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出席 means “to attend to something” whilst 参加 means “to (participate into/actively take part in) something”. For example you can attend (出席) a meeting, without saying your opinion (参加). 会議に出席はしても、意見は述べない 参加 instead is – like you described well in your example – for really taking part. You could also take a look here: Link Global Solutions Inc., ...
yes, if you translate it to English they have very similar meanings. Assuming that you knew in Japanese there are formal and informal terms, chotto is informal and generally only used in speech.
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