The 2017-’18 musical season in the U.S. 1 readership area is formidable both in size and in quality. Attending all the scheduled events would squeeze out almost every other activity.

My back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals the problem: There are roughly 30 main musical organizations offering major performance schedules during the season. Not including member events and benefit activities, the estimated number of events in the music season (September 15 to May 14) is around 242.

That number also does not include the plethora of events offered by Princeton University’s Department of Music in its new home in the Lewis Center for the Arts, celebrating its grand opening Thursday through Sunday, October 5 through 8, across from McCarter Theater. Who could commit to so much?

On Friday, September 15, in two days, So Percussion, Princeton’s Edward T. Cone performers-in-residence, elbow their way into the calendar. You can count on the group’s performance being both fresh and easy to listen to. In this first of a series of three free performances in Princeton’s Richardson Auditorium, So plays Paul Lansky’s “Threads,” one of the early works written for them, as well as newer pieces and a choreographed piece.

Now, on the exhalation, let’s take a leisurely look at anniversaries. It has been 300 years since George Frideric Handel’s “Water Music” was first performed on England’s Thames River, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra plays the piece at the State Theater in New Brunswick on Saturday, April 21.

Georg Philipp Telemann died 250 years ago in 1767, and Rutgers’ Mason Gross School notices with performances on period instruments on Wednesday, October 18, and Monday, December 4.

Johannes Brahms wrote his “German Requiem” in 1868, 150 years ago. This season Princeton Pro Musica opens with the piece on Sunday, November 5. Folk singer Woody Guthrie died 50 years ago; his descendants — son Arlo and two grandsons — perform at Princeton’s McCarter Theater on Saturday, May 19.

Next, a quick look at the latest news from McCarter Theater, for more than 80 years, a major presence in Princeton’s musical life. The venue opened in 1930 and was at one time the home for Princeton University Concerts. In the 1990s a smaller theater adjacent to the main auditorium was constructed, making possible the appearance of two events simultaneously.

In 2017-’18 McCarter offers five different series of events, including theater, music, and dance. Outstanding features for the season are the inclusion of unusual instruments and exceptional jazz programs. Among the non-standard instruments to be heard are Flamenco Legends by Javier Limon: The Paco de Lucia Project on Tuesday, November 14; Yamato Drummers of Japan on Saturday, January 27; and Accordion Virtuosi of Russia on Saturday, February 10.

McCarter’s exceptional jazz programs during the season include Princeton University director of jazz Rudresh Mahanthappa’s blend of jazz with south Indian classical music, Friday, March 16; Indian percussion master Zakir Hussain explores American jazz with bassist Dave Holland, Wednesday, May 2; Chucho Valdes takes on Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz, Thursday, April 12; and the Robert Fonseca Quintet looks over the same territory on Tuesday, April 24.

And then there’s McCarter’s powerhouse scheduling of prominent classical music performers and groups, including acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell, Wednesday, November 1; New Jersey Symphony’s “Messiah,” Friday, December 15 (in Richardson Auditorium); National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, Sunday, March 25; renowned flautist Sir James Galway, Monday, March 26; Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Monday, April 9; and lots more.

In contrast to the venerable McCarter, a recently restored performance venue is the 1867 Sanctuary in Ewing, on a site formerly used by the Ewing Presbyterian Church, which seats 200 and began presenting events in 2016. Air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible, it includes a pipe organ and a grand piano. While it has been operating all summer, the classical, folk, and pop series continues with the Saturday, September 16, arrival of Roger Verdi, a trombonist who has played with symphonies and circuses.

Other events coming up include the string ensemble and Theremin orchestra, Divine Hand, October 14; and Harlem Opera Theater on November 11. The Sanctuary has also become a sanctuary for regional jazz artists, so look for the Alex Otey Trio on October 13, Wenonah Brooks on October 29, and Eric Mintel and his “Charlie Brown Christmas — Vince Guaraldi Jazz” on December 10.

