While California's Proposition 8 is contested in federal court and activists organize to repeal it at the ballot box, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus is on a mission to change the hearts and minds in parts of the state that voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriage in 2008.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the 250-member chorus began its Freedom Tour last weekend, one that includes conservative niches like Chico and Fresno. The five-city series is sponsored by the Shasta County Arts Council and the Stonewall Alliance Center.
Attendance for the first two shows, show organizers asserted, has been better-than-expected. "When the tickets didn't sell at first, I thought, 'Oh God, no one is going to show up,'" said Amy Andrews, a welfare worker who helped sell tickets for the 1,000-seat Cascade Theatre in Redding. "And then tickets just took off. I have never been prouder of my hometown."
All proceeds from the concerts will benefit local community organizations, according to the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus's Web site. Future concerts are planned for Fresno and Bakersfield in May.