Rumor Has It

Remembering Lucas Hicks

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I’m going to go ahead and say that Lucas Hicks was the best musician to ever call Bellingham home. From his early days in Pacer and Jill Brazil to his later years with the Gallus Brothers, the Shadies, Deakin Hicks, and the massive amount of music he played during and in between, the sheer depth and breadth of his talent and skill were always on display. He was eternally musically curious, which led him to learn the conventions of the various genres that interested him—only so that he could disregard them to create something that was entirely his own, even when he was playing music written by other people. If the song in his head required an instrument he didn’t know, he would learn it, showing a command of everything from saxophone to accordion to banjo to ukulele to whatever else might happen to be lying around needing to be played. And he made it all look effortless—more than that, he made it all look fun—even when he was sick and playing a show took more energy than he really had.

Because Lucas had cancer, and that’s the other piece of his story. He had it for a long time—14 years, give or take. He never wanted his life to be about that though, and so even as he was forced to cede more and more of his body to the disease, he refused to give it a second more of his time or a fraction more of his existence than he had to. It was why, immediately after one or another of his surgeries, or when he’d finished a round of increasingly intense treatment, he returned to playing music as soon as he was able, often while he was still in the hospital. Nothing, it seemed, could stop him from trying to fill the world with as much music as possible. It’s probably why we thought he’d beat cancer and outlive us all.

Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Lucas lost his fight with cancer. He died last week, at home, surrounded by friends and family.

As news trickled out about his death, tributes began to appear on social media, written by friends, acquaintances and those who did not know Lucas but had long admired him. It became clear immediately that his ability to forge meaningful connections to people was not limited to his music. He gave freely of himself, as much as he was able and often more, and the result is an astonishing number of people who now have a piece of Lucas to remember him by.

I have my own piece of Lucas. He was my friend and I loved him. He was a good friend to have, wicked funny, always interesting and interested, ready to engage in meaningful discourse or utter nonsense depending on the situation—and he was also tough as hell. To be frank, I’m having a hard time coming to terms with losing him. What happened to Lucas was so brutally unfair that I am unable to take its measure or to reckon with it just yet.

In lieu of acceptance, the feeling I am left with, other than grief, is profound gratitude. I am grateful that, after his initial diagnosis, Lucas opted to move back here, to call this place and this community home. I am grateful that he was driven to push so much of his music out into the world and to share so much of his skill and creativity and sheer joy with us. To have his music now and to know its impact will continue to reverberate is a wondrous gift. I am grateful that, as a community, we showed up for him, and that we tried to make performing for us worth the increasing effort he put into it. When cancer had taken so much from him physically, he still played with skill and focus, and I am grateful for those times we filled rooms and honored not just the music itself, but also the remarkable level of musicianship he was able to maintain until the end.

Mostly, though, I am enormously grateful to those people in Lucas’ life he was closest to, the ones who helped make it possible for him to find his way through this on his own terms as much as he could, the ones who gave generously and unreservedly of themselves to him so that he could give so much to us. They surrounded him with friendship and fellowship, gave him a soft place to land, supported him and never left his side. And then when there was nothing more to be done and his time was waning, they gathered at the home Lucas had made with longtime partner Jenny Rose and filled it with love and music and let him go.

I don’t know how to reconcile the loss of someone like Lucas. I don’t have those words or possess that wisdom. But I am going to take my piece of him and hold it close. And I will be grateful.

Before his death, Lucas was working on bringing Brazilian family band Choro das 3 to Bellingham for a concert. In the interest of making certain the show will go on, Jenny would like to invite everyone to see Choro das 3 at 6:30pm Sun., Oct. 15 at the YWCA Ballroom, 1026 N. Forest St. Tickets are $15 and available at the door.

—Carey Ross

First Congregational Church
Events
Today
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|4145 Meridian St.

Santa's in Town

10:00am|Yeager's Toyland

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Little Women, the Musical

7:00pm|Sudden Valley Dance Barn

Anne of Green Gables

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Connelly Creek Nature Area

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am|Sunset Square

Hot Cider & Cool Art

10:00am|Morgan Block Studios

COffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Hidden Narrative Tour

3:30pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Drayton Harbor Shell-ebration

4:00pm|H Street Plaza

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Jingle Belles

4:00pm|La Conner

Ukulele Concert

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Holiday Movie Night

6:00pm|Bellingham High School

Holiday Night Market

6:00pm|Commercial Street

The Snow Queen

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Holiday Ball

7:00pm|Majestic

Vaudevillingham

7:00pm|Cirque Lab

Community Orchestra Winter Concert

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Skagit Valley Chorale's Heralding Christmas

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Ghosts and Brawling

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

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Tomorrow
Santa's in Town

10:00am|Yeager's Toyland

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|4145 Meridian St.

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Little Women, the Musical

7:00pm|Sudden Valley Dance Barn

Anne of Green Gables

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Hot Cider & Cool Art

10:00am|Morgan Block Studios

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am|Sunset Square

The Snow Queen

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Skagit Valley Chorale's Heralding Christmas

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Ghosts and Brawling

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Make It and Take It

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Breakfast with Santa

9:00am|Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center

Coast Salish Winter Festival

10:00am|Lummi Gateway Center

Jingle Bell Dash

10:00am|Seafarers Memorial Park

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Sleighbells Ring

10:00am|Bellewood Acres

Holiday Tea

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Chainsaw Sculpting Open Studio

10:00am|Tomas Vrba Studio

Baker Beacon Rally

11:00am|Heather Meadow

Fairhaven Winterfest

12:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Peter James Holiday Gallery Sale and Reception

1:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Hansel and Gretel

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Youth Symphony Holiday Concert

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Eat Your Words Cookbook Club

2:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Holiday Wines from Spain

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Mozzarella Class

3:00pm|Appel Farms

Winter Dance Celebration

3:00pm|Brodniak Hall

Noel Trio

3:00pm|Jansen Art Center

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Not So Silent Night

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Winter Star Mountain Journey

7:00pm|Blaine Performing Arts Center

Kulshan Chorus Winter Concert

7:30pm|Bellingham High School

Skagit Symphony Holiday Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Wizard People, Dear Bellingham

8:00pm|Alternative Library

Teen Library Lock-In

8:00pm|Ferndale Library

Christmas Milonga Tango Experience

9:00pm|Presence Studio

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Sunday
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|4145 Meridian St.

Santa's in Town

10:00am|Yeager's Toyland

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm|Warm Beach Camp

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am|Sunset Square

The Snow Queen

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Skagit Valley Chorale's Heralding Christmas

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Sleighbells Ring

10:00am|Bellewood Acres

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Winter's Return Concert

2:00pm|Skagit Valley Unitarian Fellowship

Nonfiction and Memoir Writing Group

3:00pm|Village Books

Nutcracker Holiday

3:00pm|Jansen Art Center

Holiday Chorus

3:00pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Whatcom Chorale's Messiah

3:30pm|Church of the Assumption

Backgammon Session

5:30pm|Parkway Village

Way North Comedy Showcase

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

see our complete calendar »

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