At the end of the Pier, there used to be a big dancing room. It was a ballroom where all the big bands from the US played. Every weekend, there was a new group playing.
There were Sammy Davis Sr., Sammy Davis Jr., Benny Goodman, Bing Crosby. All those big stars worked there on Saturday evenings. It really was the big leagues.
Things began to change around 1945-1950, after the war, because that’s when South American music came in. Younger bands started playing there and, over the years, it evolved into something else, the style of music changed.
I started playing there in 1975. I was an organist and a singer.
I was there 12 years. I played 9 years in a small cabaret by the beach. Then, the last 3 years, I was at the end of the Pier.
The clientele we had in the United-States, in Old Orchard, were Quebecers. People enjoyed laughing and dancing. Although, really, they were jumping around more than they were dancing. It was a different style of music than before.
Before, they had fun dancing. But with us… We made them laugh, and we told them stories while making them dance.
When the tourists arrived at the bar, they were ready for the show because they had spent the day on the beach drinking wine and beer. But when I arrived at the bar at 9 o’clock, it was already full. The party started, they were ready. They had been waiting eagerly for me, and for a while.