Congratulations Atis!

Please join us in congratulating Atis, who won the “Christopher Newton Award for Extraordinary Vision in Business” on Tuesday night at the Spirit of Niagara Awards Ceremony. The event was held at Queen’s Landing hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Well done, Atis!

Spirit of Niagara Awards
Atis with Music Niagara Board members, staff and supporters.

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February Update

Alexander Sevastian

Quartetto Gelato Member Alexander Sevastian Has Died, Aged 41

We are very sorry to learn that the Toronto accordion virtuoso Alexander Sevastian died suddenly on Friday, February 16, 2018 in Ajijic, Mexico, while on tour with Quartetto Gelato. He had been a member of the group since 2002.

Alexander Sevastian started out in Moscow, touring Europe with the Russian Radio Orchestra. He was a renowned artist, who won several International Accordion Competitions.

He has performed with Music Niagara on numerous occasions over the years and was always a great favourite with our audiences.

Alex is survived by his wife Anya, their children Vladimir and Maria, his brother Vitali and his mother Nadya.

Full biography
Donate to the Alexander Sevastian Memorial Fund

Funeral arrangements for Alexander have been made:
Elgin Mills Funeral Centre
Monday, February 26th
12:30-3 pm
1591 Elgin Mills Road East
Richmond Hill Ontario

Alexander Sevastian – October 2, 1976 – February 16, 2018

Spirit of Niagara Awards

Our very own Atis Bankas has been nominated for a 2018 “Spirit of Niagara” award. Join us on February 27th at 6:30, in the Grand Georgian Ballroom, Queen’s Landing, Niagara-on-the-Lake, to lend your support. Individual tickets, $40.
Ceremony and awards at 7:00, buffet afterwards.

Support our 20th Season

André Laplante, Trio Céleste, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Julie Nesrallah, Victoria Kogan and Alex Dobson  are just a few of the treats we have in store for you in 2018. To find out how you can invest in this exciting year of concerts and events, visit us online . Or just:

Donate Now


Do you have photos or special memories you would like to share with us? We would love to put together some pictures and remembrances for our 20th season. Email us:  . We would like to feature some of these through our newsletters and on our website, so be sure to let us know that you give us permission to share.

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February Newsletter

Don’t let his height fool you! Though Sora Sato-Mound could barely see past the heads of the residents, this virtuoso wowed audiences to the back of the room with his talent and musicality.
Our roster of talented performers, under the direction of Artistic Director, Atis Bankas.


On Sunday February 4th, the halls of the Royal Henley Retirement Community and Ina Grafton Gage Village in St. Catharines echoed with the sound of music. Sora Sato-Mound, Hilary Chan, Keris Choi and Veronika Manchur, all from the Royal Conservatory, delighted over one hundred residents with their talent and professionalism.

This isn’t the first time Music Niagara has brought music to Niagara-area retirement communities. In total since beginning this initiative, Music Niagara has presented eight concerts to local area homes. “It is a unique way to give back to our community and our supporters” Artistic Director Atis Bankas remarked.

This week’s double header is just the latest in what Bankas says is an ongoing series. “We have plans to continue bringing great music to these retirement communities in the months and years to come.”

Collage of Music Niagara Posters
The Big Night 2018

Our annual fundraising event will be held on Saturday June 2nd, 5:30 at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre. Call your friends and put together a table. Catered by Collin Goodine, this should be a night to remember. As always, we will have a fantastic selection of silent and live auction items and Chris Blake will be returning to Niagara-on-the-Lake, just to call the bids for us.

Tickets are $1200 for a table of 8 or $150 each and are already on sale here .

20th Season

Look out for our Season announcement coming soon. We have lots of wonderful concerts in store for you.

