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I Can't Believe I Bought Another Horn.

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Beating The Devil.

Yamaha YHR-667D is gone. Flipped. Out of here. It set a new speed record between the time it went on Craig's List this morning & the time it went out the door this afternoon -- not that speed is a goal. Obviously, the price was too low.

Even so, proceeds from the YHR-667D will offset most of the acquisition cost of my remaining 2015 candidates for French Horn Rescue -- 2 more Conn 6Ds, 1 no-name 6D clone, Yamaha YHR-567, York-Schmidt, & I don't know what-all.

Next up, Schmidt-Model York double horn that's currently on the professional horn fixer's workbench. Plus, I have 1 nice Conn 6D & 1 newish Brasswind horn all ready to go & currently offered on Craig's List.

But the devil has not been sleeping. In fact, the devil recently made me spring for an eBay Holton Farkas double horn. With just a few minutes to go, I was within 1 increment of getting outbid. To my mild surprise, my semi-lowball bid stood up & the French Horn Rescue Holton Farkas model horn is now en route.

Is this a great country or what ?

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Plastic Trombone [Overdubbed] Quintet.

Click here for a brief U-Tube video of a plastic tuba demonstration.
Click here for a trombone quintet performance of Don't Stop Believing played on plastic trombone.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

nightnurse613

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Alan, I am sure I have mentioned how much I enjoy reading your witty repartee but, in case I haven't; let me do so now. I confess I don't much know or care about french horns (although they can sound pretty) but I feel your passion and reading your comments always seem to brighten my day. I hope I can enjoy them for many more years....:clap:
 

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[triennial - points]
Thank You.

Alan, I am sure I have mentioned how much I enjoy reading your witty repartee but, in case I haven't; let me do so now. I confess I don't much know or care about french horns (although they can sound pretty) but I feel your passion and reading your comments always seem to brighten my day. I hope I can enjoy them for many more years.
Thanks -- that's really nice. It's why I put stuff on TUG-BBS, not for compliments but for the kind of fun person-to-person connection we get here.

All week I've been practicing bejabbers out of my part for a jazzy Stan Kenton number full of tricky rhythms, practicing & getting better at it in preparation for Saturday morning Cathedral Brass rehearsal. (Yes, it's a church-based musical group, but we won't go to hell for playing jazzy tunes sometimes.)

After we ran through the Kenton number, the leader said the group as a whole is making progress backwards on that tune so he's dropping it from the playlist for now. (Shux.)

Even though he meant the group as a whole, I felt like my individual struggles with the tricky jazz licks are why the leader cut the piece. I know that's not it, but it feels like it is it. In all cases & every circumstance, my conscience declares me guilty till proven innocent & that goes for playing my horn part right along with all the rest.

After rehearsal, a high school student & her mom came over to look at my Craig's List horns. The girl played -- sounded really good. The mom & I haggled. Maybe they'll be back for a horn, I don't know.

Later, the devil made me check Craig's List to see if any other French horns are being offered. Whoa -- somebody out in the next county was offering a beautiful Yamaha double horn at a single horn price. The model number given was for a Yamaha single horn but the photograph showed a Yamaha double. By phone, I asked the seller if the horn he's selling is the 1 in the photograph, because the horn pictured doesn't look like the model number given. "Yes," he said, "The French horn in the picture is what I am selling."

OK then.

I arranged to go see the horn, with intent to buy if it was the horn in the photo. After an hour on the road, The Chief Of Staff & I pulled into the driveway, got out, & knocked on the door. A man answered, let us in, & showed us a beautiful Yamaha YHR-314 single horn in F. "That's not the horn you showed on Craig's List," I said. "Look -- here's your ad on my cell phone. Look at the picture -- 4 valves, brown Yamaha horn case. Look at your horn -- 3 valves, black Yamaha horn case. You said you're selling the horn shown in the picture but you're selling a different horn altogether."

The guy fumbled & stumbled, offering the lame excuse that his cell phone is not working right, plus he has ear trouble & can't hear so well. (Yeah, right.)

The Chief Of Staff was steamed, bigtime, & sternly advised the guy to get his horn picture squared away before anybody else calls in response to his ad. I said little or nothing, ready just to leave & get back in the car to drive back home an hour away.

Wild goose chase. So it goes.