Princeton University Concerts opens its 2017-’18 season of primarily chamber concerts in Princeton’s 900-seat Richardson Auditorium on Thursday, September 28, with an event that defies categories, “Shostakovich and the Black Monk.” The interdisciplinary event is a co-commission for the Emerson String Quartet and an ensemble of seven actors. It grows out of Dmitri Shostakovich’s decades-long fascination with a short story by Anton Chekhov dealing with a scholar obsessed by hallucinations of a black monk. This may be the most exceptional program among the unusual performances scheduled by Princeton University Concerts office.

Other noteworthy items appear among Princeton University Concerts’ primarily chamber-music-oriented programs. The affectionately remembered Brentano Quartet, formerly in residence at the university, returns with pianist Jonathan Biss to play the Edward Elgar Piano Quintet and three string quartets on Thursday, February 15.

On Thursday, March 15, the London choral group Tenebrae and the Princeton Glee Club join in commissioned pieces for two choirs in the Princeton University Chapel; the choirs sing from all corners of the chapel. On Thursday, April 12, tenor Lawrence Brownlee sings a program that includes both spirituals and art songs on the University concert roster.

Independent of the university, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Rossen Milanov, habitually reaches out to the community with full orchestral programs, a chamber music series, and courses open to the public. In addition, this season, through PSO’s Bravo program, middle school students have an opportunity to respond to Erwin Schulhoff’s 1930 “Concerto for String Quartet and Winds,” a jazz-influenced piece included in the Sunday, October 29, classical concert. Student art and written comment will be displayed at the Arts Council of Princeton.

Move fast if you haven’t yet secured tickets for PSO’s opening concert for the season (Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17), featuring Ludwig van Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, No. 9. Soloists are drawn from Joe Miller’s Westminster Symphonic Choir, based at Rider University’s Westminster Choir College.

Besides the Princeton Symphony, our region hosts three additional orchestras: the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO), though based in Newark, performs in Princeton and New Brunswick; the Capital Philharmonic, based at Trenton’s War Memorial; and the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra (NBCO), with special events at Rutgers’ Zimmerli Art Museum, and concerts at New Brunswick’s Christ Church.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra offers, as part of its classical series, a three-concert January festival devoted to pieces inspired by America or written in America, with the Richardson Auditorium concert set for Friday, January 19, and the State Theater on Saturday, January 20.

An April concert includes improvisations by piano soloist Robert Levin on themes submitted by audience members. Dynamic artistic director Xian Zhang conducts many of the NJSO concerts. I, for one, am eager to hear the innovations she brings to Beethoven’s often-played Symphony No. 5 in Princeton on Friday, November 3, and at the State Theater on Sunday, November 5.

The New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, in response to record attendance at its innovative NBCO @ Zimmerli salons, has enlarged the Zimmerli season to four events. In these novel events, brief chamber music performances, with commentary by NBCO artistic director Mark Hyczko, are interspersed with informal contacts between performers and listeners over wine and cheese.

Zimmerli events are scheduled for Sundays, October 1, November 19, January 21, and April 22. Full NBCO orchestral performances are scheduled for New Brunswick’s Christ Church on Sundays, February 18 and May 20. The NBCO motto is “Reframing Classical Music.” Its music selections turn out to be simultaneously cutting-edge and easy-to-listen-to.

The Capital Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Spalding, opens its season on Saturday, October 21, at the Trenton War Memorial with a presentation of Camille Saint-Saens’ “Organ Symphony” performed on the venue’s historic Moller Theater Pipe Organ. Other events include the annual New Year’s Eve concert, a “Jazz Age Concert” featuring music by noted Trenton born composer George Antheil (Saturday, March 10), and a recreation of a notable 1940 War Memorial performance by composer Sergei Rachmaninoff of his Piano Concerto No. 2 (Saturday, April 21), with Westminster Conservatory pianist Clipper Erickson performing.

