A-Z of choirs

Choir biographies

A Capella Birmingham (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Birmingham, UK
A Cappella Birmingham is a small mixed group of some 16 singers which forms part of a larger group of musicians including Instant Opera and the Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra. It was formed in late 2007 as an inclusive, but predominantly LBGT choir which concentrates on singing unaccompanied polyphonic music, mainly from the mediaeval and renaissance periods.

Our musical director, Paul Naylor Gray, is highly academically qualified in music, and very experienced in teaching and composition, as well as in directing choirs. He was one of the founders and for 7 years the MD of Birmingham’s very successful first ever gay choir, Rainbow Voices.


ARCU (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Saint Orens de Gameville, France
ARCU is made of two women and two men, who happen to be two couples. We are all French. We have been singing together since June 2008, for we wanted to share our love of polyphony. We sing both religious and profane Corsican songs that come from oral tradition. We chose ARCU, which means "rainbow" (as well as "bow"), as our name for its symbolic value. This is our first Various Voices experience. We are looking forward to leading those who do not know them to discover the beauty of Corsican polyphonies.


Brighton City Singers (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Brighton, UK
Brighton City Singers was launched in July 2003, in a living room in Palmeira Square. Half a dozen singers gathered together to discuss forming a choir under the musical leadership of MJ Paranzino, who had taught all of them either in individual lessons or vocal workshops. Since that evening the choir has gone from strength to strength, and now has over sixty paying members. 2005 is the second year BCS has performed in the Brighton Fringe Festival, and this time the choir has been recognised with a generous grant from the Brighton & Hove Arts Council.

The Brighton City Singers is an all-embracing, non-auditioning (and deeply groovy) choir which has flourished under the dynamic leadership of MJ. The Brighton City Singers perform whenever possible at weddings, funerals, parties, fundraising events, and love to busk along the seafront and the Pavilion Gardens.

In 2005, The Brighton City Singers started a programme of community outreach concerts for the disabled, hospice residents, building restoration events, inmates at Lewes Prison, and so on - in the belief that singing is a joyous and mutually uplifting experience.

The choir continues to grow and is now accepting commissions for songs and performances from both private and public institutions, such as participating in the upcoming unveiling of the magnificent restoration of Embassy Court in September 2005.


Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus (Men)

Various Voices 2009Brighton, UK
The Brighton Gay Men's Chorus was formed in January 2005 by a group of friends who found there was no gay male-voice choir in Brighton & Hove.  The aim of the original members was to form a group where gay men could meet and socialise and explore their voices through singing together. The Chorus is fortunate in the appointment of Musical Director Ignacio Jarquin, who has an international reputation as a conductor, teacher and vocal coach. With a varied repertoire, annual commitments include contributing to Pride in Brighton & Hove, the Brighton Festival, LGBT history month and World Aids Day.


Canta:re (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Berlin, Germany
Canta:re has been a unique feature in Berlin's varied queer musical scene since 2002: The lesbian and gay choir devotes itself exclusively to classical choral music, with a current focus on the Romantic musical period. The repertoire ranges from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

Thomas Noll became Canta:re's musical director in 2005. He has made a name for himself both as a choral director and an organist.


Cantatori del Duomo (Men)

Various Voices 2009Utrecht, Netherlands
In the beginning... Cantatori del Duomo ('Cathedral Singers') is the name of this men's choir from the beautiful city of Utrecht, the fourth biggest city and geographical centre of the Netherlands. Ever since its founding in 1990, this gay amateur choir proudly and passionately sings about all the beautiful and sometimes difficult sides of life. Cantatori del Duomo presents a colourful repertoire of pop, musical, cabaret and (Dutch) folk songs. All songs are especially arranged for this four-voiced choir, and are dressed with subtle choreography and sometimes surprising changes. "To touch and to amuse" is Cantatori's leitmotiv. With a little pink flavour, of course but always straight from the heart.

Our musical director is Loes Egbers, who conducts the choir with a firm hand but with a velvet smile. Our pianist Thanos Fotiadis, is apart from being a great musician, the only Greek national who understands our Dutch puns in certain songs and although more orchestrators are responsible the songs we bring to you in London are mostly arranged by our house orchestrator Harry Koch, who has in his own Kochian way caused a musical footprint to our choir. Panda van Proosdij taught us some subtle moves. We hope to amuse you and to touch you with our performance on stage.

To find out more about us visit our website www.cantatori-del-duomo.nl

Carmen Curlers (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Frederiksberg, Denmark
Carmen Curlers are a choir for gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Copenhagen. Our repertoire is very eclectic ranging from movements from classical works and traditional Nordic songs to rock and pop in different languages. We take our music seriously and therefore require a high attendance at rehearsals and a deal preparation for our concerts, which we sing without music. We have at the moment 25 members from 30 to 67 years old. Our conductor and artistic director is Adam Faber, who is repetiteur and assistant conductor at the new Opera House for the Danish Royal Opera. We rehearse every week in the centre of Copenhagen. We give two to three concerts a year, one of these being a Christmas concert held in a church. We also participate in choir events abroad, and we are really pleased to be participating in Various Voices. We have in the past taken part in similar festivals in Holland, Germany and France. In July we are looking forward to participating in the cultural part of the 2nd World Out Games in our very own city of Copenhagen- we hope to see you there!


Classical Lesbians (Women)

Various Voices 2009Berlin, Germany
We are 21 women. Which means 21 different ages and backgrounds. And 21 opinions on our dress code. Not to speak of any choreography! BUT we are united in our love of women and classical music!

Since 1996, we meet once a week and with lots of fun and enthusiasm we rehearse A Capella songs from Early Music to modern pieces. We relish the sound of our voices coming together and of experimenting with unusual harmonies.With unbending enthusiasm, patience and repetition of the ‘Legato-Mantra’ our new choir leader the professional singer Sibylle Fischer gets us to sing ever higher and brighter notes.


