Young treble Malakai Bayoh sings ‘Walking in the Air’ with Aled Jones in magical…

23 December 2022, 09:09 | Updated: 23 December 2022, 09:12

Aled Jones and Malakai Bayoh.

Classic FM / Moviestore Collection / REX

Christmas is not complete without ‘The Snowman’ – Aled Jones is joined by a young singer for a stunning performance of Howard Blake’s seasonal classic.

Make sure you’re “holding very tight” – for you’re about to be taken on a very special musical journey this festive season.

Malakai Bayoh’s singing career had begun as a chorister in the choir stalls of St George’s Cathedral Southwark, in London. He is now a member of the Schola Cantorum of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School in West London.

In November 2022, the young singer made his Royal Opera House debut, singing the role of Oberto in Handel’s opera Alcina.

Watch: Aled Jones sings ‘O Holy Night’ with star 12-year-old treble in Christmas duet

This week, Classic FM released an exclusive performance of ‘O Holy Night’ with Aled Jones, himself a boy treble from the 1980s, and now a best-selling tenor.

Following the release of the video, Twitter users told of emotional responses to the young treble’s soaring lines. “Malakai is a once-in-a-generation talent,” one remarked.

A certain tune from The Snowman is as iconically Christmas as holly and ivy. And following the recording of Adolphe Adam’s beloved carol, Aled could not resist asking for Malakai to join him for a little ‘Walking in the Air’.

Howard Blake’s evocative music to The Snowman was brought to millions by Aled’s recordings. How wonderful that another talent treble takes the journey in 2022.

This beautiful performance was recorded in a very special space: St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden – just a few yards from another great place of music, The Royal Opera House, where Bayoh first came to wide attention.

Bravo, Aled and Malakai – this performance is a very special addition to 2022’s festive celebrations.

This Christmas Eve from 5.30–6pm, Aled Jones narrates ‘The Snowman’ on Classic FM. Listen on Global Player.

For some Canadian pop artists, Christmas music is the gift that keeps on giving

Mariah Carey performs to a recording of All I Want for Christmas Is You at Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York.NBC/Getty Images

When Mariah Carey performed to a recording of All I Want for Christmas Is You at Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York last month, the holiday season more or less commenced. The crowd against the commercialization of the holidays cried, “Too soon!” For some musicians, however, it couldn’t come soon enough.

December is a jackpot month for artists with holiday albums in their catalogues, especially in a country where a holiday record (Michael Bublé’s Christmas) won a Juno Award for album of the year. Not only are festive songs evergreen and popular, they are the passports into the lucrative seasonal concert schedule.

“We released Barenaked for the Holidays in 2004, and we’ve toured behind it 12 years now,” said Barenaked Ladies’ drummer Tyler Stewart. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

The band’s Hometown Holidays tour this month covered 14 cities, from Vancouver to Toronto. Not only does their 18-year-old album give them material for an annual show, it allows them to hit markets more frequently. Barenaked Ladies just played a Toronto-area concert in November, at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ont. Less than a month later they were back in the same region with a holiday concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall. This kind of tour routing is only feasible with a completely different show on the return visit.

“Our fans love it,” Stewart said.

The BNL show was just one of the holiday concerts that filled up this month’s calendar at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The artists booked there, including Molly Johnson, Good Lovelies, the Tenors, Kellylee Evans, and Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, all have recorded seasonal albums at some point in their careers. Coming off the pandemic, generally ticket sales this year have been sluggish, according to promoters and presenters who spoke to The Globe and Mail. Christmas concerts were the exception.

“There’s a significant appetite,” said Heather Gibson, responsible for non-orchestral music programming at the NAC.

What helps fuel the demand is the family nature of the events. With multi-generations attending, tickets are snapped up quickly. “It’s a holiday experience with kids, parents and grandparents,” said Tim Des Islets. “Where typically fans are buying two or three or four seats, for Christmas shows it’s six, eight and 10.”

