Lynnelle Ediger

Founder & Director

Harp, Virginia Choristers


Founder and director, Lynnelle Ediger-Kordzaia, is a nationally recognized educator. She has taught the harp, voice and piano and directed harp ensembles and children's choirs for over 20 years. In 1999 she founded the American Youth Harp Ensemble (AYHE). The AYHE continues to dazzle audiences around the world as America’s premier youth harp ensemble. The Ensemble has brought world-class music to enthusiastic audiences in the U.S. and abroad through hundreds of performances, recordings, television and radio features on CNN, NBC, PBS and NPR affiliate stations. Since 1999, the Ensemble has made 15 national and international tours, performing in the Maastricht Music Festival (Netherlands), Edinburgh Festival (Scotland), the Paris Music Festival (France), Salla Puccini (Milan), Salle Gaveau (Paris), the United Nations (NY), the Kennedy Center (DC), the 34th and 38th American Harp Society National Conferences, AHS 9th Summer Institute, the Association for Music Personnel in Public Radio National Conference, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall three times. Most recently, the Ensemble performed in the London Festival of Music (England), on the “State of the Arts” Concert Series at the U.S. Department of State, at the White House (DC), in the Advent Music Festival in Vienna and Salzburg (Austria), for the Prince and Princess of Belgium, and for the 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors performing for such musical luminaries John Williams, Itzhak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Jessye Norman and Denise Graves. Their performances have reached an audience of more than 300,000 viewers and listeners through television and radio broadcasts and live performances. The AYHE has been featured in two television specials: “The American Youth Harp Ensemble: Defying the Limits” and “The Community Idea Stations Present: Christmas with the American Youth Harp Ensemble.”

The Virginia Choristers has also grown into a nationally acclaimed program since its inception in 2007. The choir has expanded from a single choir to three levels of choirs and through satellite choirs via multiple partnerships with youth organizations throughout the region. The Virginia Choristers have performed in national and international venues including choral festivals in Puerto Rico, Vienna and Salzburg (Austria) and the International Festival of Choirs in Charleston, South Carolina. Most recently the choir toured the East Coast with a culminating feature performance in Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center (New York). The Virginia Choristers provides singers in elementary through high school the opportunity to grow, learn and excel through quality instruction and experiences that emphasize the development of musical skills and understanding. The Virginia Choristers also collaborate with other ensembles including symphony choruses, community choirs and other youth music ensembles. 

The Summer Music Institutes, now in the 18th year, attract students from around the world for intensive summer music study. The Summer Music Institutes have expanded to include six weeks of programming with focus areas including: harp, choral music, guitar, piano, musical theater, music exploration, and chamber music. A European Institute was added to the offerings in 2012.                        

Mrs. Ediger-Kordzaia has been an invited presenter/performer at the World Harp Conference, American Harp Society National Conferences, the International Folk Harp Conference and the International Harp Therapy Conferences. She is a recipient of the Governor’s Citation for Excellence in the Arts and has twice been named a “Top Forty Under Forty” by arts and business publications in Virginia. Most recently she was honored with the American Alliance for Performing Arts Educators 5th Annual Del Keiffner Award for Outstanding Arts Educator at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the Teresa Pollak prize for “Excellence in the Arts” from Richmond Magazine, and was the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award in Music Education from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. She holds an undergraduate degree in harp performance and a graduate degree in music education from Oberlin Conservatory of Music where she was a student of Alice Chalifoux. She also holds a masters degree in arts administration from Goucher College. Along with her husband, orchestral conductor Alexander Kordzaia, she owns the Academy of Music, a Central Virginia's leading classical music school.

Ron Alig

Guitar & Beginning Piano


Ron Alig has been playing classical guitar in the greater Richmond area as well as northern VA for the past 4.5 years. He has a Bachelor degree in Music Performance from the VCU School of Music where he studied with David Toussaint and John Patykula. In 2007 he joined the Richmond Guitar Quartet and has performed for the Charlottesville Guitar Society, Randolph-Macon College, the VCU Guitar Series, as well as many other concerts and events in the area.