It wasn't all for nothing. We shopped at Wal-Mart on the way home, got some nice stuff, & enjoyed an otherwise nice afternoon. If some Craig's List deal looks too good to be true, then chances are it's untrue after all -- same with French horns as with timeshares. We knew that before we set out, so we took it in stride when it didn't pan out.

Sometime today, after Cathedral Brass rehearsal but before the Craig's List French horn fiasco, I realized that over the past 10 years I have come to enjoy horns & horn playing (also horn flipping) more while enjoying timeshares & timesharing less -- not exactly sure why.

The Chief Of Staff & I still love timeshare vacationing. I'm still a major serious TUG fan & TUG-BBS enthusiast. But as for timeshare ownership & the ins & outs of the timeshare game, well . . .

John Chase's death hit us harder than we were prepared for; our timeshare enthusiasm was wrapped up more in our friendship with John than we realized while he was alive. Plus, we're solidly settled into being old folks now (not that there's anything wrong with that). By contrast, when we got into timeshares, we were still just late-late middle-age. Things change. Something's lost. Something's gained. Nothing stays the same.

So I really, really appreciate it when stuff I type on TUG-BBS strikes a chord with people. The interaction & participation here are super. FaceBook is wide. TUG-BBS is deep.

Thanks again for making contact.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
The Horns, They Keep On A-Flipping.

I really, really appreciate it when stuff I type on TUG-BBS strikes a chord with people. The interaction & participation here are super. FaceBook is wide. TUG-BBS is deep.
Last week a grandfather chose 1 of my nicer horns (a semi-rare model) as a gift for his granddaughter. Yesterday, a 6th grader who chose a nice double horn in January returned (with his dad) for another nice double horn, a solid & reliable Conn 6D. (His dad & his horn teacher were with him in January.)

I have described Conn 6D as the Toyota Corolla of the French horn world -- very popular, solid, reliable, sturdy, been on the market a long time, lots & lots of'm are out there, & they're still being made.

Conn 6D is marketed these days as a student-grade instrument, even though for a long time it was the top professional model in C.G. Conn's line-up of French horns. The introduction of a more expensive "pro" model (Conn 8D) did not dminish the quality or playability of Conn 6D.

Meanwhile, I signed up with the French Horn Trader group on FaceBook. Have not flipped any horns that way (yet), but I have received some nibbles -- plus contact from 1 person who wanted my outstanding Yamaha YHR-667D but asked about it just about an hour too late -- after it went to a professional horn player & teacher in the Midwest who spied my Craig's List ad for the horn. The horn went on Craig's List on a Friday morning & was on a FedEx Ground truck headed to the heartland that same Friday afternoon. (Obviously I priced it too low. Live & learn.)

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

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Our Grand daughter that lives with us in playing trumpet in band, she will be in 8th grade and has been playing for 2 years. She is wanting a silver trumpet, any recommendations?
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
There Is No Substitute For Quality.

She is wanting a silver trumpet, any recommendations?
Stick with the known quality brands -- Yamaha, Bach, Holton, Conn, Kanstul, Benge, Schilke, Selmer, Getzen, Olds, King, Blessing, Jupiter, Besson, Boosey & Hawkes, Courtois, Couesnon, Carl Fischer, Buescher, Reynolds, etc.

Shun the Chinese no-names & knock-offs -- i.e., avoid Selman, E.F. Durand, Mendini, Venus, Roy Benson, Jean Baptiste, Berkeley, Parrot, Allora, Merano, Tristar, Simba, etc.

Good luck.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

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[triennial - points]
eBay All The Way.

Any recommended music stores or dealers?
I get virtually all my instruments via eBay & Craig's List.

I know what I'm looking for & I can usually recognize a horn with potential when I see it even if I'm not looking for that particular instrument. (Plus, I never buy anything new except toothbrushes & underwear, but that's another story.)

For discounted new instruments via internet, try Woodwind & Brasswind.

Full Disclosure: I have bought miscellaneous music accessories from Woodwind & Brasswind (mouthpieces, instrument cases, etc.), but not any instruments.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

ronandjoan

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Our Grand daughter that lives with us in playing trumpet in band, she will be in 8th grade and has been playing for 2 years. She is wanting a silver trumpet, any recommendations?

HI
to help you narrow the field a little, our Natalie suggested the following brands: Yamaha, Bach and Jupiter.