Des Islets is the founder of the Canadian artist management company Noisemaker. His clients include the Newfoundland vocal trio the Once and Ontario’s Good Lovelies, both touring mistletoe music this month. Citing the broader audiences who attend Christmas concerts, Des Islets sees the shows as a marketing tool. “It’s an opportunity to introduce a new fan base to the band.”

Comprised of singer-songwriters Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough, and Susan Passmore, the harmony trio Good Lovelies are a hot ticket on the summer folk festival circuit. But, with three holiday-themed albums and EPs to their credit, they’ve developed a niche as annual Christmas specialists as well.

Barenaked Ladies on the Bravo! Program in December 2006.Geoff George/Handout

“The Good Lovelies are like the Messiahs of pop music,” says the NAC’s Gibson. “Our orchestra has to do Messiah and I have to book the Good Lovelies. I think I would catch a fair bit of flack if I didn’t bring them in.”

Despite the demand for seasonal pop, it’s not as easy as decking the halls with retreads of Jingle Bell Rock and, with all due respect to Bruce Springsteen, Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Both Good Lovelies and Barenaked Ladies mix in their own holiday-themed material with traditional chestnuts and covers. “It was important for us to write original songs,” says BNL’s Stewart. “With the complete saturation of the shopping environment today, by the time Christmas rolls around, you’re kind of done with hearing the same old songs.”

It’s hard to deny the bottom-line implications of putting out Christmas music. According to a 2017 report from The Economist, singer Carey, the self-branded Queen of Christmas, had earned more than US$60-million from All I Want for Christmas Is You since its release in 1994. That big number doesn’t reflect touring income from seasonal concerts. With a pair of jingle-belled shows this month at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena and two more at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Carey is laughing all the way to the bank.

Other seasonal ventures are more organic. Hawksley Workman recorded Almost a Full Moon in 2001 as a mediation on his sentiments toward Christianity and as a nostalgic celebration of family. It was also a reaction to 9/11. “The songs were written at a time when the world was rethinking its position on religion and how these things play out globally,” said Workman, whose Almost a Full Moon tour this year hit 14 Ontario markets. “There were zero commercial intentions for the record.”

The album is tuneful and thoughtful, with such nose-nipping gems as First Snow of the Year, Common Cold and Let’s Make Some Soup. Workman tours the record every year now. As well, the songs were adapted by playwright Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman for a stage musical that premiered at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton this fall. Rather than a one-off holiday lark, Almost a Full Moon endures as one of the Juno-winning musician’s finest works.

“There’s nothing maudlin, which is what Christmas music is turning into,” Workman said. “All the songs came from my gut and my heart, which is why I think the music has fallen into people’s lives in a way that is meaningful enough that it has become an annual tradition. I mean, I’m not singing garbage.”

Do you think you have what it takes to complete The Globe’s giant holiday crossword?

Download the puzzle here. Share your progress with us on social media using the hashtag #GlobeCrossword.

A home for every heart at Novotel Manila Araneta City

December 19, 2022 | 9:28am

MANILA, Philippines — Araneta City, also known as the City Of Firsts, has long been known for its Christmas Blueprint: family time, community and holiday merriment. Without fail, this blueprint has proven to be successful for decades. Even before the eye-catching yuletide displays, a lot of QCitizens, and even those who lived in the far-flung provinces of Luzon, consider Araneta City as their home for the holidays.

Since the pandemic and for the previous two Christmases, Novotel Manila has released original music compositions with uplifting messages devoted to its supporters and front liners to touch the hearts of numerous Novo-Fans.

This time around, Novotel Manila switches things up and opts for a different way of using a video narration to touch the hearts of its viewers entitled “Home” produced by the hotel’s Marketing Communications team in collaboration with Halikon Films director Arvin “Kadiboy” Belarmino and director of photography and editor Tristan Cua.

The hotel’s moving narrative depicts the life of a busy vlogger, Hayley, who no longer has time for her parents. But since it is the Christmas season, it’s a common tradition for Filipinos to reconnect and gather for the holidays. Check out the video after the jump:

It is a relatable story as we have all occasionally been caught up in life’s busyness, yet Novotel Manila embraces every heart yearning for true love and connection.