Westminster Choir College is home to seven different choral ensembles. WCC ensembles participate in performances throughout the United States, and its footprint is large in central New Jersey. Not surprisingly, Westminster is this season’s leading presenter of opera and musical theater in the area. WCC plans three fully staged operas. Francis Poulenc’s “Dialogues des Carmelites” plays Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Magic Flute, Thursday through Sunday, January 18 through 21; and Johann Strauss’ “Fledermaus,” Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21. All take place in WCC’s Annis Playhouse.

WCC’s three musicals also include performances: “Bonnie and Clyde” with music by Frank Wildhorn (Wednesday through Sunday, October 11 through 15); “The Theory of Relativity,” music and lyrics by Neil Bartram (Wednesday through Sunday, February 21 through 25); and “Heathers,” by Kevin Murphy and Lawrence O’Keefe and including a major dance component (Wednesday through Sunday, April 25 through 29).

Organizations other than WCC are part of the opera/musical theater spectrum in the area. Boheme Opera contributes two opera performances during the 2017-’18 season. A concert version of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Forza del Destino” is scheduled for Thursday, October 19. Fully staged versions of Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci,”—“Cav” and “Pag”—are scheduled on Friday and Sunday, April 20 and 22.

Beethoven’s only opera, “Fidelio,” appears in a concert presentation, with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra of Rutgers’ Mason Gross School on Saturday, November 18.

Musical theater is on the roster at New Brunswick’s State Theater twice in 2017-’18. “Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer” is scheduled for Monday, December 18; “Motown,” for Friday through Sunday, March 23 through 25.

Composer David Lang, artist-in-residence at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, curates another concert series that is likely to consist primarily of chamber music. The IAS artists-in-residence have the privilege of acting as impresario for a series of Friday and Saturday night concerts, and Lang’s choices for the series, are: pianist and composer Stephen Drury, October 20 and 21; the Philadelphia based new music group the Crossing Choir, November 10 and 11; Canadian contemporary music pianist Vicky Chow, January 12 and 13; and the New York City based Ensemble Signal, March 9 and 10.

We’re not finished. More than half a dozen choral ensembles regularly concertize in the area; it’s hard to know where to start.

Let’s go with the afterlife of the American Boychoir, which dissolved at the end of last season. Princeton Girlchoir has announced the creation of a choir division for boys in grades four through 12. Fred Meads, former director of vocal studies at the American Boychoir School, and in his eighth season with the Princeton Girlchoir, leads both choirs. Rehearsals for the boychoir division begin in October. The Princeton Girlchoir’s season will be releasing its performance dates soon.

Kinnara Ensemble, whose Westminster Choir College-trained artistic director is Georgia-based J. D. Burnett, considers Princeton its base. For its unique concert-giving philosophy, Kinnara uses an exceptional organization. The group consists of more than a hundred vocalists scattered throughout the United States; for each concert 16 to 32 participants assemble in Princeton for three days of intensive rehearsal followed by three hour-long performances with no intermission. In addition to releasing its first commercial album in September, the group can be heard on Saturdays, March 3 and June 2 at All Saints Church in Princeton.

Princeton Pro Musica, the 100-member auditioned chorus, is unusual in the number of its collaborations with other musical organizations as it performs some of the most massive chorale works in the repertoire during its four-concert season: Brahms’ “German Requiem” (Sunday, November 5, Richardson Auditorium); “Joy to the World: A Christmas Suite,” (Sunday, December 10, War Memorial Building in Trenton): Claudio Monteverdi, “Vespers” (Saturday, March 3, Princeton University Chapel), and Benjamin Britten, “War Requiem” (Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28, Richardson Auditorium).

The Princeton Chapel Choir and Orchestra present Franz Joseph Haydn’s much-admired “Lord Nelson” Mass,” marking Napoleon’s defeat, on Saturday, April 14. The work — also known as the “Mass for Troubled Times” — unites a pinnacle moment in Haydn’s late composition with an era filled with uncertainties. Penna Rose, director of Princeton University’s chapel music, conducts.