In addition to solo and quartet performances, Ron also is a regular member of the Richmond Community Guitar Ensemble and one of the founders of the Ashland Guitar Society.


Aponi Brunson

Harp & Flute


Aponi Brunson, Assistant Artistic Director, 2003 graduate of the American Youth Harp Ensemble and 2007 graduate of University of Mary Washington, Ms. Brunson directs the HARPS Foundation outreach programs, serving a diverse range of students, from the urban outreach programs with the Greater Richmond Boys and Girls Club and City of Richmond Parks and Recreation to the rural partnership with Charles City Public Schools. Ms. Brunson directs the Harp Therapy Outreach Program under the careful advising of Ms. Ediger and Ms. Owens. In addition to her work with the HARPS Foundation outreach programs, Ms. Brunson assists Ms. Ediger with the various ensemble levels. As a member of the American Youth Harp Ensemble, Ms. Brunson has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Paris Music Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, and Milan and Rome, Italy.


Caroline Bryan, MT-BC

Harp & Music Therapy

Caroline Bryan, an alumni of the Academy of Music and American Youth Harp Ensemble, is pleased to be part of the Academy’s Faculty as a recent Board Certified Music Therapist. In 2014, Caroline graduated from James Madison University with a BA in Music Industry. She continued her studies at Shenandoah University and graduated in 2016 with a graduate certification in Professional Studies in Music Therapy. While in school, Caroline was involved in many practicum experiences that have helped further her learning and career in music therapy. Those experiences included the Adult Day Center in Winchester, Va., Music Therapy Field Service Project in Portland, Jamaica, and a local placement, VCU Medical Center, Richmond, VA. Caroline Bryan completed her internship placement at James River Juvenile Detention working with high risk adolescents on psychoeducational goals.

During her studies at Shenandoah University, Caroline has worked to serve her community by being a harp mentor, at the Boys and Girls Clubs, for the Harps Foundation program “Sound Experiences” and as a private harp teacher at the Academy of Music. She also worked as a musician for hire at three local Bon Secour Hospitals and as well as a Children’s Choir Director for Winfree Memorial Baptist Church. She also served as principal harpist for the James Madison University Symphony Orchestra, and as a performing harpist for the Shenandoah Conservatory Orchestra, Rockbridge Symphony, and the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra. Her continued service work throughout her studies at Shenandoah University granted her the school’s Music Therapy Professional Studies Service Award. Caroline Bryan has currently accepted music therapy positions at Poplar Springs Hospital and Noah’s Children. She will also continue serving the community at the Academy of Music, Harps Foundation and as a music program leader for Art 180, a local nonprofit that serves a diverse youth population in self-awareness and expression.


Gilson Fearnow



Suzi Fischer

Saxophone, Clarinet, Beginning Piano & Beginning Guitar

Suzi Fischer received a Bachelor of Music degree from Virginia Commonwealth University with a concentration in Jazz Studies. During her time at VCU she studied with Skip Gailes, Albert Regni and Doug Richards, held the lead alto chair in VCU's Jazz Orchestra 1, and received a number of performance based scholarships. She has performed with artists including The Temptations, Jason Mraz, John D'earth, and Tony Martucci.  Suzi currently plays saxophone, clarinet and flute in many ensembles in the greater Richmond area in a variety of genres, including jazz, classical, R&B, funk and rock.



Kim Gilbert

Music Therapy


Kim Gilbert, MT-BC, graduated from Radford University in 1991with a bachelor's degree in both Music Therapy and Spanish. She has been a board certified music therapist since 1992. She has experience working with individuals of all ages, ranging from preschool to geriatrics. During her career, she has worked with various levels of autism, special education, at-risk youth, psychiatric disorders, and dementia. She has practiced music therapy in numerous settings, including schools, state hospitals, private practice, nursing homes, other senior adult facilities, and currently hospice. In addition to her position with Noah's Children, Kim provides music therapy to patients at Hiram Davis Medical Center in Petersburg. She also serves as the Worship Arts Associate at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, where she leads the children and youth music programs. Kim plays the piano, guitar, and clarinet. In her spare time, Kim enjoys reading, aerobics, and golfing.


