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The relationship between homosexuality and organized religion is explored in “Shaken Not Heard: Stories of Gay Men, Faith and Reconciliation,” a new work from the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus.

The performances opened Friday and continue through the weekend with concerts at 8 p.m. today and 3 p.m. Sunday at Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur.

imageThe performances are narrated by best-selling author Christian de la Huerta and include a broad range of sacred and secular music from around the world. The concert series is also designed to fuel discussions about gay people and their place in religious society. “Shaken, Not Heard” was inspired by the writings of de la Huerta and several members of the chorus, more than a third of which shared emotional memories to the performance.

“We took inspiration from real-life struggles of chorus members to build a universal story,” says chorus member Doug Gathers, who suggested the title and wrote lyrics for one of the comedic numbers. “Chapters of the story are woven together with a broad range of music, delivering a powerful message that evokes intense emotions on many levels.” 

A panel discussion takes place after each 75-minute performance that includes de la Huerta and Kevin Robison, artistic director for the chorus, among others. Oakhurst provides a poignant setting for the event, as the congregation was removed from the rosters of the Georgia and Southern Baptist conventions because of its affirming position on homosexuality. 

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