Hosting for Music Niagara

Every year, Music Niagara brings world renown artists to our beautiful town. Part of what makes Music Niagara unique is our wonderfully dedicated volunteer group who open up their homes to host these visiting artists. As Music Niagara grows, we’d love to see our network of hosts grow as well. From commitments as short as one night, to longer stays with the talented youngsters of the Performance Academy, Music Niagara has a wide-range of varying needs for accommodations. If you’re interested in learning more about hosting for Music Niagara, please email us:

Volunteer Appeal

During the festival, volunteers are an essential part of our operation. From serving wine, to taking tickets and handing out programs, we rely on a strong network of volunteers on a daily basis. If you would like to join the team, let us know !

Support our 20th Season

We’re gearing up for a spectacular 20th anniversary season. To find out more about ways that you can invest in this exciting year of concerts and events, visit us online . Or just:

Donate Now


Do you have photos or special memories you would like to share with us? We would love to put together some pictures and remembrances for our 20th season. Email us:  We would like to feature some of these through our newsletters and on our website, so be sure to let us know that you give us permission to share.

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December Newsletter

Season’s Greetings!

We will be closing the office for a couple of weeks, from December 23 to January 7, but year-end donations can be made any time
online ( or you can mail your cheque to:

Music Niagara
P.O. Box 1828
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
L0S 1J0

For a 2017 tax credit, just make sure that your donation is dated (letter must be postmarked) before midnight on December 31st.
Congratulations to our winners:
John Pouli from Fenwick and Mark Roberts from St. Catharines each won a poster and two tickets for the 2018 season at our Remembrance Day concert in November.
6 Packs – No Tax Until the New Year!
We also have “Six-Packs” on sale through the Shaw Festival Box Office 1-800-511-7429, (open ‘til 5:00 pm, December 23rd.) We will pay the HST on these until December 31st, so that is just $195 for six vouchers that can be used for concerts in 2018. Buy them now for yourself or give them to friends.

A note from Sarah…

I would like to thank all of our wonderful donors, volunteers, staff, and of course the musicians who made this past year so memorable.

2017 was a tremendously successful season for Music Niagara. I hope that you were able to join us. We made some fabulous new discoveries, Oystein Baadsvik , The Fitzgeralds and Victoria Kogan, to name just a few. We also welcomed back some of your favourite artists like Robert Silverman, James Campbell and the Toronto All-Star Big Band. We presented nearly 50 performances over the course of the year and attendance was up 10% over last year.

Our Remembrance Day concert was a full house as usual, with canteen lunch supplied by our very efficient volunteers and donations accepted at the door. Proceeds from this concert were sent to Wounded Warriors Canada for their PTSD Service Dogs program.

For our Christmas concert this year we welcomed the Toronto All-Star Big Band for their first winter concert with us. The house was full, the music was fantastic and I saw nothing but smiles leaving the church.

Next year will be our 20th season and we have all sorts of exciting plans. The world renowned
Trio Celeste and pianist Dang Thai Son are just a couple of the treats we have in store for you. Watch this space for more information coming soon.

All the best for the holiday season and the coming year.

Sarah Lynch
Executive Director
Music Niagara

P.S. Do you have photos or special memories you would like to share with us? We would love to put together some pictures and remembrances for our 20th season.

Please email

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October Newsletter

It’s been a busy fall so far…

In September, Music Niagara was pleased to join The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, provincial,
regional, and local politicians, and a tent-full of local residents for a celebration to mark the 225^th anniversary of the first parliament of Upper Canada. Atis and a number of musicians performed works originally composed and performed to celebrate Canada’s 150 years of Confederation, and to commemorate the Act Against Slavery legislation of Upper Canada’s First Parliament in 1793.

Also in September, the first annual Music Niagara Golf Tournament was held on North America’s oldest golf course, here in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Some 60 golfers completed the nine hole fun competition, raising over $6,000 in support of our music making. The winning foursome received the Sally Miller Group Trophy. A special thank you to all the sponsors, including Sally Miller, Colliers International, Elaine and Bob Lavery, and Joan and Larry Bourk.