Emre Kartari


Born into a family of musicians and artists in Ankara, Turkey, Emre moved to the United States when he was nine years old. Soon after, he began to study drums, which led to studying jazz percussion with T. Howard Curtis and receiving his Bachelor’s degree from VCU. He holds an M.A. in jazz performance and composition from New York University and received the Barney Josephson Award in 2003; and he is continuing his D.M.A. studies with Howard Curtis. While in New York, Emre studied with Adam Nussbaum, John Riley, Tony Moreno, Billy Hart, and Jamey Haddad. He has performed and/or recorded with Dena DeRose, Darius Jones, Trevor Dunn, Paul Pieper, John D’earth, Howard Curtis, Mike Richmond, Houston Person and David Liebman.

Emre has toured and performed extensively with the spoken-word, hip-hop group Jazz Poets Society. His first CD as a leader, Perpetual Anxiety, featuring Grammy Award-winning bassist Mike Richmond, is released in Turkey under the Dogan Music label. He performed and recorded with his own quartet Origin, featuring David Liebman, John D’earth, and Howard Curtis. All About Jazz editor John Kelman called Origin “a recording that engages the head and the heart long after it’s over.” He has also performed and recorded for the rock band Brindley Brothers, the electric jazz group “Signals” featuring Paul Pieper, and the trio “Big Girl,” featuring Darius Jones and Trevor Dunn.

As an educator, Kartari worked with the New York Pops Mentors in Music program from 2003 until 2005. In 2009, with the support of the American Embassy in Turkey, he formed Turkey’s first accredited, state-funded jazz program at the Ankara State Conservatory. In 2011 he became the Director of Jazz Studies at Yasar University in Izmir, Turkey, directing the VCU Izmir International Jazz Camp in 2012 and 2013. He formed the group “Sazli-Cazli,” featuring VCU alumni Taylor Barnett and Kevin Simpson, to perform along with Turkish musicians for state-sponsored tours in Turkey in 2015 and 2016.

Emre Kartari is an Adjunct Instructor of Jazz at VCU, where he teaches Small Jazz Ensemble.

Ayca Kartari

Cello & Double bass

She started her doublebass studies in 1995 with Dr. Esra Gul in Anadolu University State Conservatory in Eskisehir. In 2002, she began studying at Dokuz Eylul University State Conservatory and continued her studies with Dr.Tahir Sumer in Izmir, Turkey.

In 2000-2003 she toured France,Spain,Italy,Morocco with the Mediterrenean Youth Orchestra directed by George PEHLIVANIAN and Roland HAYRABEDIAN. In 2004, she won first place in the Yamaha String Instruments Competition. Also in the same year, she performed in Berlin, and Brussels with the Anatolian Youth Orchestra formed by Fazil Say, and directed by Ibrahim Yazici.

In 2005, she received a full scholarship from International Yehudi Menuhin Music Academy, Gstaad  and Lozan Conservatory in Switzerland for her graduate studies. There she studied with Alberto Lysy and Michel Veillon. In 2008, she graduated from the “Diplome de concert”” section and received the International Yehudi Menuhin Music Academy Solo and Chamber Music diploma. She toured Spain,Holland,France,Portugal with Camerata Lysy Chamber  Orchestra with Alberto Lysy and Camerata Lausanne Chamber Orchestra with Pierre Amoyal. She was invited as a principal bassist to Animato Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Howard Griffiths in 2010 and 2011 and toured to Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia. She performed with Young Musician Chamber Orchestra in Bayreuth, Germany in August 2013, at the Young Musicians Festival under the direction of Prof. Iagoba Fanlo. In 2011, she joined Izmir State Opera and Bale, and Camerata Izmir Chamber Orchestra as a double bassist and organized chamber music concert series for the State Opera and Ballet. During this time, she became as an adjunct double bass faculty at Yasar University/Izmir and performed with the Yasar Chamber Orchestra. She has also joined Borusan Philharmonic in 2012 and performed for Proms deput at the Royal Albert Hall/London conducted by Sascha Goetzel in 2015. She has been a member of the double bass quartet BigBoomBass in Izmir/Turkey since 2015.