Families, couples and friends can enjoy and make themselves comfortable in their one and only home in the City of Firsts, thanks to all the festive deals planned by the hotel’s Heartists for this special season.

Have a merry magical stay

Enjoy the best time of the year with Merry Magical Stays curated to satisfy the needs of families seeking a joyous staycation. Bed, breakfast and dinner packages in December start at P8,000 nett for non-holiday dates, while stays during the holidays (December 24 and December 31) start from P12,000 nett.

Each merry magical stay includes complimentary use of the InBalance Fitness center and pool, free use of the Kids Club by Novotel for one hour per day for two children, and a 10% discount on all massage treatments at the InBalance Spa. Early check-in and check-out are also included, subject to room availability.

Taste merry magical flavors

Bring the whole family to Food Exchange Manila to enjoy a wide array of festive buffet selections such as Roasted Tandoori Australian Lamb Leg, Roasted Turkey, Roasted Chimichurri Salmon, Singaporean Chili Crab, Glazed Christmas Ham and much more for only P2,888 nett per person.

Choose from the highlighted buffet dates: December 24 (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet, December 24 (11 p.m. to 2 a.m.) Christmas Midnight Buffet or Noche Buena, and December 31 (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) New Year’s Eve Dinner Buffet. A glass of red wine, white wine or a special holiday beverage is served to each diner as a beautiful end to the meal.

A merry magical beginning

Every ending is followed by a fresh start. The days till 2023 are being counted down at Novotel Manila. On December 31 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Monet Grand Ballroom.

Join in the fun and enjoy a memorable countdown celebration with lots of delicious food, sparkling drinks, great music and merriment with family and friends for only P2,888 nett per person, inclusive of one glass of sparkling wine or sparkling juice. Admission begins at 7 p.m., and the buffet is available from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. This offer is available to in-house guests for just P2,223 nett per person.

With your family and friends surrounding you this Christmas season, find the meaning of true ‘’home’’ this holiday season at Novotel Manila, a home for every heart. Packed in this highly regarded international brand hotel is a complete experience where you would feel at home and take time to enjoy the moments that matter.


For inquiries and reservations, please call (02) 8 990 7888 or email [email protected] More information about Novotel Manila Araneta City, its facilities and services are available at

Pianist, guitarist to put on classical Christmas show this weekend | Music

‘That time of year’: Christmas concerts, musicals to add to the festive mood

The pandemic might have been the Grinch that “stole” the past two Christmas and year-end holiday seasons in Malaysia, but this year, it looks like the masses will be up and about, dining, partying and being jolly.

If you’re looking to add festive concerts and theatre shows into your social calendar, then you’re in luck.

From a morning trek and community choir carol session at the leafy Taman Tugu in KL to an epic cast on stage at KLPac’s family-friendly Christmas show, you can enjoy the music fun outdoors and indoors.

Here is a list of arts events in the Klang Valley that will guarantee you stay in high spirits this festive season.


Venue: Nero Event Space PJPAC, 1 Utama Shopping Centre

Dates: Dec 8-11

Just in time for the holiday season, theatrethreesixty is rolling out composer Nick Choo’s stage production Follow The Light at this intimate manger-like space at PJPAC. The 12th anniversary production of this musical will be directed by Christopher Ling.

“A young woman is unexpectedly told she is about to have a baby … An earnest but confused carpenter frets over the prospect of fatherhood … Some dysfunctional shepherd siblings watch their flocks by night … And a trio of men, wise or otherwise, salivate at the prospect of glory they believe they deserve …” reads the show’s synopsis.

Follow The Light is ultimately a show for the season – a cultural, musical and historical interpretation of this timeless tale (accuracy debatable) – told primarily through song and filled with lots of warmth and laughs” says Choo of the production.

“It should be enjoyed by one and all regardless of background or belief, and I hope everyone will partake of the festive season through this unique musical experience.”

