Bognor’s 60 Minutes of Classical Music promises COVID-safe return

Bognor’s 60 Minutes of Classical Music returns to the studio room at the Regis Centre on Friday, October 2 at 7.30pm – its first outing since the start of March.

Roger Clayden
Roger Clayden

Full COVID safety measures will be in place, and if all goes well, there should be further concerts in November and in December.

The series has been devised by Roger Clayden who will perform on cello, joined by Christopher Taylor on piano, for a programme which will include Bach, Frank, Elgar, Von Weber, Rachmaninov and Handel.

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“There are only 27 tickets for sale in a room that can hold 90,” Roger said.

“The audience will have to wear a mask in the foyer but once in the studio room they can be removed to hear the concert as the seats will be spread out.”

Roger expects a sensation of relief as the first notes fill the room: “It has been a very, very weird time indeed. I have lost so many concerts over the seven months. And I have lost all the restaurant concerts as well.

“It has been a really tough time. All the musicians are moaning like mad. They haven’t got any money. I have got by by thinking of the things that we can do and really just waiting for things to come around. Quite a few people have come into my (jewellery) shop and have said how much they have been missing the concerts.

“I did go and play in the street for VE Day in Felpham. I played for 15 minutes. Everybody had tables outside their houses, and there was like a street party going on. That was good.”

Otherwise, Roger has spent some of the time trying to memorise the pieces he plays – something he wouldn’t otherwise have had the time to do.

“We can only have 27 people at the concert. We are not going to make any money, but we are not going to lose any, and I still think it is going to be worth it because people haven’t had the chance to go to any concerts right across the board. I think people are getting itchy feet. People are wanting something that is going to feel like normal again. I think people are getting pretty worn down by all this. The concert should help bring a bit of life back. I think we will sell all 27 seats by the time we get there. People are wanting to get back. They are getting fed up. We were in lockdown for three months and it has only eased a little bit now. It is nice to get musicians down and we will just try to build it up from there.

“There are going to be a lot of COVID restrictions, but it is going to be fine. I think it will just be a massive relief to be playing again. We have got another one booked for November, but we will have a meeting with the theatre after this one to see if we can go ahead with it, and I would like to do something for Christmas as well. We need to liven things up a bit. It has been really dead throughout the summer. We need to start going the other way.”

No food or drinks should be taken into the studio room. Book in and buy your ticket in your own name. There should be no lingering in the foyer. Move into the studio room without delay. Wear a mask in the foyer only – masks can be removed once you are in the studio room and ready to listen to concert.

The gents toilet will be the only one open and will be used by men and women. It is strictly one person in at a time. The sliding door of the studio room must remain open during the performance and the front doors of theatre shut.