Cocquettes’ (Men)

Various Voices 2009Manchester, UK
All-male singing sensation, ‘The Cocquettes’ began their shared life in September 2006, having met as members of the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus. The autonomous nonet was formed to perform as part of the Liverpool Biennial for Contemporary Art, and have since gone on to become a familiar sight at weddings and civil partnerships, corporate events, busking slots, Pride celebrations and charity fundraisers. They have performed both at home in Manchester and abroad in Berlin, on radio and television, widening their repertoire as they go. All their songs are performed a cappella and include traditional barbershop, show tunes, pop songs, festive numbers and classical pieces. The Cocquettes are eternally indebted to those who train, encourage and support them, and to their friends and family who endure their performances. More importantly, the Cocquettes would not be where they are today, were it not for the cheese and fine wines which provide both the inspiration and the staying power for their rehearsals. 


Cor Cantus (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Copenhagen, Denmark
Cor Cantus means "Heart of the Song" and is an experienced mixed chamber choir from Copenhagen. 12 men and women - mostly with long musical and choir experience - enjoy singing and having fun together. We are performing regularly in Copenhagen and other parts of the country. Cor Cantus' repertoire is varyied and consists of music from different centuries and countries, classical and folk songs, musical, evergreens and popular music. It is our aim to entertain, touch, amuse and enrich the audience with our performance. We are looking forward to London and Various Voices 2009!

Ellen Hess Thaysen has been a founding member of Cor Cantus and the choir’s leader since then. Ellen has a long-standing experience within musical education and as chorus master, and thus has conducted various choirs since the completion of her musical education. Ellen has a B.A. in music from University of Copenhagen and is educated singing - and choir teacher at Gothenburg Academy of Music.


Dames 3 (Women)

Various Voices 2009Groningen, Netherlands
Once upon a time there was the Gemengd Dames Koor (Mixed Ladies Choir) in Groningen, also participating in Various Voices London. Together with Zangzaad and many other choirs and people the Various Voices Festival was held in Groningen in 1995. A decisive time: since then the Gemengd Dames Choir always participated in Various Voices Festivals for example in Munich and Berlin. And in great joy.

Two members of the Gemengd Dames Koor (GDK) are Mieny Bierling and Els Vijftigschild, soprano and alt. Besides their membership of GDK they organized many things together, especially at the seasonal choir weekends, when individual musical contributions filled one evening. They quite nicely imitated Michelle Pfeiffer's singing performance on the piano in the movie " Fabulous Baker Boys", they acted as cheerleaders and crossed the floor on skates (Mieny nearly died of nerves, but did it all the same) and apart from the fun of type-casting they developed a sing-a-song together that continued after they both left the GDK around 1999.

The pianist-songwriter and mezzo-soprano, Gertie Jonker, who had assisted many of their musical experiences at GDK followed and Dames 3 (Ladies 3)was born. To celebrate their  anniversaries, Dames 3 invited friends and family for an evening of singing. They could feel their mutual inspiration and shared joy in entertaining a larger audience. The idea of going to Paris (2005) with Dames 3 followed some time later. Many intensive rehearsals later, Dames 3 visited the Trianon-theatre in Montmartre to meet with some 800 Various Voices participants and guests. If the applause was anything to go by, their performance was a great success.

Despite this success, Gertie Jonker, decided to change her musical direction and a new pianist-songwriter had to be found. Fortunately Chieneke de Boer crossed Mieny and Els' path and participation in a smaller Various Voices festival (in Aken in 2006) followed. Chieneke de Boer proved to be a lovely piano player and a great contribution to Dames 3. They were met by an enthusiastic and appreciative audience in Aken.

So now, London is on our list of Various Voices festivals. London, we hope you are ready to receive the smallest participating choir until now; Chieneke de Boer, high alt and pianoplayer, Mieny Bierling, soprano and Els Vijftigschild, real low alt.


Deep C Divas (Women)

Various Voices 2009Leeds, UK
Lesbian a capella performance group, the Deep C Divas, are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year and are very pleased to be attending Various Voices London 2009.  Formed with the intention of attending the Sydney Gay Games in 2002 they soon discovered the Gay and Lesbian Choirs network and found themselves in San Jose for GALA2000, in Berlin for Various Voices 2001 and in Paris for Various Voices 2005.

Originating from Yorkshire they have performed on their home territory at the York Lesbian Arts Festival in addition to teaming up with many other UK LGBT choirs and women's groups to perform in Leeds, Bury, Manchester, Hebden Bridge, Sheffield and London.

Self-led since 2003 the Deep C Divas have a passion for performance.
They sing a mixture of folk, pop and political songs, always remembering that even in these times of change a love song sung by women for women is a political act. More recently the Divas have been delivering their own arrangements of contemporary pieces as well as retaining old favourites in their repertoire.

Renowned for their stage glamour and humour the Deep C Divas are looking forward to entertaining you again at this, their third Various Voices Festival.


De Homofone (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Copenhagen, Denmark
De Homofone was established in 1991 as one of the first gay and lesbian choirs in Denmark. The choir still plays a vivid role in the gay and lesbian community of Copenhagen and often participates in various gay events as well as arranging our own concerts at least twice a year. De Homofone first participated in Various Voices in Munich in 1997 and is now participating in Various Voices for the fourth time. Today the choir consists of about 30 gay and lesbian singers with ages ranging from their late twenties to early sixties - all of us with a love for music, dancing and partying!

Throughout the years the choir has worked with a variety of musical genres but now we prefer the rhythmical genre. On our present repertoire are songs by e.g. Stevie Wonder, Queen and Manhattan Transfer. However, no matter the genre, a main focus for us is to have fun and - hopefully - spread the joy of music. We love performing - and whether performing at the romantic, old Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, a swimming stadium or Queen Elisabeth Hall, we are sure you will feel our spirit! You can expect our concert to be lively and fun and to leave you with a number of catchy songs on your mind!

Since January 2006 De Homofone has been conduted by Lars Lienhøft Larsen. Lars is an energetic and charismatic director with a strong sense of rhythm. Lars has a wide musical experience; as a choir conductor for more than 6 years, as a keyboardplayer in various rock and funk bands as well as many years of experience as a church singer. Lars also studied music and theatre at the University of Copenhagen for several years, however ended his studies to chase another dream: to enter the police force. Now this dream has come true and Lars is guarding the streets as well as the choir's intonation! Lars carries out both of jobs with just the right amount of humor and authority!

