Musical Chairs: A game set to music in which players repeatedly shuffle among coveted chairs, hoping to choose the right seat when the music stops; there always being one chair too few for the number of players. Usually played by children at parties, a grown up version exists every Saturday night on Dundas Street at the St. Regis Tavern when a rotating schedule of live musicians take the stage from 9pm until midnight.
The brain child of local musician, Corinne Marshall, Musical Chairs found its beginnings two years ago when Corinne moved to the Old East Village. Music venues had been disappearing over the preceding years and Corinne listened to the laments of fellow musicians who had been performing in London for decades and were mourning the loss of sites to perform at. She understood the challenges that existed in trying to create a music scene, and saw a venue that she felt was ripe and ready for something different. Thus, Saturday nights at the St. Regis and the Musical Chairs event was born.
The Hub asked Corinne how the overall concept and name “Musical Chairs” came about for the Saturday night showcase at the bar affectionately known to locals as ‘The Reeg’.
“I wanted the music series to have a visual identity, and I have a great collection of retro and historic clip art…” she said. “When I saw the image of the flying chairs, I immediately thought, “Hey – Musical Chairs!” because I knew that having a healthy rotation of acts with lots of variety was exactly what I wanted.”
And just like the birthday party version of your childhood days, there are prizes: Pie.
“Men may come and men may go…..but Pie goes on forever.” ~ George Augustus Sala, 1882
The Sweet Draw is another regular feature of the Musical Chairs experience which came to be by sweet serendipity. And oh, how sweet it is! It has long been my opinion that one’s troubles can be released over a serving of pie, and I can’t recall one person I have met who has been unhappy in the presence of the delectable dessert. The smile on the faces of the Sweet Draw winners at the end of the night would suggest I am right. Music and pie: an incredibly sweet pairing for a perfect Saturday night.
The St. Regis Tavern is the second longest-operating hotel/tavern in London, Ontario, though the exact date the Reeg in its current form was built remains a mystery. However, the site has housed and operated as a hotel and tavern since 1883 and under the St. Regis banner since 1931. It is a verifiable neighbourhood cornerstone of the Old East Village and has long been a gathering place for the blue collar workers of the OEV. It isn’t too often that a stranger will enter The Reeg and not make a friend or two before leaving. Indeed, it has one of the more friendly atmospheres of all the bars in London, and no person is ever made to feel unwelcome. An interesting fact: This tight ship is owned and run solely by women, perhaps lending to its warm and welcoming atmosphere.
As is the case right across the Old East Village, Musical Chairs at the St. Regis has acted as an incubator for acts to grow organically and lends itself to the discovery of new bands and musicians. While not all of the performers who take the stage are strictly local, many are homegrown and are rooted in the Village. Others may have had their beginnings and moved on to other pastures, but many return again and again to their roots to play a Saturday night Musical Chairs gig at The Reeg. Be sure to check this blog regularly for listings and reviews of upcoming acts and make a plan to visit the St. Regis on a Saturday night for your own Musical Chairs experience. You can also find more information on Facebook by clicking on this link.
Come and choose your seat at Musical Chairs and bring your appetite for great music and delicious pie. You will leave feeling quite satisfied with one, the other – or both! See you at The Reeg!