Lowell MA

October 16, 2001

Hate Speech, Love Songs

Connector Contributor

Wednesday evening's performance at Durgin Hall was unexpectedly moving, as well as enlightening.

Singer/songwriter Tom McCormack delivered a riveting combination of music and storytelling. His performance, aptly titled, "Hate Speech + Love Songs," was part of the weeklong GLBTI Awareness Week, sponsored by the "Coming Out, Coming Together" committee of UMass Lowell.

McCormack's musical style is similar to Tori Amos in style and intensity, although echoes of James Taylor and Carl King are readily apparent. His music is powerful, with piano and vocal solos reaching soaring heights, and plunging into darkly minor keys that expressed a wide range of emotion and spirituality.

It isn't just about the music, however.

McCormack's performance leaves him wide open. Onstage, he explores and exposes his deepest secrets, fears, vulnerability and spiritual questions. He uses his life experience to address issues that are experienced by every one of us. He narrates universal messages about hate, prejudice, tolerance and the need for self-acceptance through a variety of media.

Engaging the audience in his performance, he taught us to "sign" along to one of his most notable works, "Home," by means of American sign language. He brought to the crowd a certain feeling of unity, no matter who you were. His narrative revealed intimate details about who he is, rather than "what " he is; a profoundly spiritual human being dedicating his life to delivering his message with heart and intelligence.

2001 The Connector, UMass Lowell

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