The choir is accompanied by Fredrik Mellqvist on piano. Fredrik is a superb pianist/keyboardplayer trained at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory. The choir has had the pleasure to work with Fredrik many times - one of them being at Various Voices in Paris. Apart from working with us Fredrik runs a large recording studio and plays in a jazztrio which has recently released their second album. Fredrik plays with a funky, jazzy approach - and it is always a pleasure to hear Fredrik perform!


Den Norske Homofonien (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Oslo, Norway
Den norske homofonien av 1990 (The Norwegian Homophonia of 1990) is a mixed chorus based in Oslo, Norway.  The chorus is affiliated with the Norwegian LGBT Association and open to all LGBT people and others who want to sing along. At the moment the chorus consists of about 35 singers, men and women of all ages, directed by Ingelin Becker Dahl.  Recent highlights include the fifteenth year anniversary concert in the beautiful Grand Auditorium of the University of Oslo, formerly venue of the Nobel Peace Price Ceremony. Here the chorus performed "Skeive Salmer" (Queer Hymns) especially commissioned from composer Gisle Kverndokk to poems by Dag Blakkisrud.  For the 2008 Christmas Concert the chorus joined forces with Finland's and all of Scandinavia's great diva Arja Saijonmaa and the Norwegian singer Knut Anders Sørum.  At the moment the chorus is working with the jazzy a cappella arrangements of Swedish The Real Group alongside music inspired by Norwegian tradition. We are also preparing for a Cabaret themed twentieth anniversary concert.  Willkommen, bienvenue....


Die Fetten Koketten Soubretten (Men)

Various Voices 2009Cologne, Germany
"Die Fetten Koketten Soubretten" is a gay choir with a very special appearance. Quite well known not only due to the musicality and the interesting arrangements of popular songs but also because of the lyrics, written with dry, gay and sometimes black humour...and certainly because of the ravishing beauty of the five redheaded quintuples and their four masculine companions -- always overdressed in specially designed outfits of the most expensive fabrics, the handsomeness of "Die Fetten Koketten Soubretten" is almost unbelievable. ;-) Watching these nine men on stage and listening to their a-cappella songs is an experience that shouldn't be missed.


Die Mainsirenen (Men)

Various Voices 2009Sulzbach, Germany
The Mainsirenen ("River Main Sirens") formed in 1987. Still going strong, they're now one of the longest-serving gay choirs in Germany. Right from the outset they've believed that the whole point of singing in a gay choir is to provide a gay take on life - both in the music and in the lyrics. And it's a take which has proved extremely popular, as witnessed by the choir's audience today which is broader than ever.  Anyone looking for a snapshot of modern "gay identity" need look no further - this cabaret-choir offers a razor-sharp image. The Mainsirenen attended their first "Various Voices" in London in 1989. Back then there were only 11 members - now there are over 40! Founding father Luzian Lange is still, however, Choir Director.


Die Rheintoechter (Women)

Various Voices 2009Cologne, Germany
The choir was founded in 1984, which makes 2009 our silver jubilee. We are Germany's oldest mixed ladies choir. Mixed because many of the ladies are dykes but some not.

At the moment there are eleven singers (some have had music lessons or play an instrument, others declare their incompetence at fully recognizing notes), one musical director, who arranges our songs and accompanies us with the piano and accordion and one stage director with whom we develop our productions. Her favourite comment is "just be creative without any talent". That helps - no talent necessary.

Till now we have produced eight two-hour-programmes and at the moment we are working on the ninth which we are going to show in June 2009 for the first time. The main moods will be charming, confusing, hilarious and dramatic - all presumably at the same time.

We sing of lesbian love and lust, women's daily lives, some downs and many, many ups. Our repertoire contains grand opera as well as 70s pop songs, hits from the 1930s, raps, rhumbas, tangos, waltzes and of course some ABBA songs. Our texts are ironic and erotic, sarcastic and sometimes even a bit malicious. Lately, we have developed a taste for Mini-Musicals like "Caught in the Outback" (based on the music of "The Rocky Horror Show") or "Elevator Heart Attack" (based on "West Side Story").

Internationally we appeared at the Gay Games Gala in Amsterdam (1993), at the "Chorspektakel" in Zurich (2003) and the Various Voices Festivals in Berlin (2001) and Paris (2005). We are a founding member of the Cologne co-operative of gay and lesbian choirs called "stimmfusion" and enjoy our contact with other choirs.

Since 2005 our musical director has been Katharina Schneider, who took piano lessons pre-natally, developed an early post-natal passion for singing in the choir and consistently studied piano at Berlin and Dusseldorf. She taught herself tuba and accordion and since 1997 has directed several choirs.

For twelve years we have been working with Renate Kraemer as our stage director. She is a professional mime and in works with several theatre groups in Cologne.


Die Tollkirschen (Men)

Various Voices 2009Leipzig, Germany
We are 14 pansies, all full of zest for life. Conducted by our fabulous choirmaster Conny Schäfer we have been introducing gay culture to the provincial east of Germany since 2003. Our choir was founded by members of the former Kirschblüten.

In our performances we satirize situations from everyday life, present pop hits from the last century, and wiggle our hips seductively - the latter with support of our choreographer Carola Kleinsorge.

Within the last five years our choir produced three programmes: Alles wird sauber (premiere in 2004), (F)Lachbildschirm (2006) and our current programme In Nachbars Garten (2008).

In 2005 we already took part in the Various Voices festival in Paris. We are looking forward to London as we hope to meet both old and new friends there.


Die WEIBrations (Women)

Various Voices 2009Karlsruhe, Germany
The 20 singers from the WEIBrations in Karlsruhe, Germany and their shrill outfits put the whole spectrum of lesbian life to stage and have no scruples in ‘torturing’ well-known pop songs, oldies or German folk music. Their bold lyrics tell of desire and love, nosey neighbours, unsuccessful flirts and are dedicated to such problems as "How do I get a baby when I’m a lesbian" Their versatile and sophisticated repertoire also includes classics, international music and experimental rap. Since 2002 the choir has been under the conductorship of Eva Hilfinger and already took part in Various Voices in 1997. 


Die Zauberflöten (Men)

Various Voices 2009Koeln, Germany
"Die Zauberflöten" - The Magic Flutes - combine song and choreography with sometimes humorous, sometimes romantic lyrics, delivering a highly entertaining performance, so dazzling and versatile as gay life itself. Our 35 singers from Cologne will present a pre-taste of our programme premiering in late 2009, coinciding with our 15th anniversary.