She has studied and/or attended master classes with Liviu Prunaru, Ettore Causa, Pablo de Naverán,, Jeremy Menuhin, Adelina Oprean, Matthias Enderle, Wendy Champney, Pineiro Nagy, Lory Wallfisch, Massimo Mercelli, Darko Brlek, Raphael Oleg, Franz Helmerson and Gary Karr. 

Alexander Kordzaia

Piano & Voice


Professional orchestral conductor, pianist and vocal coach. Graduate studies at the T'blisi Conservatory of Music, Republic of Georgia and the Juilliard School of Music. Currently Music Director of the University of Richmond Orchestra. Past music director of the Charlotte Civic Orchestra North Carolina and the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra Virginia, Mr. Kordzaia has conducted orchestras throughout North America and Europe and is in frequent demand as a guest conductor.



Carolyn LaPaglia

Strings, Piano & Voice

Lyn LaPaglia enjoys an active career in music, teaching students of all ages in piano, violin, viola, cello, string bass, voice, and organ; in addition, she continues to train string ensembles/orchestras and church choirs.  She received her baccalaureate and graduate level training at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, where organ teachers have included Dr. Donald McDonald, Eugene Roan, and John Weaver; voice study with LoRean Hodapp; also, choral participation under Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt, as well as Dr. Andrew Megill, Dr. Robert Page, and Dr. James Jordan during her graduate studies.  While at Westminster, as a member of the symphonic choir, she performed with New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, then under the direction of conductors Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, William Steinberg, Mislov Rostropovich, Antal Dorati, Pierre Boulez, and Lucas Foss. 

Ms. LaPaglia has also studied string instruments with the late H. Stevens Brewster, Jr., then principal bassist of the National Symphony Orchestra, and Joseph M. LaPaglia, formerly of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra; applied voice with Judith Meister Lewis; organ with Dr. David McCormick, Dr. Robert Grogan of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Confession, and Dr. Mary Beth Bennett.  She continues to sing locally with the Cathedral Choir of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart under the direction of Dr. Patrick Carlin, and has had previous experience as a member of the bass section of Petersburg Symphony.

Previously, Ms. LaPaglia taught string instruments/orchestra in Richmond Public Schools.  Additionally, Ms. LaPaglia has been organist/choir director in several Richmond area churches, as well as administering an active (private) teaching studio of string and piano students.  Former students have included scholarship winners of applied study with Richmond Symphony players, current members of public school string faculties, and section players in the Richmond Symphony Orchestra.

When she was not practicing, performing or teaching music, Ms. LaPaglia became a registered nurse.  Most recently, she completed the Master of Science in Nursing and the Master of Health Administration degrees, while designing a holistic nursing program which features instrumental/vocal participation with senior center residents and children/adults with disabilities.  This program incorporates the volunteer participation of applied music students of Ms. LaPaglia, therefore giving performance opportunities for students, as well as opportunities for the senior center residents to participate side by side with the students.

Ms. LaPaglia enjoys teaching all of her wonderful students at the Academy of Music.

Hyunja Lee


Born in Seoul, Korea, pianist Hyunja Lee has performed in Europe, especially France, Germany, Switzerland, and in Asia. Her repertoire is widely covered from Baroque music to contemporary music, especially French music-Impressionism. Lee has performed in lecture recitals and master classes by the themes of Easy Practice for piano,” “Chopin`s Gallery,” “Music of Impressionism,” “Contemporary music series,” etc. Especially in VA, she has held various piano recitals with the French theme such as, “L’Esprit de Printemps 2013,” “Souvenir 2010,” “Pour la Joie 2009,” “Beau Soir 2008,” etc. She has enjoyed performing contemporary music including Berio, Kodaly, Ligeti, Webern, Messiaen, Jolivet, Schonberg, Ginastera, Youngchul-ku etc. Lee was called a Debussy Specialist by Music Journal of Korea, and “has performed with brilliant technique, enormous musical sensitivity.” CNR de Boulogne, France has remarked she has “beautiful and elegant praising, an extraordinary power toward music, having a natural and delicate ear for music.”