Alan (Away We Go) knows her and "follows" her career with us- your daughter will enjoy hearing her on youtube, search for Natalie Dungey

(She's already a professional, people are already writing pieces for her, been to Japan for 5 weeks in 2012, playing pieces written for her, went to Vienna and Denmark and Australia last year -- she's just turned 16) (You can check out our BLOG for photos, too)
 

ronandjoan

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Our Grand daughter that lives with us in playing trumpet in band, she will be in 8th grade and has been playing for 2 years. She is wanting a silver trumpet, any recommendations?
BTW, we bought our son a Bach silver 25th Anniversary trumpet when he was in 8th grade, and it changed his life, in that he said, upon opening it up: "I dedicate myself to this instrument."

His high school music teacher said, "I always recommend getting the best instrument possible for students!"

Yes, it worked...he majored in trumpet in college and teaches band and trumpet (brass) now and of course, his children play brass instruments!
see
http://www.ronandjoanjourney.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2014-12-13T23:26:00-08:00&max-results=7&start=13&by-date=false
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
That's About The Size Of It.

BTW, we bought our son a Bach silver 25th Anniversary trumpet when he was in 8th grade, and it changed his life, in that he said, upon opening it up: "I dedicate myself to this instrument."

His high school music teacher said, "I always recommend getting the best instrument possible for students!"

Yes, it worked...he majored in trumpet in college and teaches band and trumpet (brass) now and of course, his children play brass instruments!
see
http://www.ronandjoanjourney.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2014-12-13T23:26:00-08:00&max-results=7&start=13&by-date=false
Getting a good instrument is excellent advice. Inferior instruments make it flat-out harder to play, period.

Around here, some of the music teachers refer to those no-name Chinese knock-offs as "instrument-shaped objects" rather than true musical instruments. Most of the knock-offs don't hold up, so they're not only hard to play but also difficult or impossible to repair.

Eventually the Chinese will get the hang of reliable quality control in the production of wind instruments. Already there are some top-quality high-end horns & clarinets being made in China, but only from a few boutique instrument makers, & not in large volume. Plus, those upscale Chinese instruments are anything but cheap, unlike the Chinese el cheapo "instrument-shaped objects."

In a way, Jupiter instruments (which have an OK reputation) can be considered Chinese. They are made in Taiwan.

I don't know for sure, but I have heard that Yamaha & even Bach (Selmer) have some of their student-line instruments made under contract in China. If so, that's another indication that at least some Chinese instrument manufacturing is improving.

In a generation or so, the mainland Chinese instrument makers just might catch up with Yamaha (Japan) & Jupiter (Taiwan). Who knows ?

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

ronandjoan

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cheapo[/I]

I don't know for sure, but I have heard that Yamaha & even Bach (Selmer) have some of their student-line instruments made under contract in China. If so, that's another indication that at least some Chinese instrument manufacturing is improving.



-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
Maybe they should look for older Bachs and Yamahas then that would not be made by the Chinese.
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
eBay All The Way. (Also Craig's List.)

Maybe they should look for older Bachs and Yamahas then that would not be made by the Chinese.
That's what I would do.

Plus, I would not rule out older good quality trumpets by Holton, Getzen, Selmer, Conn, etc. -- would rather have any of those (including Bach & Yamaha) than Jupiter.

If a trumpet teacher is in the picture, then it's a great idea to get advice from the teacher on which instrument to select.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Fringe Benefit Of Horn Flipping.

The horn that flipped is a King (Cleveland) double horn that plays great & looks OK.
The new owner of that horn came to see it with his father and his horn teacher. The teacher, who got here ahead of father & son, checked out & play-tested both horns I was offering at the time. She preferred the same 1 that I preferred -- the horn that the kid also preferred after trying both. So that's the 1 he took.

After the horn flipping business was done, the teacher & I started talking French horn. She asked what groups I play in & I told her. I asked if she would be interested in substituting for me in some of my ensembles some time in case of travels, schedule conflicts, etc. Her response was Yes, definitely. We exchanged phone numbers & E-Mail addresses & that was that.

All that was tack in January 2105.

Fast forward to last week. Cathedral Brass was getting ready for its Celebration Of Jazz concerts in Falls Church VA & Vienna VA. The day before dress rehearsal, one of our Cathedral Brass horn players was hospitalized on an emergency basis for a serious condition that landed her in ICU. We had to come up with a short-notice substitute horn player -- and not just any horn player, but 1 skilled enough to handle 2 demanding performances of some challenging music with just 1 rehearsal.