"Die Zauberflöten" repertoire ranges from musical numbers and evergreens through to German & international pop, arranged in four parts sung a capella or with piano accompaniment. Since Spring 2008 our conductor has been the educated church musician Carsten W. Stüwer. Our director is Thomas Peters. On piano Mathias Staut.


Diversity (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009London, UK
Diversity, London's LGBT chamber choir, was formed in 1992 by lesbians and gay men who wanted to sing some of the most beautiful classical music written for choirs with the odd popular song thrown in for good measure. Now 40-strong, we perform regular concerts at home and abroad (most recently with the Classical Lesbians in Berlin and with the London Gay Symphony Orchestra at St Martin's-in-the-Fields, London), and entertain at charity events and civil partnership ceremonies. Our musical director Andrea Brown brings to Diversity her wide experience of choral direction and performance as a singer. She is Head of Vocal Studies and Performance at Morley College, London, and Co-Artistic Director of Various Voices 2009.


Far from Kansas (Men)

Various Voices 2009London, UK
Handpicked from the ranks of the internationally renowned London Gay Men's Chorus, Far From Kansas combine musical excellence with warmth, humour and style.


Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus (Men)

Various Voices 2009Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
"To Build Community Through Quality Musical Performances That Promote A World That Accepts & Values Diversity."

The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus, a community chorus of approximately 90 singers,is the oldest gay performing arts organization in the state of Florida. The guiding artistic principle of the chorus is to provide the audience, as well as the membership, with a varied and well-rounded musical program. The performances are filled with beautiful music to stir the soul, dancing and pageantry that lifts your spirit and provides pure joy of Celebrating Life Together!

The chorus is committed to sustain and to advance culture through its outreach activities including performing the national anthem for a National Baseball League Team, The Florida Marlins, sharing the stage with Patti LaBelle, Rosie O'Donnell and Sharon Gless. The chorus continues to represent the diversity of South Florida, performing songs from virtually every musical genre with lyrics sung in languages from around the world. By integrating into the diverse community, the Chorus can stand with the broader population rather than apart.

Social responsibility and contribution to community are important elements of the Chorus experience.We are directly exposed to the needs of our community and given the opportunity to address those needs.
As the melody in our chorus rises, as we blend our voices in harmony,
we take one more step towards a world that accepts and values diversity.


Gay Abandon (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Leeds, UK
Gay Abandon is Yorkshire's largest LGB choir, started in 1997 by Jane Edwardson (our Musical Director) and David Burnett. The choir has had a particularly busy year, celebrating our 10th birthday and launching our first CD, as well as appearing as guests of the award-winning White Rosettes. We also visited Dortmund, the twin city of Leeds, to sing with their LGB choir, Sang und Klang los.

We are launching a brand new set for Various Voices 2009. Gay Abandon's 'Big Hair Do' does exactly what it says on the tin: think anyone through the ages with an impressive coiffure and you won't be far wrong!


Gemengd Dameskoor (Women)

Various Voices 2009Groningen, Netherlands
Our choir was founded in 1988 and has since then performed in many places and on several occasions. You may remember our performance on former Various Voices festivals in Groningen, Munich, Berlin and Paris.
The choir is well known for the variety of the repertoire and the matching (or just funny!) choreographies. Our music ranges from madrigal to musical.

We are thirty very different ladies, who never make a fuss about where, who, why and how  we love. Lesbian, bi-, mono- and heterosexual women sing side by side and are closely connected.

We sing in dutch, french, english, german, swedish, latin or let our fantasy go. With passion!

We think singing should be fun, but we also work hard on improving our voices, the quality of our choir and of our repertoire. Our choir is a close-knit club of wayward ladies, always looking for new (musical) challenges. Our conductor, Aletta Kwant, thinks Various Voices London is a big challenge, but also a great opportunity to reach out to an enthusiastic, music loving audience. Come see, listen and experience our music together with us!


Glória – Ireland’s Lesbian and Gay Choir (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Dublin, Ireland
Glória was founded in October 1995 and now has a singing membership in excess of 50. The choir's repertoire is wide-ranging, from musicals to madrigals and from classical to camp. Classical repertoire stood Glória in good stead when it appeared with José Carreras, in concert in Dublin, in 2005. Recent choir highlights include joint concerts with The Garda Band (the Irish police force), singing at the opening the Bingham Cup 2008 and full participation in GALA Miami 2008.

John Francis Murphy - teacher, conductor, choral singer, accompanist and arranger - is Glória's  musical director. The choir's accompanist is the talented Ian Faulkner.


Goed Gestemd (Women)

Various Voices 2009Ghent, Belgium
'Goed Gestemd is singing, splitting one's sides with laughing (or laughing till one cries), foolish talk and a lot of pleasure!'

Goed Gestemd is founded in 1995 and is the only lesbian choir in Flanders Belgium. We have 15 members from all over the Flanders. In London we participate with 13 members of which 7 already participated in Paris. Our A Cappella repertoire: traditional songs, musical melodies, covers of popsongs, music of the King's Singers and negrospirituals.  Friendship between all the members is very important and therefore we also organise walking trips and Sunday lunches. Goed Gestemd already met gay, lesbian and mixed choirs in Brussels, Amsterdam, Maastricht and Aachen and participated with Various Voices in Berlin and Paris. Musical Director: Marleen Suckers.


Hellmans Drengar (Men)

Various Voices 2009Gothenburg, Sweden
Hellmans Drengar are Sweden’s freshest and most sought-after male choir, with compassion as its key signature.

Through choir singing and work with male gender roles, Hellmans Drengar seek to strengthen the individual and create a better world for mankind.


Homokoor ‘Onder Anderen’ (Men)

Various Voices 2009Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Established in 1986, we were nearly the first Gay Choir in The Netherlands. And in the year 2009 we will be the longest existing gay choir, which means of course that the real first Dutch Gay Choir doesn't exist anymore!

