I received an email over the weekend from an old friend of mine. We used to jam all the time in his parent's basement until we were nearly deaf. As far as I'm concerned, this old friend taught me more about syncopation, improvisation, groove, soul... essentially, he taught me more about music than any other person I know. And, he never charged me.
My old friend, is Lucas Haneman.
Visually impaired since birth, the life Lucas lives is very different from most people. He never brings attention to his visual impairment, and I know he probably doesn't want me posting this, but I am in constant awe of how he goes about his life. Anything he does, whether it be a simple riff on his Fender, to picking out what to wear, amazes me. Hell, he even operates an iPhone better than I can.
So, when he shot me an email asking whether I'd make some suits for his groomsmen, I was more than happy to oblige.
We met up over the weekend, reminiscing about all the fun we had as kids, and eventually went through fabrics and suit designs along with his fiancé, Megan Laurence (another talented Ottawa musician). Suit design, by nature, is a very visual thing, so it was quite a different experience showing Lucas all the possibilities in designing a suit for him. Though he has some visibility, it is limited, and to this day I still don't quite know what he sees exactly.
That being said, there was no issue in designing something that suited Lucas. Instead of visually inspecting fabrics and patterns, he would run his fingers over them; occasionally, I would draw patterns on his forearm with my finger to give him an idea of how certain fabrics and patterns looked. When we could, Megan and I would shine a flashlight over certain swatches so he could get a better look. When all was said and done, Lucas and Megan picked out a charcoal suit swatch and a white-on-white-pinstripe shirt.
|Lucas, feeling some swatches.|
Aside from having great tastes in suits, Lucas is - obviously - a phenomenal guitar player. He performs regularly through various channels (including large festivals such as Bluesfest) and has a steady stream of students who line up at his door for lessons. I can't say I've met many individuals who can make a living with music, but Lucas has done quite well for himself (and I'm sure he's not even close to being done yet).
Congratulations on all your success (so far), Lucas. You are inspiring, and I mean that in the sincerest fashion. And, congratulations to you and your fiancé on the engagement. Now, let's get you suited up so you'll look ALMOST as good as the bride on the big day.