Alterations are underway among performing groups in our area for 2017-’18. Two choral groups, Voices Chorale and Hopewell Valley Youth Chorale, have announced leadership changes. One choral group has declared a hiatus. One has announced a change of date.

Lyn Ransom, founder of Voices Chorale in 1987, retired in June. Her replacement is Richard Tang Yuk, artistic director of the Princeton Festival. While exact dates are still being worked out, Tang Yuk’s plans include a program of Renaissance Music in March and Haydn’s “The Creation” in April. Along with the Princeton Chapel Choir’s performance of Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass” Haydn’s “Creation” makes for two major Haydn choral works in a single month.

Michele and Bill Alford, who founded Hopewell Valley Youth Chorale in 2006, have withdrawn from leadership positions. Bill has officially retired; Michele will continue to work with the ensemble. Ingrid Ladendorf is the new preparatory choir director; Jennifer Ghannam is the new managing director.

Harpsichordist Janet Palumbo, artistic director of Le Triomphe de l’Amour has declared a pause in its performances. “Since I do all the programming, I thought that after 25 years I needed a break,” she says.

The Guild for Early Music has changed its date at Grounds for Sculpture from October to March.

Refocusing from change to stability, we turn to baroque music, where pieces of the past are lovingly encountered on original instruments. Both La Fiocco and Dryden Ensemble include the word “baroque” in their titles.

The Dryden Ensemble focuses on works that explore the context of Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions in three-concerts at the Miller Chapel on the Princeton Theological Seminary campus: Bach’s French Taste, Saturday, November 18; Bach Cantata Fest, Sunday, February 11; and Bach & Beyond on Sunday, April 22. They are also presenting Bach keyboard recitals at Miller Chapel: on Sunday, March 4, the Goldberg Variations performed by harpsichordist Adam Pearl, and on Sunday, April 8, “Organic Bach,” featuring organist Eric Plutz.

J. S. Bach, along with his predecessors, is in the spotlight at La Fiocco’s opening concert, featuring countertenor Daniel Moody (Saturday, October 28, at Lutheran Church of the Messiah, 407 Nassau Street, Princeton). Look for Italian baroque works on Saturday, March 17, All Saints Church, 16 All Saints Road, Princeton, and French music from the court of Louis XIV with soprano Laura Heimes, Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3, also at Lutheran Church of the Messiah. Harpsichordist and WWFM radio host Lewis Baratz conducts.

If J.S. Bach seems to be a musical presence, he is. This year this composer surpasses all others in the scheduled events. Even Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart do not come close. So perhaps it is fitting that the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra starts winding down its season by presenting all six Brandenburg Concertos, Friday, May 18, at Richardson Auditorium and Sunday, May 20, at the State Theater. But if you can’t wait, McCarter Theater presents the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s holiday tradition of the Brandenburgs on Monday, December 18.

This Princeton holiday tradition brings together 20-plus resident members of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center—an all-star lineup performing one of music’s most enduring masterpieces all in one evening.

As noted earlier, there is a lot going on.

1867 Sanctuary

101 Scotch Road, Ewing, 609-392-6409.

Roger Verdi and Martha Locker. Classical trombone and piano. Sunday, September 17.

Solo & Chamber Music Concert Series. Friday, September 29.

Divine Hand Ensemble. Music for strings and theremin. Saturday, October 14.

Voice and Piano. Andrea Lapinski, soprano, and Eric Houghton, piano. Sunday, October 15.

Ovidiu Marinescu. Solo classical cello. Sunday, October 22.

Harlem Opera Theater. Saturday, November 11.

Boheme Opera

Ann’s Choice, 30000 Ann’s Choice Way, Warminster, PA.

Forza del Destino. Concert version of Verdi’s opera. Thursday, October 19.

Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra

Princeton Alliance Church, 20 Schalks Crossing Road, Plainsboro.