Our name means "Among Others" and we have forgotten why we gave this name to ourselves. Maybe it had something to do with the emancipation of homosexuals in the 80's. Anyway, this is the name we are well known for in the small province of Friesland in the north of the country. A province famous for its many cows, flat open land, lakes, sailing races, typical sports like 'kaatsen' (play at ball?), 'fierljeppe' (literally translated as far leaping - across the canals) and its own language. And in that language we sing our songs, but also in English, Dutch, German and Italian. Since 2007 under the direction of Renilde Duif, our second female conductor. Our repertoire is as wide as the life of the Friesan Gay. Humerous and serious feelings alternate in melancholic and hilarious songs.


Homophon (Men)

Various Voices 2009Münster, Germany
Homophon, first gay men choir Münster has been established in 1987 and is being lead by Benno Jockweg. The chairmen are Jörg Schwieder and Mirko Wienke.

Many songs and lyrics that we're singing, have been re-arranged and/or re-written by us and though regarded as out of date by some individuals, wearing funny costumes has always been and will always be one of Homophon's characterisitc features -besides humourous, snappish and diverting presentations.

Homophon, first gay men choir Münster currently has 12 members.
Benno Jockweg has been the choirmaster or many years now, Jörg Schwieder and Mirko Wienke are the chairmen.

Even though regarded as out of time by some individuals, we always have, do and will perform in funny costumes. It's like a hallmark, so to say.

The choir has been established in 1987 and is well known for fine A Capella music, as well as biting presentations. Many of the songs we're singing have been re-arranged and re-written by some of the singers.

We're currently presenting our 8th programme, "Schutzengel GmbH und Co. KG" ("Guardian Angels ltd.").


Kleine Berliner Chorversuchung (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Berlin, Germany
Discriminating and playful, we indulge ourselves in the desire to thoroughly seduce.

"The Little Berlin Choir Temptation" consists of 8 enthusiastically experimental singers always on the search for new challenges in music as well as in the kitchen.

We have been singing together since the year 2000, surprised and seducing our audiences with highly original arrangements of old and new classics and rather cheeky interpretations of well known standards. Since the beginning of the group our appearance has evolved: we've aged a bit we've changed faces a bit, but we're reminded true to our original goal which is to entertain and delight our public... they just can't resist us.


Le Zbor (Women)

Various Voices 2009Zagreb, Croatia
Inspired by the growing need for promoting lesbian-feminist sociocultural visibility group of feminists started an initiative to form an LGBTIQ choir. Our priority was to create a safe space where members of the LGBTIQ community could be free to express themselves. The space would provide them with the possibility of using music and art to make their contribution in promoting diversity. Le Zbor was organized in October 2005... We felt that the time had come for the city of Zagreb, the country, and this region of Europe, to have their first LGBTIQ choir.


The Lollipop Guild (Men)

Various Voices 2009San Francisco, Ca, USA
Lollipop Guild is part of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. Formed nearly 30 years ago, the Lollipop Guild is proud to be the first gay men's small ensemble recognized by GALA.

The ensemble specializes in a cappella choral music and is dedicated to entertaining, educating, and moving audiences through the power of music.With roots in Barbershop singing, Lollipop Guild has grown to over 20 members and performs in a wide variety of musical styles ranging from classical to popular.

Lollipop Guild has been part of the SF cultural scene for decades and continues to entertain audiences with its unique vocal style.


London Bulgarian Choir (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009London, UK
Led by native Bulgarian singer Dessislava Stefanova, former member of the Philip Koutev Bulgarian Folk Ensemble, the London Bulgarian Choir takes us on a journey around Bulgaria, exploring the landscapes of the voice and the creative traditions of this land.

Dessi and the rest of the choir invite you to join them in finding that ancient resonance in the depth of the human heart.


London Gay Men's Chorus (Men)

Various Voices 2009London, UK
The London Gay Men's Chorus is Europe's largest and best known gay choir with over 200 members. The Chorus performs music in a wide rage of styles from classical to pop, from folk to R&B via the music of show tunes. The wide range of repertoire runs from Dowland to Tavener, taking in the minimalism of Jan Sandstöm, from Abba to Rufus Wainwright, with a healthy amount of Sondheim for good measure. With many TV and radio appearances including Top of the Pops, So Graham Norton, Loose Ends, London Tonight and Comic Relief, the Chorus has performed with stars including Sir Elton John, Heather Small, Damien Hirst and the Pet Shop Boys.


Loud & Proud (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Midlothian, Scotland
Since 2005, Loud & Proud, Scotland's first and foremost LGBT choir, has grown from a wee handful of keen singers into a dynamic 60-strong a cappella 'singing sensation' under the inspiring leadership of musical director Karen Dietz. Our repertoire, ranging from shape-note to show tunes, is as diverse as our membership that represents a wide and varied span of musical backgrounds and experience. Our highlight for 2008 was to sing in two very different shows on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; this, our first visit to Various Voices, is sure to be our highlight for 2009!


Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Manchester, UK
Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus (MLGC) is the North West's most vibrant community-based choir. Singing in four-part a capella, their repertoire features music drawn from world music, jazz, pop, musicals and classical music. From their humble beginnings in 2000 of five people singing in a pub, they gradually grew too big for different rehearsal spaces in bars around Manchester's Canal Street. Nine years later MLGC has over one hundred members and now rehearse in a beautiful antechamber in Manchester's Town Hall.


Mannenkoorts (Men)

Various Voices 2009The Hague, Netherlands
Mannenkoorts is a small Dutch a cappella group. Based in The Hague, our eight members come from a  variety of Dutch cities such as The Hague, Rotterdam, Delft and Gouda. Mannenkoorts is a combination of the Dutch words mannenkoor (male choir) and koorts (fever), and is best translated as "gay fever". We try to combine beautiful singing with movement and smart costumes. Since the start of Mannenkoorts, now 15 years ago, we have worked with our musical director René Jakobs and choreographer Hanna Samson.


Männer-Minne (Men)

Various Voices 2009Berlin, Germany
MÄNNER-MINNE was founded in 1987 as Berlin's first gay male choir. Over the last 20 years our programmes have always shown a great variety in music and choreography. With their programme for Various Voices "Im Zauberwald" - "The Enchanted Forest" - the 20 singing members will take you to a very different world of fairy tales!