More info here.

KLPac in a Christmas mood: a rehearsal session featuring the KLPac String Orchestra – under the baton of Andrea Sim and the Young Choral Academy Chorus – led by chorus master Mak Chi Hoe. Photo: KLPac


Venue: Pentas 1, KLPac

Date: Dec 8-11

It looks like the entire KLPac family has come together to light up and celebrate the year-end holidays.

This massive spectacular (75-minutes of Christmas “feels”) will feature over 150 performers from across the KLPac ranks, with a generous spread of brassy sounds, swirly strings and heavenly voices.

Who will be on stage? That would be the KLPac Orchestra (conducted by Lee Kok Leong), KLPac Symphonic Band (conducted by Cheryl Mah), KLPac String Orchestra (conducted by Andrea Sim), and the Young Choral Academy Chorus (chorus master Mak Chi Hoe) … all coming under the direction of music man Ian Chow, with co-direction and narration by Datuk Faridah Merican.

It’s a family-friendly concert, where theatregoers look set to experience the magic of the season with traditional Christmas carols as well as some contemporary numbers. Think Joy To The World, Deck The Halls, Silent Night, Jingle Bell Rock, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town and many more.

Bring your own mistletoe if you are planning a big date night.

More info here.

The ‘Christmas With MPO’ concert will be conducted by MPO’s resident conductor Gerard Salonga, who will probably bring his Santa hat on stage. Photo: MPO


Venue: Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, KLCC

Date: Dec 10

Here’s a concert where you can suit up and look your festive and stylish best. Just sit back and enjoy the classical celebrations onstage with the added bonus of guest vocalists KL’s Dithyrambic Singers, all set to deliver a merry setlist of popular carols.

The MPO will run through a set, including festive classical favourites from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Gustav Holst, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, right to Nigel Hess, John Williams and a rollicking side of Jingle Bell Rock.

The concert – spanning Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Selections to Williams’ Home Alone film music – will be conducted by MPO’s resident conductor Gerard Salonga.

More info here.

Performing arts veteran Mervyn Peters leading a rehearsal session with The Choir of The Philharmonic Society of Selangor, fondly known as The Phil. Photo: The Star/Samuel Ong


Venue: The Nursery, Taman Tugu, Kuala Lumpur

Date: Dec 11

The Philharmonic Society of Selangor (or just The Phil) is on a roll after its sold out Songs For The Season shows at DPAC last month. Just like a gift that keeps on giving, The Phil will be presenting an hour-long (10am onwards) morning concert session at Taman Tugu this Sunday.

Share this season of joy and harmony with this community choir in a Songs For The Season Sing-Along at Taman Tugu, the urban forest park in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. There might not be any reindeer sightings but you’ll be joined by the sounds of Mother Nature. Also, rumour has it Santa and his elves will be making an appearance.

This is a community singalong, no experience necessary, just turn up, scan the QR code at the venue for song sheet. Free admission.

More info here.

An Early Music festive showcase, presented by VerSes, will see the music of Bach and Charpentier played by a small ensemble at the Church Of The Holy Rosary in KL on Dec 16. Photo: The Star/Filepic  


Venue: Church Of The Holy Rosary, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, KL

Date: Dec 16

Here’s another great edition in the “Renaissance & Baroque Gems” series, focused on Bach and Charpentier this time. The venue – Church of Holy Rosary – adds to the upcoming evening concert’s warm ambience.

In Malaysia, Early Music performances, especially those utilising period instruments, are still uncommon. This performance will feature pieces by J.S. Bach and M.A. Charpentier in an effort to introduce and promote Early Music.

Although both legendary composers are from the Baroque-era, their styles are very different, giving the music of the era a broad viewpoint. The concert, presented by VerSes, will feature an instrumental ensemble featuring two Baroque recorders, a viola da gamba, a cello, guitar and an organ. For this Christmas-inspired show, the Baroque Ensemble players will perform alongside the KL Madrigal Singers.