And there’s more to come…

Remembrance Day

Saturday November 11 – 11:45 am (following the Cenotaph wreath laying)
St. Mark’s Church

For the fourth year, Music Niagara will commemorate Remembrance Day with music and words that capture the moment. The pay-what-you-can concert will include a canteen lunch. All proceeds will go to a veterans’ charity. The concert will feature: Jamie Mainprize, Jenny Phipps, Stephen Wattrus and the Trillium Trio: Atis Bankas, Jonathan Tortolano, Benjamin Smith.

Music Niagara Family Town Hall

Monday November 27 – 4:00-6:00pm
Community Centre, Simpsons Room

Over the past few years, you’ve asked us all kinds of questions about how we operate, about financial matters, about upcoming programming—you want to know, so you can be supportive. Please join us for a family discussion of all these topics and whatever is on your mind, on November 27th. We’ll talk about financial results, budgeting, marketing, programming for our 20th Anniversary and so on. We want to hear from you.

A Swingin’ Christmas with Toronto All-Star Big Band

Saturday December 16 – 7:00 pm
St. Mark’s Church

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year big band style, with swingin’ renditions of seasonal and all-time favorites from the Golden Age of Swing. This vibrant, exciting young band revives the spirit, style, and sound of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, capturing the warmth, joy, and magic of the holiday season. A genuine time capsule that is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Not to be missed! Tickets start at $35+HST available through the Shaw Box Office Click here to learn more and buy now!

Save the Date…

The Big Night

Saturday June 2, 2018
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Music Niagara!

Stay tuned for more details in the coming months…

And from our friends at the Shaw Festival…

A Christmas Carol

Royal George Theatre
November 15 – December 23

Adapted for the stage and directed by Tim Carroll

See the beloved Charles Dickens’ classic at the Royal George in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the perfect setting to experience a Victorian winter wonderland.
Fun for everyone (even Scrooges).
For tickets call 1.800.511.7429 or visit

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September News

Music Notes


We have come to the end of the 19th season of the Music Niagara summer festival and what an amazing time we had!
We made some wonderful new friends: Oystein Baadsvik, Christopher Hall and The Fitzgeralds, to name just a few. And we enjoyed return visits from some of our favourites like Robert Silverman, James Cameron, the Toronto All-Star Big Band, and the Trinity College Cambridge Choir (presented in partnership with St. Mark’s Church).
Guido, Dave, Terry and John delighted us with jazz standards and Quartetto Gelato were as energetic as ever for our closing concert.

We had our challenges, everything from storms to last-minute reprogramming, but we survived and prospered. This was thanks in part to you, our loyal patrons, who braved the elements to enjoy Whiskey Jack under the tent at The Village, and took a chance on Victoria Kogan and Leopoldo Erice who understudied so brilliantly for André LaPlante.
Thank you all for coming and supporting us in so many ways.

Sarah Lynch – Executive Director
You can contribute to the ongoing success of Music Niagara by making your donation here.

Donate Now
We Want to Hear from You

Every year we ask you to share your thoughts about Music Niagara. This helps us to understand how we can better serve you, our community, by offering artists in venues and at times that you enjoy.
This survey should only take a few minutes to complete.
If you provide us with your name and email address, you will be entered in a draw for one of three pairs of tickets to the Opening Gala Concert next Season. If you choose to participate be assured that your identity will be kept strictly private.

Take the Survey
Golf Tournament

Don’t forget our First Annual Music Niagara Golf Tournament, September 20th, 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the NOTL Golf Club.
We still have a few spots left, so gather your friends and book your foursome now.

$150.00 per golfer ($40 discount if you are already a Golf Club member), or come for the dinner only for $50.
Funds raised from this event will support Music Niagara programs and the Performance Academy.

Commemoration of the 225th Anniversary of the Opening of the First Parliament of Upper Canada

Music Niagara is proud to be a part of this special celebration. on September 17th at 11:00 am in Simcoe Park, Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Enjoy some excerpts from the special commissions created this year to celebrate both this event and the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

More Information

Art Emporium  

Our Friends at St. Mark’s Church will be hosting an Art Emporium at The Rectory, 17 Byron St., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Friday, Sept. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 2 from 1- 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with summer refreshments.
For sale there will be an eclectic collection, curated by Geoffrey Joyner, of original oils, acrylics, watercolours and photographs by locally and internationally acclaimed artists.