MÄNNER-MINNE hosted the 4th European Gay & Lesbian Choir Festival in 1988 and helped organise Various Voices Berlin in 2001. Over the years, MÄNNER-MINNE have taken part in most European choir festivals.

Since January 2005, Holger Perschke has been the Musical Director. Born in Berlin, Holger studied piano, musical education, philosophy and mathematics. He currently works as piano teacher, repetiteur, conductor and composer. 


Mélo 'Men (Men)

Various Voices 2009Paris, France
Comprising 70 men representing 8 different nationalities, Melo'Men was created in Paris in 1994. John Dawkins, Musical and Artistic Director since 1996, composes music for the choir on a regular basis.
Classical music - both secular and sacred - from the 19th and 20th centuries accounts for about half of the choir's repertoire. The rest of the repertoire is divided between French and International folk music, Holiday music, Showtunes and a few Gospels.

After organising the Paris edition in 2005, the London Festival represents the choir's 4th Various Voices participation.


Out 'n Loud (Men)

Various Voices 2009Helsinki, Finland
Established in 2004, the Helsinki Gay Men's Chorus Out 'n Loud is Finland's first gay chorus. Since 2007 the chorus has been under the leadership of Hilkka Kangasniemi (M.Mus. Sibelius Academy).

Nowadays, Out 'n Loud are some 30 singers from all walks of life. Everyone is welcome at Out 'n Loud, regardless of previous musical experience. Out 'n Loud's repertoire is a combination of romance and humour, varying in style from gay tunes to urban contemporary music, and works composed within the ranks of the chorus.

Various Voices 2009 is the first international appearance of Out 'n Loud.


Pegasus Chamber Choir (Mixed)

London, UK
Pegasus is one of London's leading young chamber choirs, made up of around 20 voices. We take our name from the winged horse of mythology, which is the symbol for Robinson College, Cambridge, where the group was first formed. We have performed in many prestigious venues in the capital, including the Almeida Theatre, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Lambeth Palace, and with a wide variety of celebrities ranging from Valerie Singleton and Sebastian Coe to Michael Ball and Brian Blessed. The choir has sung live on Radio 3, featured on Radio 4's Morning Service, and also appeared in the Channel 4 premiere of Jonathan Dove's opera When She Died - about Princess Diana.


Philhomoniker (Men)

Various Voices 2009Munich, Germany
Philhomoniker are 25 Bavarian singers, who - under the musical leadership of composer Alexander Strauch - fascinate with their exceptional performances, impressive compositions and moving arrangements for nearly 20 years. They move in tricky rhythm and make your heart warm up with their voices - sometimes their songs make you laugh, sometimes they make you think but they will always surprise you.

Our new show really rocks: We will take you to the opera, freely interpreting 'Julius Caesar' from G. B. Händel and creating a gay fairy tale out of "1001 nights". Cleopatra, pharaohs, pyramids - Egypt we're coming?!


Pink Singers

Various Voices 2009London, UK
The Pink Singers is a London-based lesbian and gay choir whose mission is to produce exciting and diverse performances for the public and in support of community organisations, whilst promoting a friendly, enjoyable and inclusive environment for our members. We have 70 singing members and celebrated our 25th Anniversary in 2008 - making us the oldest lesbian and gay choir in Europe. We have performed at venues across the world, appeared on TV and radio and as a community choir support many LGBT organisations, including regular performances at Pride. Our repertoire is diverse and eclectic and caters for all musical tastes.


Podium Paris (Men)

Various Voices 2009Paris, France
Podium Paris is a gay men's choir which was founded in 2005. 70 registered members are proud and happy to sing French and international pop songs ranging from the sixties to 2008.

The young and talented Brice Baillon is our musical director. Every year our main focus is to give two concerts in Paris in May. Podium Paris is also a familiar part of the LGBT community for which we gladly perform when we are asked.


Rainbow Chorus (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Brighton & Hove, UK
Rainbow Chorus is a Brighton based LGBT choir of around 35 members and we welcome people of all ages and abilities. Our main focus is to give two scheduled concerts per year in Brighton & Hove, including a WAD charity fundraiser and other performances as events unfold through the year. We believe that they are varied and enjoyable concerts and that we have become a familiar and colourful part of the LGBT community in the city. We are now into our 11th year and our repertoire has become more varied and interesting as the years pass. We’re ageing well!


Rainbow Voices (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Birmingham, UK
Rainbow Voices was set up in Birmingham in1995 as the only West Midlands choir to specifically welcome gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people and their friends. We are an inclusive singing group which currently has about 40 members who come together to celebrate our diversity in song. It's an ideal opportunity for people to meet, make friends, develop musical skills and sing an eclectic mix of great music ranging from classical to camp.

Rainbow Voices organises one or two main concerts a year in Birmingham, and guests at Birmingham Pride, Arts Fest, Queer Carols, and World AIDS Day events each year. We have also sung with many other LGB choirs, both at home and away, including Edinburgh's Lout and Proud, Leeds' Gay Abandon, the Manchester LGB Chorus, Pink Singers in London and London Gay Men's Chorus. We have sung in Norwich, York and Dublin as part of the currently inactive Sing Out network of LGB choirs, and performed in Paris at the last Various Voices in 2005.

We are entirely self-financing through membership fees, ticket sales and CD sales. For more information visit www.rainbow-voices.org.uk

Our musical director since September 2008 is Jean Dubois, and our accompanist is Martin McHale.


Rosa Note (Men)

Various Voices 2009Stuttgart, Germany
Rosa Note was founded in 1991, so we will have been singing together for 18 years in 2009. We are about 30 Singers, all male and as far as we know - gay. The range of age is from the late twenties to over 70. We are singing TTBB.

The range of our repertoire is as coloured as the gay community consists of: popular songs, musical hits, and some classical literature.
The choir has been strongly conducted by Amadeus Hoffmann, school musician, aged 49 since the first days of our existence, being supported by Gregor Falkenhagen, choreographer, Gerd Adelmann, stage director, a program group and our Board of directors. Rosa Note has developed their own style over the years, we call it 'choir cabaret', which means each of our program is accompanied by a simple plot, choreography and spoken texts. The latest programs were 'Männerfang', 'kochende Leidenschaften', 'Überkochende Leidenschaften' and our current 'Globale Erwärmung'.
Rosa Note has performed in most major cities in Germany as well as in Switzerland and the Netherlands.  2008?s hit was the organising 'Südluscht', the Southern German Gay and Lesbian Choir meeting together with our Stuttgart lesbian partners Musica Lesbiana. 18 Choirs from Southern Germany and Switzerland performed in 2 major concerts, accompanied by parties, workshops and open air concerts. We were participants of several Various Voices festivals as in Zurich, Munich, Berlin, Groningen.