More info here.


Venue: Stage 1, PJPAC, 1 Utama Shopping Centre

Date: Dec 23-25

Land of Sweets? Sugar Plum Fairy? And the Mouse King? It’s not Christmas without a Nutcracker ballet.

This beloved classic, all set to turn PJPAC’s main stage into fantasy land, invites you to experience Clara’s dream that tells the story of the Nutcracker from a cinematic perspective, with dramatic acting and ballet dancing, provided by an international cast of dancers.

The show, directed by Lu Wit Chin, promises a series of elaborate big stage effects that will remind theatregoers of the opulent interior of Mr Staulbahm’s house and extravagant Baroque-style party dresses, right to curtains that never close and a winter wonderland of visual delight.

More info here.

South Bend Symphony plays annual family concert at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – Do you want to build a snowman? Well, how about listening to The Snowman?

The South Bend Symphony Orchestra played its annual family concert on Sunday at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

“We’re at the South Bend Symphony’s annual family concert featuring The South Bend Symphony and Mark Doerries and the Notre Dame Children’s Choir,” said Justus Zimmerman, executive director of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. “They’re doing The Snowman, which is this great, beautiful, animated short film about a boy discovering his best friend is a snowman, and they go meet Santa, and the music is just incredible.”

Based on the Raymond Briggs’ children’s book sharing the same name, the stage adaptation by Howard Blake showcases a full orchestra with its unforgettable soundtrack.

“The children’s choir, the symphony, it sounded like a fun experience, and these two sat still and paid attention the whole time, so that goes to show you how good it was and how entertaining,” said South Bend Resident Jessica Horvath.

Families and kids of all ages were welcomed to start the festive season off by hearing classic holiday music and a story of a boy who crosses paths with a friendly snowman.

“I kind of liked it because where the sad parts, the person that was reading he would like slow, and it was sad, and I actually cried at the end where the snowman melted,” said Emily, a young concert-goer who was excited to start the holiday season.

“They’re also going to do some traditional holiday tunes, including ones you may know and also some you may not know, so it’s going to be a really varied program of holiday music and themed music,” noted Zimmerman.

The Symphony Orchestra has played Ghostbusters, Día de los Muertos, and The Snowman in less than a month. Asking him how they could play such varying styles in such short succession, Zimmerman said, “Thankfully, our musicians are all incredible, they’re all professionals, and this is what they do day in and day out. They go from Hollywood to Mariachi music, to children’s Christmas music like that. It’s one of the most magical things about what we do.”

This is the beginning of the Symphony Orchestra’s winter schedule.

“Southold Dance Theater; we’re collaborating with on The Nutcracker for the first time, I think, in 20 years,” said Zimmerman. “So, we’ll be playing live while they dance to The Nutcracker. It’s one of the most popular traditions in town, and we’re so glad we can be back providing live music. It’s going to be a magical holiday season this year. There’s a lot to do.”

The South Bend Symphony Orchestra will play the Nutcracker with Southold Dance Theater at the Morris Performing Arts Center on December 9 through 11 and again at the Morris with Home for the Holidays on December 17 and 18.

“Home for the Holidays at the Morris Performing Arts Center, that’s the big Christmas extravaganza with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, fun for the whole family,” added Zimmerman.

Mark Doerries, conductor, composer, and performance artist works for the University of Notre Dame as Mellon Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Music and Interdisciplinarity and Lilly Conductor for the Notre Dame Children’s Choir.

The University of Notre Dame’s Children’s Choir is in its 10th season and welcomes singers from birth to age 17.

“Well, you know, our music director Alastair Willis says this is the most important concert we do because he does a great job translating the music for the kids and becoming a really engaging presence on stage so that kids get exposed to this new form of classical music for them,” said Zimmerman. “Usually, classical music isn’t as popular as it used to be, and so the kids get to interact with it and get this grounding in some foundational music.”

The SBSO winter family concert is part of the Shein Trust community series.