Organizers of the Art Emporium stand with one of the more than 60 works available for sale. From left, Keith Bullen, Don MacLeod, Mary Webster and Nancy Bongard.


Save the Date

Mix & Mingle at at Critelli’s in St. Catharines
September 22, 5:30 – 7:30pm
This event will be a partnership with the Shaw Festival.

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Final Week

Our final weekend of the 2017 Festival.

For tickets and more information go to
Tickets are also avalable at the Shaw Festival Box Office:

Canada’s Best will perform at St. Mark’s this Friday

We are all looking forward to the last of our Friday concerts for 2017.
Guido Basso, Dave Young, Terry Clark and John Sherwood
This week we will be at St. Mark’s, 41 Byron Street
Time 7:30 pm.

St. John String Quartet – bonus opening act.

The Saint John String Quartet concert starts at 7:30 but….

BONUS – OPENING ACT – 6:30 pm – A Trio of Premieres.

Come early and enjoy three brand new works by Canadian composers: Dimitriy Varelas,  Jim Hiscott and Mark Richards.
The Saint John String Quartet, one of Canada’s longest established string quartets will be performing with Richard Hornsby – clarinet and saxophone.

Ian McGimpsey Trio: The Future of Canadian Jazz
One last concert at the Epicurean Bistro.
Showtime 9:30

Tickets are available for dinner packages or for show-only. Enjoy an evening of cool jazz on the prettiest patio in town.

Karakoro: Japanese Dancers and Drummers
Show starts at 12:00 noon

Our free concerts in Simcoe Park are always a crowd-pleaser. These colourful dancers from Japan return again to entertain us at noon on Sunday. Bring a lawn-chair and a picnic and enjoy!

Closing Gala with Quartetto Gelato
Starting at 5:00

with a premiere of a new Canadian work by Dmitriy and Anatolyi Varelas, Taste of Freedom for String Quartet and Accordion .

We will celebrate the conclusion of our 2017 Festival with a reception at intermission.

“Virtuosic showpieces, romantic tenor arias, pyrotechnical solos, blazing gypsy show pieces, multi-instrument mastery and a World Accordion Champion – this is Quartetto Gelato.”

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August News

Music Notes…
Week 4

We’re at the far turn (forgive the racing analogy!), with some wonderful music still ahead. This weekend’s highlights include…

Joel Quarrington
Rossini: Eat, Hear and Be Merry
August 5, 6:00pm St. Mark’s Church

Juno award winning, and world-renown contrabassist Joel Quarrington brings an all-Rossini  program to St. Mark’s. Also featuring Carole Sirois, cello. Tickets to the show include a Rossini-inspired reception at intermission—Rossini himself was an avid gastronomist who created many of his own recipes. Concert introduction with James Wegg.

Jonathan Crow and Peter Chiu
Confederation Celebration
August 6, 4:00pm St. Mark’s Church

Jonathan Crow (violin) and Philip Chiu (piano) help celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial with a program of music from the Founding Fathers (Britain and France) along with Canada’s own Healey Willan. Also includes music by Debussy, Elgar and Ravel. Concert introduction with James Wegg.

Philip Chiu & Jonathan Crow
Philip Chiu & Jonathan Crow
Robert Silverman
An Afternoon with Robert Silverman
August 7, 2:00pm St. Mark’s Church

A festival favourite for many years, Robert Silverman returns to perform music by Beethoven and Chopin.

Help Music Niagara Thrive…

The Music Niagara family is tremendously indebted to our sponsors. We rely on the largesse of over a hundred individuals and businesses to present Atis’ exceptional music, in our intimate venues, at reasonable prices. 

Each year, as many as 30% of our sponsors, make their commitment during the Festival. So, if you’re enjoying this season and want to ensure we continue to have such wonderful performances in our community, let us know you want to contribute. Contact Ginny Green at or donate online now.

Golf Tournament Registration Open!
Register Now!