Festive Favorites. Conducted and directed by Steinway Artist Chiu-Tze Lin. Sunday, September 24.

Capital Philharmonic Orchestra

War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton.

Organ Symphony. Work by Saint-Saens performed on the Moller Theater Pipe Organ. Saturday, October 21.

Capital Singers

of Trenton

Sacred Heart Church, 343 South Broad Street, Trenton, 609-434-2781.

Winter Songs XI. TPieces in the classical, folk, and gospel styles. Sunday, December 10.

Concordia Chamber Players

Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, PA, 215-297-5972.

Music of Brubeck, Debussy, and Hahn. Sunday, November 5.

Dryden Ensemble

Miller Chapel, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton Theological Seminary.

Bach’s French Taste. Saturday, November 18.

Greater Princeton

Steinway Society

Jacobs Music, 2540 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence.

Pianist Denitsa VanPelt. Social hour with VanPelt follows her performance. Sunday, September 17.

Svetlana Smolina. Sunday, October 15.

Classical Trio. Performance by pianists Esma Pasic-Filipovic and Larissa Korkina with vocalist Elem Eley. Sunday, November 12.

Hopewell Theater

5 South Greenwood Avenue, Hopewell, 609-466-1964.

Alloy Orchestra. Presenting “The Lost World.” Friday, September 22.

Institute for Advanced Study

Wolfensohn Hall, Princeton.

Stephen Drury. Pianist and composer. Friday and Saturday, October 20 and 21.

Crossing Choir. Philadelphia-based new music. Friday and Saturday, November 10 and 11.

La Fiocco

Lutheran Church of the Messiah, 407 Nassau Street, Princeton, 917-747-6007.

Bach and Before. Instrumental music and cantatas of the German Baroque featuring countertenor Daniel Moody. Saturday, October 28.

McCarter Theater

91 University Place, Princeton, 609-258-2787.

The JCT Trio. Conrad Tao on piano, Stefan Jackiw on violin, and Jay Campbell on cello. Friday, October 20.

Pianist Alfredo Rodriguez. Saturday, October 21.

Violinist Joshua Bell. Performing with Alessio Bax on piano. Wednesday, November 1.

Pianist Ludovico Einaudi. Thursday, November 2.

Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University.

Bach’s Brandenbergs. Presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Monday, December 18.

New Brunswick

Chamber Orchestra

Zimmerli Museum, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick.

After Clara. Opening salon. Sunday, October 1.

Bad Attitude. Autumn salon. Sunday, November 19.

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick.

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Also Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Beethoven’s overture to Coriolan. Sunday, November 5.

An American in Paris. Sunday, November 26.

Hough Plays Rachmaninoff. Also the NJSO premiere of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 6. Saturday, December 2.

Princeton Pro Musica

Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University, 609-683-5122.

Brahms’ Requiem. Soprano Rochelle Ellis and baritone Paul Max Tipton join the over 100-member chorus and orchestra. Sunday, November 5.

Princeton Singers

Princeton University Art Museum.

Glory of Venice. A 450th birthday tribute to Claudio Monteverdi and his predecessors. Saturday, September 23.

Princeton Symphony


Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University, 609-497-0020.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9. Rossen Milanov conducts the orchestra and Westminster Symphonic Choir. Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17.

Mendelssohn Reformation. With the LARK Quartet. Sunday, October 29.

All Mozart. With Shai Wosner on piano. Sunday, November 12.

Princeton University Chapel

Princeton Campus.

Of Matter + Mass: A Sound Installation by Bora Yoon. Composer, vocalist, sound artist, and TED Fellow. Friday, October 6.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Silent movie starring Lon Chaney with organ accompaniment by Michael Britt. Friday, October 13.

Organ Concert. Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin. Thursday, November 9.

From Darkness to Light. Organist Eric Plutz performs. Friday, November 17.

Harp Extravaganza. Harp students of Elaine Christy in recital. Wednesday, November 29.