Lee has collaborated with violinist Ara Bogdanian (Moscow National Conservatory prof., Russia) & flutist Kudo Shigenori (Ecole Normale de la Musique prof., France), Andras Adorajan (Köln Music College Prof., Germany), violinist Hélène Sanglier (Conservatoire National de Boulogne prof., France). For Piano, she studied privately with Pascal Devoyon, a winner of Tchaikovsky piano Competition, and Paul-Andre Gayé, studied with Ivon Loryod, Messiaen’s wife, also she worked with Claude Helffer, a contemporary music specialist in Europe. Her teachers for chamber music were Philippe Muller, Daniéle Bellik, in France and Pierre Wallez in Switzerland. 

Lee is a prize winner in piano competitions Val-de-Seine, Ile-de-France. She graduated Seoul National University for Bachelor of music & Masters degree in piano, and in France, received Artist Diplôme for piano (Concertist, Doctor equivalent), the 1st prize unanimously with honors, in Conservatoire national de Boulogne. Also, she received Diplômes with honors for chamber music, accompaniment. Lee was a faculty at L’Ecole de Ménestrel, France and taught in Seoul National University, Dankuk Uuniversitiy and Yewon-Seoul Art & Music School. She was a planning Director of Association Coréano-Francaise de Musiciens in 2001-2005. In VA, Lee was invited as a judge at the Concerto Competition , University of Richmond in 2013, 2014.

Anne O'Byrne



ANNE O’BYRNE was born and studied in Dublin, Ireland, before gaining scholarships to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. Anne’s performances have taken her all over the world, where she has worked with many leading opera companies, singing over twenty major roles – Handel in Melbourne Australia, Mozart in Milan and the US, Verdi in France, Puccini in England, and Bizet in Ireland – to name but a few. As a member of the RTE Chamber Choir, she recorded weekly for Irish radio, and has also broadcast for Irish television, the BBC, NPR, and Fox Business Channel as a guest soloist at a National Veteran’s Day concert from the Basilica of the National Shrine DC. Anne has created roles in new operas for the Wexford and Covent Garden International Festivals.  

Since her move to Richmond in 2002, with her husband David Fisk, the executive director of the Richmond Symphony, and their two children, Fionnuala and Oliver, Anne has performed for VA Opera, the Symphony, many East Coast choral societies, and for distinguished international speakers at the Richmond Forum – including Robert Redford. As well as teaching at the Academy of Music, Anne teaches voice at University of Richmond, (where she was recently Artist in Residence) while continuing to travel for concerts and recitals –in recent years performing at Carnegie Hall with the American Youth Harp Ensemble and concerts in Ireland. Many of Anne's  students have achieved top placements in District and State choral auditions, are in the elite vocal ensemble groups at their Universities, or are pursuing successful careers in the world of opera and musical theater.

Listen to Anne singing on a morning television show http://wtvr.com/2014/05/07/angelic-sounds-of-anne-obyrne/


Ruth Prevette


Ruth Prevette owned and directed Musikgarten of the West End from 1996-2015. Her studio received the Musikgarten Exemplary Certificate every year since it’s inception and she has achieved Level III Certification from the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association. She holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois. She has 24 years experience as a Preschool Music Specialist and directed a children’s choir at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church for many years. She currently sings in the St. Stephen’s Adult Choir.