Tournament will be held on Wednesday September 20th at Niagara on the Lake Golf Club

Price is $150 / $110 if you are a NOTL GC Member
Dinner only guests are welcome–$50
Targeting mixed foursomes, but also welcoming men’s foursomes and ladies foursomes
Our goal is 60 golfers, or 15 foursomes
Lots of prizes!

Playing golf. Golf club and ball. Preparing to shot

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July News

Chair’s Message
Why We Love Music Niagara…

On Sunday at the Get Ready to Tuba concert at St. Mark’s, there was a wonderful moment—an AHA! moment, for me—when my love of what Music Niagara really is, came into vivid focus. We were seeing and hearing exceptional musicality and a wonderful, very personal, stage presence. We were informed, entertained, amused and musically sated. In a special intimate setting with 75 or so of our musical family. What could be better than that?

That feeling—that moment—is what all our concerts aim to imbue, each and every time our performers take the stage. It is why the staff, our Board and our dozens of volunteers work so tirelessly to make it happen. We are very lucky.

By the time you read this, we will be almost half way through our 2017 Music Niagara season! I know many of you have already caught the momentum. But there is so, so much more to come.

Tim Taylor
Chair, Music Niagara

Relive the Scotch Mary show on COGECO
Thursday July 27, at 9:00pm

There was a festive air at our first Feel Good Friday concert, at the Market at the Village on July 21. The market tent was transformed into a concert venue—with lots of picnic tables surrounding the tent (reminiscent of a small Artpark!). The food trucks and beverage bars were busy. And the music was truly toe-tapping. Scotch Mary (of Big Night fame) kept the crowd moving with folk music from Canada’s four original provinces—and a few more. (Could someone please record the broadcast?)

Scotch Mary at The Village, July 21st.
The Fitzgeralds…
Friday July 28, 6:00pm, The Market at The Village

This Friday’s concert (July 28) features The Fitzgeralds, a fiddling and step dancing trio from the Ottawa Valley. This sibling act has earned three Canadian Grand master Fiddling Championships and numerous set dancing events. We better re-inforce the stage! Doors open at 5:00pm. The concert begins at 6:00pm. Lots of food and beverages available. See you there.

The Fitzgeralds
André Laplante Cancellation

On Tuesday afternoon we received the unhappy news that André LaPlante was unwell and unable to perform his concert that evening. In true Music Niagara fashion, staff, board and artists pulled together and created a miracle.

All ticket buyers were contacted by email and/or phone and Atis pulled together a brilliant concert with only a few hours notice.

Victoria Kogan was conscripted to play a solo piano recital of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky and the Gould String Quartet performed Mozart and Haydn. All those who attended were very happy that they did.

Saturday’s concert is also cancelled and will be replaced with a  performance featuring a wonderful Spanish pianist Leopoldo Erice and the Gould String Quartet. The program will consist of:

Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano Op. 110, 
Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano and Violin No.5 Op. 24 “Spring”
Cesar Frank’s very romantic Piano Quintet in F minor

Bonjour – Taste of Stradivari
Saturday July 29, 2:00 at Grace Church

The Bonjour Stradivari cello was made by famous luthier Antonio Stradivari in 1692. The instrument is named after the amateur 19th-century Parisian cellist Abel Bonjour. The Bonjour cello was restored at the George Heinl shop in Toronto and awarded to Cameron Crozman, a winner of the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition. 

On Saturday afternoon you will have the chance to see Cameron perform on this truly unique instrument, one of the best Stradivari cellos in the world!
More information here

Cameron Crozman
Laugh with Christopher Hall
Sunday July 30, 2:00pm, St. Mark’s Church

Our second Family Series concert features Christopher Hall, on clarinet, and a string quartet and reminds us, in a humorous and engaging way, that classical music is for everyone, not just an educated few. Hall takes a fun and engaging poke at the music and rituals surrounding the performance of classical music. Just take a look at the promotional picture!

