Clever fellow that he is, Dick Cornish quietly pulled chairs off the floor in front of the stage.
The MC of Friday night's Hope's Home Howl wanted to make room for dancing.
That's what people sometimes do at a backyard party - even when the threat of rain required it to be moved to the Hotel Saskatchewan's Regency Ballroom.
'Course, it helps to have a dazzling array of musical talent to set the tone: local favourites Rory Allen and Jack Semple, a guy so dedicated to music and to helping others that he came to this event within mere hours of returning from an out-of-town gig, plus Toronto blues vocalist Shakura S'Aida (who at one point had virtually the entire room up and shaking) and Montana country singer Jason De Shaw.
Add a constant flow of hors d'oeuvres prepared by the hotel's award-winning chef Milton Rebello, high-stakes auctions and a lively crowd willing to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 for tickets - and you've got the recipe for a memorable evening.
But the room suddenly went quiet when Jacqueline Tisher, founder and executive director of Hope's Home, got up to speak.
This is what everything on Friday night was about: helping a special home that was founded in 2004 and opened it doors in 2005, to care for children with complex medical needs, also offering respite and supportive living care to them and their families - the first of its kind in Canada.
So great is the need that the organization has two daycares and two homes in Regina. It expanded in 2013 to Prince Albert and just received provincial government help to go into Saskatoon.
Right now, it's focused on "its dream" - a new, purpose-built home in Harbour Landing for which it's received city zoning approval, with an eye to starting construction this autumn.
Friday night's event, sponsored by potash miner Mosaic, jewelry designer/maker/retailer Hillberg Berk and The Creeks, will probably help Hope's Home to the tune of about $150,000, said businessman Karl Fix, who chaired the committee organizing it.
He and his team are no strangers to charity work, which originated out of the Dog River Howlers, the local rugby team with which the ebullient Fix long has been associated. In 2012, he got the idea of a fundraiser for Hope's Home built around famed singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, best known for his 1968 song Mr. Bojangles, about a hard-drinkin' tap-dancing drifter of rare talent. And last year, Fix and Co. upped their game by getting Blue Rodeo singer/guitarist Jim Cuddy to anchor an impressive cast of performers, raising about $125,000.
Continuing in that winning tradition was what had Cornish and his crew putting back those chairs later in the evening, letting those attending get as close as possible to the night's final act, legendary Canadian rocker and songwriter Randy Bachman.
Who doesn't want to get near Canadian music royalty - a guy who's been in two of Canada's best-known and best-loved bands, The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
He's a guy with a million stories, a good chunk of which he shared with Friday night's partiers - like how he met his first wife around 1965 at Regina's famous 4th Dimension coffee house. Waiting for her on a subsequent date led him to a piano, to thinking and then to writing The Guess Who's hit song These Eyes - in mere minutes. They later wed in the same Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza.
In a musical masterclass on turning observations and other folks' lines into hits, he recalled how, on a trip to San Francisco, he watched a tiny woman order her husband into their car, with the angry promise, "You ain't gonna get no sugar tonight!" - and how an obscure line in a Bob Dylan song about a girl who'd "come undone" led to another hit for The Guess Who.
His favourite story, he told a rapt audience, was the one behind BTO's 1973 megahit Taking Care of Business. It originated in Bachman's conversation with a visually impaired sound engineer in New York City who "took the 8:15 into the city," was burnished years later by a Vancouver DJ's catchphrase about "takin' care of business," and finally rounded out by a Seattle pizza delivery man who suggested he work a piano into the recording of the song.
Bachman is humble enough to admit his errors - like how he deemed ridiculous a recorded track in which he good-naturedly mimicked his brother's stutter. But the record company loved its novelty and You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet became one of BTO's biggest hits.
"That proved to me," the veteran rocker said with a knowing smile, "that I knew nothing about music."
What they said, with a smile
A reporter's quotebook from this year's edition of the Hope's Home Howl:
"I had a song-writing kit in my car: a McDonald's napkin and a smashed crayon."
- Randy Bachman, on his unusual craft
"These pants are stuck to me now. When I do a show at the casino, they need the Jaws of Life and nine people to get me out of them."
- Entertainer Rory Allen, on his trademark leather duds
"Only in Saskatchewan, in August, would we have to move inside."
- MLA Gene Makowsky, on how Hope's Home Howl came to be relocated from the backyard of Karl Fix and his wife, Sandi Beug, to the Hotel Saskatchewan
"The next act was going to be Alice Cooper, who I thought was a great-looking chick."
- Randy Bachman, on touring with The Guess Who as a very young guy
"I'm an ex-guitar player; I played in a band in high school - and I've always been a huge fan of BTO and Randy Bachman, in particular."
- Reginan Terry Gilmore on why he bid $12,500 to buy a guitar signed by the legendary Canadian rocker