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July 22, 2004

Seattle Post Intelligencer

Adam Conley flew to Montreal last week, looking forward to a celebration of song and camaraderie. Conley, a singer with the Seattle Men's Chorus, was excited to be attending the International GALA Chorus Festival, a quadrennial convention of more than 6,000 mostly gay and lesbian choral group singers from around the world. On Saturday night, Conley decided to grab dinner and a drink at a downtown gay bar, to relax a bit before the Seattle group's five-song performance set for the next evening. He went to the bar, called Taboo, alone. As he left just after midnight, Conley said he was suddenly attacked by a half-dozen young men hurling anti-gay epithets at him.

"I haven't even begun to process it yet," said Conley by phone from Montreal, where the festival runs through Saturday. "I lose it every once in a while. I had a feeling of self-loathing afterwards that I've never felt before."

Conley, a baritone, said he started singing in choral groups when he attended Whitworth College in Spokane. He's been with the Seattle Men's Chorus for about five years.After the Montreal attack, Conley said he had a decision to make: whether or not to sing in the next evening's performance, held at Montreal's Place des Arts.

Though limping, bruised and bandaged, Conley -- with support from the 260 fellow performers of his group, as well as the members of the Seattle Women's Chorus - decided to sing. The chorus responded by dedicating "Not in Our Town," a song about communities fighting prejudice, to him. "This is a very positive, uplifting experience," said Conley. "It's music. It's art. We're here to combat the kinds of attitudes that allow these kinds of things to happen."

Posted by acapnews at July 22, 2004 8:45 AM


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