By Joseph Stephenson

Lucas and Juan; Juan and Lucas: Interview with Lucas Heger

Lucas Heger, left, and Juan Pedro Castenada-Gonzales play original tunes for a Skagway Brewing Co. audience this spring. Joe Stephenson

Lucas Heger and Juan Pedro Castenada-Gonzales teamed up Friday May 31 to entertain a lively crowd at the Skagway Brewing Company. Their set list largely consisted of original songs written by Heger. I met with him a few days after the show.

Did you play all original songs?

LUCAS: They were all original except for ‘Don’t Think Twice Its Alright’ and ‘I Shall Be Released,’ which are Bob Dylan songs. I think I played about twelve originals.

Are you working on an album?

LUCAS: One of my goals this summer is to get at least five or six songs together on an e.p. And then I’m looking into traveling around and perhaps playing at different folk fests this winter.

What are some of your original song titles?

LUCAS: ‘Sunshine and Rainbows.’ ‘What Better.’ ‘Like the Wind.’

What was your first instrument?

LUCAS: Piano. I think I was about seven, but I only lasted about a year.

When did you start playing guitar?

LUCAS: My aunt bought me my first guitar when I was eight. It was a little Hohner. I still have it somewhere. I remember learning “Shoe Fly Don’t Bother Me” and getting rewarded with new picks for practicing. I got a little better in high school after taking lessons from Mr. Wall and Mr. Webster. I played a little bit with pep band but not that much.

Did you grow up in Skagway?

LUCAS: I was born in Fairbanks, but we only lived there for about a year and then we moved to Portland. Didn’t get to Skagway until about kindergarten.

Were you in band?

LUCAS: Yes, but I mostly played trombone. I played trombone for eight years.

When did you start writing songs?

LUCAS: When I went to France. I spent a year there as an exchange student when I was 16 and 17. I bought a little classical guitar over there and started working on songs.

Can you speak French?

LUCAS: Yeah. I’m a little rusty, but yeah.

When was your first live performance?

LUCAS: Probably at some open mic either here at the Red Onion or in Fairbanks when I was about 20. Brew Co was probably where I had my first paying gig.

Who are some of your favorite bands or musicians?

LUCAS: Wilco, Beatles, Iron and Wine - their earlier stuff. Andrew Bird.

Besides the Skagway Brewing Company, Lucas recently played at the Bonanza Bar and Grill and also during the wine tasting at Jewell Gardens. He will likely play the Brew Co at least once or twice again this summer. Lucas’s music can be found at

The National Park Service has announced its Friday night guide presentation series for the remainder of June. All are held in the NPS Auditorium, Klondike Gold Rush NHP, 2nd & Broadway.

June 14, 6-7 p.m.
“The Bark Canada"

Park Historian Karl Gurcke presents tales of Gold Rush shipwrecks and recent discoveries about the watery grave of the Bark Canada.

June 21, 6-7 p.m.
“Dear Clara: Letters from a Gold Seeker”

Park Ranger Meredith Green shares true stories from the "Stampeder Files"- a collection of personal accounts from the Klondike Gold Rush.

June 28, 6-7 p.m.
“The Tlingit Packers”

Author and historian Daniel Lee Henry from Haines will present a chronicle of the Native American packers responsible for opening the Yukon to the Klondike Gold Rush.

Tlingit art, culture camp in Klukwan next month
Want to earn college credit while you study Tlingit arts and culture or outdoor recreation? The University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus will host its first Klukwan Summer Program on July 7-13.
This week-long arts and Tlingit cultural camp takes place in the Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan, Alaska, located 22 miles north of Haines and 100 miles northeast of Juneau. College credits are available in two programs, and professional development credit is available for teachers:
• Salmon Camp -- students learn how to prepare salmon in the traditional way and carve a traditional canoe paddle (credit available for ART S285 Northwest Coast Carving and ED S593 Northwest Coast Salmon Cultural Camp).
• “Lynn Canal Sampler” -- students get outdoors to explore the area with bikes and experience this beautiful part of Southeast Alaska (optional credit for PE S103 Outdoor Recreation).
“What a great opportunity to learn first-hand from the traditional people of the area about their art and culture and seeing the incredible beauty of the Lynn Canal area,” Klukwan Summer Program Coordinator Jeff Budd said.
To learn more about the program and to receive a brochure, contact Denise Blankenship at 907-747-7714 or by e-mailing her at, or contact Jeff Budd at 907-747-4821 or by e-mail at The registration deadline for the Klukwan Summer Program has been extended to Friday, June 28.
For more information about the Klukwan Summer Program and other programs offered at the UAS Sitka Campus, call 1-907-747-7700 or 1-800-478-6653, or go online at
Also, like them on Facebook at to keep up to date on other UAS Sitka Campus happenings.