Christopher Hall
Christopher Hall
Golf Tournament
Tournament will be held on Wednesday September 20th at Niagara on the Lake Golf Club

Price is $150 / $110 if you are a NOTL GC Member
Dinner only guests are welcome–$50
Targeting mixed foursomes, but also welcoming men’s foursomes and ladies foursomes
Our goal is 60 golfers, or 15 foursomes
There will be lots of prizes!
Details to follow.

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June News

Chair’s Message

The Final Scurry is Underway

After a year’s concerted thought and planning, our 19th season is less than a month away. Thirty-six concerts, more than 100 performers, seven local venues—a cornucopia of musical talent. As always, classical music is the cornerstone of the season. My favourites: Saint John String Quartet, Gryphon Trio, Swiss Piano Trio, and André LaPlante. And the Rossini Cocktail promises to liven up the August 5 concert.

Two new initiatives for this year:
  • Immediately following the FREE Sunday in the Park concerts, we’re presenting two family-friendly concerts: Get Ready to Tuba (July 23) and Laugh with Christopher Hall (July 30). The series is sponsored by Ontario Power Generation. Fun for the whole family.
  • The Market at the Village tent (beside Garrison House restaurant), is a perfect venue for three Feel Good Friday Folk Concerts—July 21, 28 and August 4. The new tent gives us lots of room for a real folk celebration. The Exchange Brewery and Stratus Wines will be serving. And we’ll have at least two food trucks. So come hungry and thirsty and ready to sing and dance along.

If you haven’t seen the full program, you can find it here.

Tim Taylor
Chair, Music Niagara

Concert and Series Sponsorships still available…

Connect to our Musical Excellence

To maintain our performance excellence, we need your financial support. Some of you have already committed to a $500 concert sponsorship. Some of you have given even more. And some of you are still considering your contribution.

There is no better way to whet your musical appetite and shape your contribution than a wander through this year’s summer program here . Choose a concert or series to support. Then call the office at 905-468-5566 or donate online here  . If you want to explore other opportunities, please connect with Ginny Green, our Chair of Fundraising.

Atis’ European Spring

For several weeks this spring, Atis has been touring Europe with the Potsdam Trio. The trio, including Constanze Beckman (who has performed for us in Niagara) and Damien Ventula, was formed in 2016, following a successful European tour. This year’s tour is taking the trio to venues in Germany, Lithuania and Italy.

The Really Big Night

More than 180 music lovers gathered June 3^rd to celebrate and support the upcoming 19th season. Volunteer Elaine Mayo and her team transformed the Community Centre into a virtual garden and the dedicated auction team presented more than 50 silent and live auction items.

Big Night Chair, Margot Hickson: “The real thanks go to the total team of over 35 volunteers, staff, Board members AND all the community sponsors, donors and 183 friends who joined us at the Big Night – everyone’s generosity and support of Music Niagara made the evening one of the most successful fundraisers ever and exceeded expectations.”

The annual special event is critical to the financial health of Music Niagara. A special thanks and applause to Ginny Green, Board Fundraising Chair, and Margot Hickson, Chair of the Big Night, for their determined, unflagging leadership.

Concert Updates

There were a couple of errors in the calendar in our brochure. The information included in the concert descriptions is correct.

Saturday, July 22
Wine and Music

This concert is at 11:30 am (not 11:30 pm!)

Friday, August 11
Guido, Dave, Terry and John

This performance will take place at St. Mark’s Church (not the Market)

And a couple of small changes…

Saturday, August 5
Rossini: Eat, Hear and be Merry

Intermission reception will feature Rossini Cocktails and Rossini-inspired hors d’oeuvres (we think it may be too early for dessert).

Saturday, August 12

The final Saturday Jazz at the Epicurean will now feature the Ian McGimpsey Trio

Toronto Summer Music Festival

July 13- August 5
Featuring the very best of Canada’s many world renowned classical performers including James Ehnes, the St Lawrence and Rolston String Quartets, Jonathan Crow, TSO Chamber soloists…and MUCH more!
Save 20% with the code SESQUI17* 416-408-0208

And from our friends at St. Mark’s…

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