Princeton University Concerts

Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University, 609-258-2800.

Shostakovich and the Black Monk. A music-theater piece for the Emerson String Quartet. Thursday, September 28.

Barokksolistene. Norwegian Baroque ensemble. Thursday, October 5.

Quatuor Mosaiques. Thursday, October 12.

Violaist Tabea Zimmermann. Performing with pianist Thomas Hoppe. Thursday, October 26.

Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor. Thursday, November 9.

Cristina Pato Quartet. Thursday, November 16.

Bohemia: Echoes of Vltava. A musical journey down the Vltava river through works by Czech composers. Sunday, November 19.

St. Paul Church

216 Nassau Street, Princeton.

Organ Spectacular. Concert by Princeton organist Eric Plutz. Sunday, October 1.

State Theater

15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469.

Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. Works by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, and Scriabin. Sunday, November 12.

The Irish Tenors. Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns, and Ronan Tynan give a Christmas performance accompanied by full orchestra. $45 to $95. Friday, December 1.

Westminster Chapel Choir

War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton.

Family Weekend Concert: The Ballroom as the Social Stage. Westminster Chapel Choir and Westminster Schola Cantorum collaborate with Trenton’s DanceSpora contemporary dance company to interpret Johannes Brahms’s “Liebeslieder Waltzes.” Friday and Sunday, November 3 and 5.

Westminster Choir College

Bart Luedeke Center Theater, Rider University, Lawrenceville, 609-896-7775.

Classic Brass. Princeton-Rider Brass Band conducted by Stephen Arthur Allen. Sunday, November 19.

Bristol Chapel, 101 Walnut Lane, Princeton.

The Russian American Connection. Pianist Clipper Erickson presents a program featuring music by Russian and American composers. Sunday, September 17.

An Evening of Part-Songs and Solo Lieder. Sunday, September 24.

Trios with a Twist. Music by American composers for unconventional ensembles. Sunday, September 24.

Voyage of Life. Exploring journeys of life, love, death, and the subconscious in the songs of Duparc, Schubert, and Britten. Sunday, October 1.

Liederabend. Performing music of Bach, Schumann, and Mahler. Sunday, October 8.

Birdsong: Music With an Avian Aspect. Performing music of Vivaldi, Dvorak, Mouquet, Saint-Saens, Messiaen, and others. Saturday, October 14.

Music of Latin America. Classical and folk music with a touch of tango. Sunday, October 15.

Sean McCarther in Recital. Performing works by Schumann, Poulenc, and Barber. Sunday, October 15.

Fall Concert. Westminster Jubilee Singers conducted by Vinroy Brown. Works from the African-American tradition. Friday, November 10.

Fall Concert. Westminster Choir conducted by Joe Miller. Sunday, November 12.

Journey Into Spiritual Spaces. Westminster Williamson Voices conducted by James Jordan. Friday, November 17.

Fall Concert. Westminster Kantorei conducted by Amanda Quist. Saturday, November 18.

Fall Concert. Westminster Chinese Music Ensemble conducted by Wang Guowei. Sunday, December 10.

Gill Memorial Chapel, Rider University, Lawrenceville.

Kaleidoscope Chamber Series: Vientos Latinos. Westminster wind faculty perform. Sunday, November 19.

Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, Princeton.

Westminster Conservatory. Music for flute, strings, and piano. Thursday, September 21.

Something’s Brewing. Music for solo and duo piano. Thursday, October 19.

Music for Flute and Piano. Barbara Highton Williams on flute and Ikumi Hiraiwa on piano. Thursday, November 16.

Princeton University Chapel.

Walton: Belshazzar’s Feast. Sunday, October 29.

Robert L. Annis Playhouse, Princeton.

Witches and Sailors. Westminster Community Orchestra performs a Halloween-themed program. $15. Sunday, October 29.

Poulenc: Dialogues des Carmelites. Performed in French with English supertitles. Directed by Andrew Chown. Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2.

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