We are looking forward to the London Various Voices spectacle very much, hoping to meet again many friends on stage, during the large variety of events, happenings and parties. We will perform part of our latest program 'Globale Erwärmung'.


Rozenkoor (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Rozenkoor was founded in May of 1992 through an advertisement placed by the COC, the Dutch national organization for homosexual men and lesbian women. The enthusiastic response showed a clear need for a choir where Gay men and women could sing together. And so was founded a mixed choir unique to the Gay world.

Each year, we put on a large production for an audience of around 200 people. Next to that, we regularly organize Christmas "diner chantants", projects with other Gay choirs, and we perform at major Gay and anti-discrimination events (such as the 5th anniversary of Gay marriages at the Town Hall), neighborhood parties, psychiatric facilities, funerals (alas), weddings, and birthdays.

The name Rozenkoor has a double meaning: "rozen" means pink, the symbolic colour of the Gay movement, after the pink triangles homosexuals were forced to wear during WWII. It also means roses, and as chance would have it, the COC building, where the choir rehearsed for many years, was in the Rozenstraat, the street of roses. And so you get the Pink Choir of Roses!

The choir's identity may be pink, but from the very beginning bisexual and heterosexual singers have felt very much at home here due to the openness which typifies our ambience. The Rozenkoor has around 25 members and as many men as women.

We have a very active membership with many committees: Creative, PR, Sponsoring, Editorial, etc. We also have a yearly magazine "The Rose".
Our repertoire consists of songs with two to six-part harmony. These vary from classical to pop, solemn to exuberant, Dutch to Japanese, some are acapella, others with piano accompaniment. During our performances, we choreographically emphasize these different aspects.

We regularly adapt lyrics to already existing songs to better suit our character. One of these, our 'Credo', is a call for freedom and acceptance for all people, put to the music of the Dutch national anthem.



Various Voices 2009Zurich, Switzerland
Schmaz was founded 1990 in Zürich by the renowned conductor Karl Scheuber. From the very beginning the choir tried to contribute to the political and social acceptance of gays and lesbians by means of a good musical quality. Schmaz has worked together with established institutions like the Tonhalle orchestra and the Zurich Opera House and well-known Swiss musicians. Own productions are often scenic and include a variety of musical styles.

Karl Scheuber is conductor of professional and non-professional choirs. Until 2007 he was one of the headmasters of Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (University of Arts) and is now president of its alumni organisation.


Schwubs – Schwule Berner Sänger (Men)

Various Voices 2009Bern, Switzerland
In 1992 a few enthusiasts started the "Schwulen Berner Sänger" (gay Bern singers) or SCHWUBS. In the following years, SCHWUBS grew to the handsome size of 45 members, but then shrank back to the current 16 singers. Under the direction of our pianist Werner Bucher, SCHWUBS is always lively, (self) ironic, (self) critical, willingly looks in the mirror and also holds it up to others. Or, in other words, we sing not just to entertain, but also to bring our audience closer to our gay world.


Sing Out Bristol (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Bristol, UK
Sing Out Bristol was started by Canadian immigrant Raymond Wells in 2007. We met weekly in a community centre kitchen with a noisy boiler and interest quickly grew. We badly needed a qualified musical director and under pressure, Raymond threw in the towel. A few members decided to continue and met in their homes. We elected a committee, found another venue and Sing Out Bristol's LGBT community choir was born and has gone from strength to strength since. Talented members Max Wellingham, who conducts, and Ronan De Burca, our accompanist, share the job of musical direction. We don't audition, we sing for fun and cover everything from jazz to choral. We received developmental funding from The Quartet Foundation in November 2007.


Sound Circle (Women)

Various Voices 2009Boulder, Colorado, USA
Sound Circle, based in Boulder, Colorado, USA, was founded in 1994. A perennial favourite of the United States' GALA festivals, they are delighted to be participating in the Various Voices festival; 10 singers will represent the 21-voice a cappella ensemble. Sound Circle is known for their unique quality of sound, strong rhythmic energy, and a fluid, grounded presence onstage. Their performance values include transparency, a creativity in programming which incorporates improvisation and movement, and an attentiveness to the healing power of ensemble singing. Their founding Artistic Director is Sue Coffee.


South London Choir (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009London, UK
Established in 2006 with over 100 members, the South London Choir is a community choir who organise community outreach through song; visiting prisons, homes for the elderly, the blind and the disabled, as well as performing concerts to raise money for charity.

This year the choir raised over £6000 for Shelter, the Samaritans, the Trinity Hospice in south London and the Demelza Hospice for Children.

Led by the experienced composer and performer, MJ Paranzino, the South London choir has a varied and exciting repertoire, ranging from classical pieces through to gospel, folk and modern pop songs. Most of our concerts consist of many musical styles. We perform regularly at weddings and other traditional celebrations, including a spirited Christmas carol service throughout December.

Combined with the community outreach, we offer encouragement and the opportunity for singers, composers and musicians to create original choral music, which we perform for the general public at venues such as the annual Brighton Fringe Festival, and London's Royal Festival Hall. MJ was recently commissioned to write a choral piece for Sir Terence Conran, and last November, the choir performed the choral soundtrack for an IMAX documentary called 'Wild Ocean' written and produced by the dance group STOMP, which premiered in March 2008.

The South London Choir has members of all ages and from all walks of life. You don't have to read music or to have sung in a previous choir to join. With MJ's guidance and leadership, everyone in the choir has great fun, combined with the belief, ability and satisfaction that we bring joy and happiness to people through performance and song.


Surrey Harmony (Women)

Various Voices 2009Surrey Harmony is a women's barbershop chorus with an extensive repertoire of songs, ranging from the traditional barbershop medleys to hits from the West End shows. 'Barbershop' is a style of unaccompanied, four part harmony singing, which was developed in America at the turn of the century and is now a popular and respected musical art form worldwide. 'A cappella' sound and dynamic choreography work together to produce a performance of energy, style and musical excellence, which is highly infectious.


