70s folk and rock genres, the band now covers Rock ‘n’ Roll classics from the ‘50s through the ‘80s. The band’s extensive repertoire also includes several original songs.

     The members of Boomerang are: band leader Rick Grether (12- and 6-string guitar), Bob Kerwin (drums), Greg Somers (guitar), Scott Thorshov (bass), Rich Van Houten (keyboard, guitar) and – making this sextet very unique – Martha Chivens playing the harp! Also distinctive is that all six members of the group contribute to the vocals.

     Previous venues include: Arroyo Grande Rotary Bandstand (Village Summer Concert Series), San Luis Obispo Court Street Summer Concerts, Spyglass Inn in Shell Beach, Claiborne and Churchill Winery in Edna Valley, and many other clubs, restaurants and local parties from Morro Bay to Santa Maria.


Rich Van Houten taught himself to play piano as a child and added guitar in his teen years playing for “Folk Mass” in the Catholic Church during the 1960’s. He recorded an album with Jim Strathdee in 1967 called “New Wine.” Following a one year vacation in Vietnam, Rich toured the US playing in coffee houses and restaurants (for food) and later used these same talents to entertain Boy Scouts around campsite fire pits. Rich sings, plays guitar, keyboard and bouzouki for Boomerang.
Rick Grether
sings and plays 12 string and lead guitar. He taught himself to play the ukulele, soon moved to the guitar, and played in several rock bands during his high school and college years. His band The Crucibles, auditioned for a recording studio in San Francisco in 1966 and subsequently decided to keep their day jobs! His ambition was to become a rock star and an airline pilot. One of those two dreams came true!   

Greg Somers is also a self taught guitarist who at age 14 formed a rock band called “The Outcast.” At age 16 he joined a Motown/Rock group called “Marv, Bev, and the Triumphs” and cut two 45 rpm records. They made 2500 copies, 2490 of which are still in his garage! His greatest successes, though, were playing in a musical called “Life,” and performing in churches in the San Francisco Bay area and on the Aircraft Carrier “USS America.”

Martha Chivens, the Director of the SLO United Methodist Church Children’s Center, was reading a book about child brain development and learned how important practicing music was to increased thinking ability. Always having enjoyed harp music at the Northridge Methodist Church, she in 1996 started taking harp lessons (to increase her thinking powers) and played her first gig (harpists do gigs?) for Pauline High’s healing service one year later. This naturally led to her playing with Week Beginnings and then becoming a main attraction in Boomerang. We now have the only rock and roll harpist on the coast. She’s great! 

Scott Thorshov adds the bass. Scott was raised in a musical family listening to his mother playing piano and older sister practicing every instrument under the sun. Scott sang in choir as a child but didn’t play an instrument until his wife gave him a guitar for his birthday. A natural progression and passion for the bass followed.

Bob Kerwin started playing drums in the Army when he volunteered for the Drum and Bugle Corps to relieve himself from KP duties. He later played in several bands in the Los Angeles area and locally played in, and managed, a band called Reminisce. Between his interests in stainless steel sculpting, cooking and wine making, Bob finds time to drum with Boomerang. He does keep us on beat!