The artists included:

The South Bend Symphony Orchestra

Alastair Willis, Music Director

Mark Doerries, Guest Conductor

Dallin Baldwin, Guest Conductor

Notre Dame Children’s Choir

The program included:

  1. Arr. Stephen Mager – DING DONG MERRILY ON HIGH
  2. Howard Blake – THE SNOWMAN feat. Mark Doerries, the narrator
  4. Arr. Stephen Mager – KLING, GLOCKEN, KLING
  5. Olatunji/Whalum – BETELEHEMU
  6. Leonard Cohen – HALLELUJAH

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Aled Jones’ Christmas album with Russell Watson flies to No.1 in classical charts

19 November 2022, 17:25

Aled Jones’ Christmas album with Russell Watson flies to number one in classical charts.


The Christmas duet album is Classic FM presenter and singer Aled Jones’ 41st album released to date.

Two of the UK’s most popular classical voices, Aled Jones and Russell Watson, have hit number one in the classical charts with their new Christmas album, Christmas with Aled Jones & Russell Watson.

The album features new recordings of universally beloved Christmas songs, including traditional carols such as ‘O Holy Night’, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’.

Festive favourites including ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Little Drummer Boy’ also make an appearance on the 21-track album, as well as a new duet recording of ‘Walking in the Air’, released by boy soprano Aled in 1985. Six years ago, in November 2016, Aled released a hugely popular rendition of The Snowman song, in which he duetted with his younger self (watch below).

Listen on Global Player: Aled Jones, Sunday mornings on Classic FM

Aled and Russell released the album on 11 November and are currently performing songs from the new release on a UK-wide tour, performing at some of the nation’s most beautiful concert halls and theatres.

The powerhouse vocal duo’s Christmas tour began at the Manchester Opera House on 13 November and will end on 12 December at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls.

Christmas With Aled and Russell follows the success of the duo’s first two albums, In Harmony (2018) and Back In Harmony (2019), which both shot straight to number one on the UK Classical Album Chart and top 10 of the UK Official Album Chart.

“Album 41 in my career,” Aled said, “and I always am so excited by a new album and thrilled that it’s number one.

“You never get bored of being number one in the chart!” he added.

Listen to Aled Jones every Sunday morning, 7–10am on Classic FM.

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At Delavan’s Belfry, holiday sounds feature music of Chicago & the Trans Siberian Orchestra

DELAVAN — What better way to greet the holiday season than with a string of concerts?

Tickets are on sale now for six Christmastime shows at Belfry Music Theatre, 3601 Highway 67, Delavan.

It starts with The Christmas Chronicles, which is Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

The Christmas Chronicles uses HD projections, music and vintage outfits to create a unique and visually stunning, Victorian Era-styles holiday event with intertwined, seasonal vignettes. Features narration by Leonard Ford, Susan Aquila and the Paganini String Trio, with Jeff Lubin on guitar and vocals.

The Four C Notes return to the Belfry for Seasons Greetings Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3. Recreating the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Four C Notes will perform a selection of rock ‘n roll Christmas classics.

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Christmas with Chris Ruggiero is Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 7 and 8. The PBS.TV star will perform fan favorites from his anticipated Christmas album as well as his other music. Fun fact: Ruggiero has worked with the same arranger who created the hits for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Always Olivia, a tribute to Olivia Newton-John, is Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10.

Annie Aiello, a professional singer/songwriter of the Chicagoland area for over 20 years, was a “Round 2” candidate on “The Voice.” She has worked with Richard Marx and several Nashville artists.

Tickets for the next two acts are selling quickly, according to Belfry’s website,

Trans-Infinity Orchestra brings its Trans Siberian Orchestra tribute to the stage Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 14 and 15. Using a state-of-the-art light show and an angelic choir, the act will tell the story of Christmas around the world.

Another act that has played the Belfry before, Chicago Rewired brings A Chicago Christmas to audiences Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16 and 17.

All shows start at 7 p.m. Cost is $58 to $76 per ticket.

To purchase tickets and for more details, visit the Belfry website.

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