Sweet & Power (Women)

Various Voices 2009Bern, Switzerland
Founded in 1996, Sweet & Power is the only lesbian choir in Berne at present. The choir's repertoire ranges from folk to pop songs of different countries and languages. With few exceptions Sweet & Power sings A Capella songs for 3 or 4 voices. The 2009 Various Voices repertoire consists of different songs devoted to women - the styles as wide-ranging and queer as ever. The choir's highlights are participating in the Amsterdam Gay Games (1998), the Various Voices festivals in Berlin (2001) and Paris (2005).

Since 2007, Sweet & Power has been conducted by the Cuban concert pianist and vocalist Abdiel Montes de Oca.


Synergy (Men)

Various Voices 2009Vancouver, Canada
Formed in October 1998 as a small ensemble of the Vancouver Men's Chorus, Synergy is a select 12-voice a cappella group which has earned a reputation for great singing in a variety of styles ranging from renaissance to jazz. They are directed by composer, conductor, and resident accompanist of the VMC, Stephen Smith. In addition to their regular appearances in VMC mainstage concerts, Synergy has performed at festivals in Chicago, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal; in self-produced concerts and benefits; and at scores of parties, weddings, and community events. In 2008 they released their first CD, "Songs of Nature, Love, and Celebration." They are delighted to be performing at Various Voices as part of their tenth anniversary celebrations.


Tapalanote (Mixed)

Various Voices 2009Brussels, Belgium
TAPALANOTE translates into English as "you're off-key" a good Belgian joke and also something which has become our very own "visiting card"!  It also underlines how there is more than just wanting to sing together that brings us together: it's also about the sheer pleasure of singing, mixed in with a generous sprinkling of fun. TAPALANOTE is around twenty women and men, some of whom are just beginning to discover choral singing while others are improving their vocal skills through this common musical project. Amateur and experienced musicians alike are all involved in this shared experience.  TAPALANOTE's basic principle is to provide a fun meeting place for a shared activity we love. It's also a chance to meet other members, both men and women, in a friendly atmosphere, while sharing a creative moment.  The choir is led by professional choir conductor, Bernard Guillemin.  Bernard Guillemin from the Liège and Brussels Conservatories, has worked with J.P. Peuvion, F. Fiorini, André Caucheteux, Al. De Rijckere and P.Tomek. 


Vancouver Men’s Chorus (Men)

Various Voices 2009Vancouver, Canada
First among Canada's gay choruses, the Vancouver Men's Chorus has established itself as one of the nation's premiere men's choral ensembles since its founding in 1981. Under the continuing direction of its conductor Willi Zwozdesky, the 70-voice chorus has achieved national prominence through performances and concert touring from British Columbia to Quebec, and through CBC national radio broadcasts of its five CD recordings. Internationally, the Vancouver Men's Chorus' promotion of a positive image of the gay community has been carried through performances at many GALA Choruses' international festivals since 1982, and through the publication of its distinctive repertoire.


Velvet Fist (Women)

Various Voices 2009London, UK
Velvet Fist is a London-based group of women a cappella singers who first came together over 25 years ago, through political activity, to find a voice in music. We sing of struggle, liberation, peace and equality, bringing a fresh approach to politics with our own style, warmth and humour. Our musical director is Lesley Larkum.


Vielhomonie Rhein-Ruhr (Men)

Various Voices 2009Duisburg, Germany
Since the early 90's Vielhomonie Rhein-Ruhr is a firm part of the (not only gay) revue and cabaret scene of the Ruhr-Area. Founded as the first gay chorus of the Ruhrgebiet the 22 singers present their entertaining show, in love with the stage and longing for applause. From A Cappella to half-playback and piano accompaniment, from solo and small ensemble to full chorus, With a mix of dance, play, speech, masquerade, sound & light effects and of course a lot of music they enchant audiences.

German hits, operetta, cabaret, international pop, art songs or classical choir pieces, romantic as well as modern. Vielhomonie feels at ease with the finesse of chamber music as well as daringly dissonant spectacles.

Manuel Mahr (born 1958) has been a member of the choir since its very beginning: first as a singer, then pianist, and since 2001 as musical director and writing arrangements. In his youth he received a wide spectrum of musical training, with an emphasis on classical music. Later he discovered his love for pop-music. Next to his career as a paediatric doctor, he spends much of his free time on various musical projects.


Vox Homana (Men)

Various Voices 2009Hannover, Germany
Musical Conductor: Ulf Hagemann
Who doesn't want to get back to the age of 20?
In November 2009 Vox Homana celebrates its 20th anniversary with a gala concert! Currently our choir comprises 20 singers, who are at least that multifarious, as the songs, we sing. Our repertoire, reaches through all different times and genres, from Georg Friedrich Händel to My Fair Lady, from Nina Hagen to ABBA and from Seal to Grease. We like to perform the songs along with an amusing story, like a kind of musical revue. At the moment we are preparing our new program, a thriller with 20 songs.


Vox Rosa (Men)

Various Voices 2009The Hague, Netherlands
Gay Mens choir Vox Rosa was founded in 1985 in The Hague and is the oldest existing gay choir in The Netherlands. At present the choir has 23 members in 4 voice groups. The choir has had, from its beginning, a broad and varied repertoire, from classic to musicals to pop.

Nicolette Heerema has been associated with the choir since 1996. Firstly as a pianist, and for the last 2 years as conductor. Because Nicolette has known the choir for such a long time, she has a good idea of the choirs´ strongest points and what is the best music for the choir.


Warme Wellen (Men)

Various Voices 2009Aachen, Germany
With the aim to stoke the city’s multicultural fire, the Warme Wellen (warm waves) was founded 18 years ago in Aachen, a city which for two thousand years has been famous for its hot springs.

Driven by the eternal hunt, the group performs themes concerning their lives, often ironic but at times also thought-provoking. Hallelujah might not necessarily feature on the menu, but rather what one can expect to happen in the green woods.

Performances at Various Voices festivals in Zurich, Groningen, Munich, Berlin and Paris count amongst the highlights of the choir’s history.




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