After striking out with all the members of our informal French horn network, I remembered the kid's horn teacher from January -- contacted her via E-Mail & phone message saying we needed a substitute player urgently, & giving the times & dates & places of the rehearsal & performances.

Pretty soon she got back to me & said OK. She initially thought she could only do the Thursday dress rehearsal & the Saturday concert, expecting to be unavailable for Sunday because of a prior commitment. As it turned out, however, she was able to pack up fast after her earlier Sunday gig & rush to our Cathedral Brass performance, arriving just in time Sunday afternoon.

As expected, she played great -- caught on to the music right away & did a splendid job filling in for our missing player. (The ailing hornist is back home from the hospital now, but forbidden from playing horn & doing anything strenuous for another few weeks. So it goes.)

Meanwhile, the teacher's student who bought 1 of my French Horn Rescue instruments in January likes that horn so much that he got his dad to bring him over for another 1 (a Conn 6D) that I had on Craig's List in March. Now he's got 2 -- 1 for school & 1 for home, I suppose. (I didn't ask. By me, he can buy all the French horns he wants, for any reason.)

Is this a great country or what ?

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

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Hi Alan,

Thanks for the update. I lthink a lot of us live vicariously through your stories.

Many bring a smile to my face.


Best regards,


Richard
 

silentg

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Nice story Alan!
 

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[triennial - points]
Carrying Case Rescue.

No surprise that some French Horn Rescue instruments arrive in carrying cases that have gone through lots of use & sometimes an added helping of abuse -- occasionally with missing handles, broken or missing latches, torn outer fabric covering, cracks or breaks in the outer shell, etc.

When I get horn cases like that, I try to fix'm on a do it myself basis.

Missing latches can be replaced by draw latches from the hardware store. (Sometimes the replacement screw holes will line up with the originals, but not always.)

I have not needed to replace any hinges -- yet.

Missing handles can be replaced with OK handles off other carrying cases that are too far gone for repair -- like 1 I received that was totally smashed, with a wrecked horn inside it. (Car crash, I'm guessing.) The horn was fixed, installed in a different carrying case, & flipped. The smashed case would have gone to Mt. Trashmore, except that its handle, some latches & hinges, & its plush interior lining & padding are OK, so I kept it as a source of parts. (The handle off the smashed case fit fine on another horn case that lost its handle.)

I have discovered that Elmer's Glue (or generic equivalent) does a good job on loose interior case linings & exterior fabric covering. Not only that, it's good for sticking replacement fabric onto bare wood where the original covering is gone -- although the fabric surface is somewhat wrinkly after the glue dries.

After using wood glue & clamps on an old horn case where there was a break, I covered the repaired break with fabric strips liberally coated with generic Elmer's Glue. That worked so well that I glued more fabric strips at corners & edges where bare wood was showing through, plus various spots here & there where bare wood was visible. The finished product was good & solid. But it left the case looking truly strange because of all the glued on beige fabric strips patching the original dark grey-green surface, plus some old grey & black tape which was stuck on so well that I left it on.

Even though a horn case is not a decorator item, The Chief Of Staff explains that the moms & dads out there considering a nice Craig's List French horn for junior or sis are apt to be turned off by a crummy looking carrying case for any "rescue" horn that I'm trying to flip. So that solid but strange looking horn case was problematic because of its patchwork exterior.

I solved the problem by using masking tape to shield the case's handle, latches, hinges, & brand name insignia, then spraying the whole exterior of the repaired case with Dupli-Color black truck bed liner spray in an aerosol can from Pep Boys. An hour or so after spraying the case, I peeled off the masking tape from the shielded parts.

The truck bed spray did not conceal the edges of the glued-on fabric, but it did give the whole carrying case a consistent & even dark, durable coating. It's more like dull paint than what I think of as truck bed liner, but the overall effect is about as much improvement in appearance as I could expect. The case for sure is not a decorator item, but it's sturdy & functional & now less of a potential turn-off for potential horn buyers.

We'll see -- the "rescue" horn which was delivered in that case is lined up in the cue for repair alongside 3 more just like it (except in OK carrying cases), plus 2 others of different makes.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

vacationhopeful

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I got a French horn in 6th grade. A bit tone deaf - love the sound but could not make the music. Gave the horn & case to my youngest sister when her eldest boy was looking for a instrument in middle school. Sister told me she gave the horn away 6+ years ago as her sons (the older two) had no interest .. to some causal friend/other student.