Rebecca Robinson

Violin, Chamber Music Artistic Coordinator


Rebecca Robinson studied music at the University of Richmond under the instruction of Susy Yim. While at the University of Richmond, Rebecca performed as a first violinist in the University’s Symphony Orchestra and various Chamber Ensembles, including a collaboration with composer Matt Ulery and Grammy Award Winning Eighth Blackbird. During her  junior year she studied at Oxford University and was a member of Oxford’s premier ensemble, the Oxford University Orchestra.  As a performer, Rebecca strives to connect her love of music with her other passion: cultural exchange.   While at the University of Richmond, Rebecca researched and crafted a music-centered thesis titled, Berlin Opera Wars: Institutional Competition and the Quest for German Identity, which was later named the University of Richmond Symposium Paper Competition winner. Rebecca’s search for the intersection of cultural exchange and music has also taken her to St. Petersburg, Russia and to Cartagena, Colombia. As part of the University of Richmond’s inaugural exchange with the Fundacion Tocando Puertas Para Abrir Futuros, Rebecca had the opportunity to perform with a group of young Colombian musicians, but also coach some of Cartagena’s most talented, underprivileged students.  Ms. Robinson also helped to establish the community outreach program Smiles with Music in St. Louis, MO, by not only preforming at hospice centers, but also encouraging other musicians to do the same.


Bridgett Stuckey


Bridgett Stuckey

 Bridgett Stuckey studied harp with renowned teachers Alice Chalifoux at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Lilian Phillips at Ball State University where she completed her bachelor’s degree. She has had additional coaching with Lucy Lewis and Edward Druzinsky and attended the Salzedo School in Maine. Currently, Ms. Stuckey serves as Adjunct Associate Professor of Harp at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, Harp Instructor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and since 2010 has been on the faculty of the American Youth Harp Ensemble and Academy of Music in Richmond, Virginia. She currently plays Principal Harp with the Maryland Symphony and has played extra harp with the National Symphony and the Roanoke Symphony.  In 2011 and again in 2012 she will be guest artist for the Maryland and Richmond Summer Harp Institutes.  Previously, she has served on the faculties of St. Catherine University, University of St. Thomas, and Macalester College (Minnesota) as well as Grace College, Indiana-Purdue University, and Taylor University. (Indiana)  She also taught for twelve years at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. Ms. Stuckey held the position of 2nd harp with the Minnesota Orchestra and served for twelve seasons as harpist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. She also played Principal Harp for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, South Bend Symphony, and Grand Rapids Symphony.  She has performed as Principal or solo harp for the Colorado Philharmonic, Minnesota Opera, Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, Blue Lake Fine Arts Festival and Camp, Plymouth Music series, Schubert Club, North Star Opera, and the Singing Wilderness Festival.  She was a Minnesota State Arts Board Roster Artist and performed on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion radio broadcasts. While still at college, she was a finalist for the American Harp Society Competition.  In 2002  Stuckey served as a clinician for the American Harp Society National Conference and in 2003 presented a harp master class for the Suzuki National Convention.  She has performed on recordings with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for the Teldec, Virgin Classics, and Reference recording labels.  Her concert broadcasts with these orchestras can be heard on MPR and NPR.  She also performed on the Grammy award winning CD “The Art of Arlene Auger.”  Two holiday CD’s, the Winds of Christmastide and Winds of Christmastide II are in current release.  A frequent performer of new music, she has played on the premieres of works by Aaron Kernis, Stephen Paulus, Libby Larson, Peter Schickele, and Enojuhani Rautaavaara.

Gaelyn Young

Voice, Virginia Choristers and Music Discovery

Gaelyn Elliott Young received her B.F.A Degree in Vocal Performance from The Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts and most recently completed the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medicine Certificate Program at VCU. During her time at Carnegie Mellon, Gaelyn studied with acclaimed soprano Laura Knoop-Very and Sondra Gelb, as well as two-time Grammy Award winning choral conductor Dr. Robert Page. The 2015-2016 fiscal year marked Gaelyn’s inaugural season as Assistant Director of The Virginia Choristers, as well as her Carnegie Hall conducting debut at Weil Recital Hall in June 2016. In addition to her work with the Choristers, Gaelyn serves as the Choir Director for Galilee Montessori School in Virginia Beach, VA, Music Instructor for Rudlin Torah Academy, and teaches voice at The Academy of Music.




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