Just last weekend, I discovered my horn in her basement ... my youngest nephew found it and tries making noise ... it was laying out but looked in very good shape. 50 years old. So I picked it up and put some air into it --- sounded better than I remembered. Still can't play worth a darn.

It cost $375 when brought new ... my first (used) car brought 10 years later cost $600 ...

So, I too read your updates, Alan, and truly enjoy them. Thanks for the memories.
 

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Hi Alan,
Just came across your post about horns.. not quite expected in TUG forum but am interested in learning your experience buying/trading horns. My son just finished his freshmen year in Jacobs music school in Indiana studying trombone performance. He already owns a Shire, a Benge, a Conn, and is searching for an Urbie Green. Now I see your posts, I can better understand why he continues his search for additional horns...
Do you have any advices to a budding musician? Also do you have any comments on the Green horn?

thanks in advance,

Yvette
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
I Used To Play Trombone But I Let That Slide.

Do you have any advices to a budding musician? Also do you have any comments on the Green horn?
For any musician young or old, the best advice is practice, practice, practice.

Amateur musicians practice till they get it right.

Professionals practice till they can't get it wrong.

As for trombones, I don't know much about the various makes & models -- surely not to the degree that I have become familiar with the French horn family. All the kinds you mentioned are well regarded -- those plus Edwards, I believe.

An Urbie Green trombone is a particular model by a top manufacturer named after a legendary jazz trombonist -- the way some baseball bat models are named after top major league sluggers. There have also been trumpets named after top players like Doc Severinsen, Rafael Mendez, Maynard Ferguson, etc. Holton French horns are named after Philip Farkas, Barry Tuckwell, Ethel Merker, etc. Celebrity endorsements aren't everything, but they are not meaningless. That is, top performers would not stand for having their names on inferior instruments, endorsement fees notwithstanding.

Twenty years or so ago, way back before the days of flipping horns & French Horn Rescue, I bought a used but good condition Conn Constellation model 48H trombone for $86 + tax at an estate sale. The Chief Of Staff, who was a realtor at the time, sold the 48H to a real estate colleague for $350 or so, which he considered a major serious bargain.

Conn, Olds, Yamaha, Bach, Holton, Courtois, etc. -- I guess those are still considered the good quality trombones.

(Only kidding about formerly playing trombone. Just couldn't resist the joke, which I stole from my brother. BTW, I only learned within the past few years that the word trombone is Italian, simply meaning big trumpet. Who'd a-thunk?)

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 
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AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Blowing My Own Horn.

I discovered my horn in her basement ... my youngest nephew found it and tries making noise ... it was laying out but looked in very good shape. 50 years old. So I picked it up and put some air into it --- sounded better than I remembered. Still can't play worth a darn.

It cost $375 when brought new .
I still have the horn that my parents bought me when I was 16. They paid $350 for it, new.

Thirty years later, I had it restored & modified & refinished by a top craftsman for about $3,000. I'm still playing it today.

An equivalent new horn from the same instrument maker today is about $6,500.

Some of those instruments really hold up in value. Makes me sad to see them all smashed & abused & neglected. I guess that's why I get such satisfaction out of French Horn Rescue.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 
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For any musician young or old, the best advice is practice, practice, practice.

Amateur musicians practice till they get it right.

Professionals practice till they can't get it wrong.

Conn, Olds, Yamaha, Bach, Holton, Courtois, etc. -- I guess those are still considered the good quality trombones.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
Hi Alan, thanks for the advices. In terms of Green horn, I got the name mixed up. He is searching for a Greenhoe trombone which is no longer in production. If you come across one in the future, would you please PM me. Thanks,
Yvette
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
French Horn Build-Up -- Again.

Makes me sad to see them all smashed & abused & neglected. I guess that's why I get such satisfaction out of French Horn Rescue.
When there is a lull in the flip rate of French Horn Rescue instruments that have been fully repaired & are all ready to go, The Chief Of Staff says not to fret.

She says interest will pick up when school starts, & again as Christmas nears.

I hope she's right, because lately the horns are not flipping.

Not only that, I have a backlog of wrecked & semi-wrecked horns -- all good quality doubles -- lined up waiting their turn for repair.

So it goes.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 
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