Hate Speech & Love Songs

Audience Reactions

Presenters' responses
Faculty & Staff Responses
Audience Responses

Presenters' responses
Click on Presenter's name for entire letter.

"I have coordinated literally hundreds of campus programs, and I know that only the most rare and remarkable performances move audiences in the way that you touched people here in DeKalb.

"Hate Speech & Love Songs" is profound; you convey your search for meaning and truth with simple honesty and beautiful music. You are part storyteller, part philosopher, part everyman: your stories reveal the unique complexities of being gay in a mostly hostile world, while at the same time connecting your life as a gay man to the broader human experiences -- longing, love, pain, sadness, fear -- that we all share."

Margaret M. "Margie" Cook
Northern Illinois University
Program Coordinator
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Programs
DeKalb IL

"It was truly the most moving and powerful program I've ever seen...You struck a lot of nerves, you opened a lot of eyes, you opened a lot of hearts. In a very real and tangible way, Tom, you changed lives. You truly affected people. Few programs can claim that kind of success!"

Jim Hamel
Rivier College
Co-Curricular and Campus Programs
Nashua, NH

"Perfect. That's the only word to describe your presentation. I heard so many grateful, awe-stricken, and worshipful comments about your artistry, mission, talent, authenticity, and significance that it would be hard to make any comment other than "perfect.'...

"Our dean was highly impressed and told me so... Our two theatre professors praised your storytelling abilities and a math professor said your piano playing 'blew him away.' I was mesmerized by your music.

"You cannot always see from the stage what effect is happening in the audience. I saw two silver-haired gentlemen nod profoundly and touch each other's hands with every point you made. I heard people thanking UWMC for being the only venue where your event could take hold. I overheard comments, questions really, about why we don't just reframe the whole dialogue as the opportunity for greater love, love in all forms. Anyway you touched hearts."

Jean Greenwood
Univ of Wisconsin - Marathon County
Program Coordinator
Wausau, WI

"Thank you again for your wonderful presentation of "Hate Speech + Love Songs" here on campus last week! Throughout the past several days I have gotten very positive and thoughtful feedback from students, faculty, and staff. Your sensitivity to a variety of perspectives and your willingness to share so much of yourself and your own story made a definite positive impression on people...

"Working with you throughout the whole process of preparation, planning, and performance was an extremely rewarding experience for me, personally. I have thought more deeply about my own biases and blind spots... You have touched us deeply and made an impact on our community."

Noni Strand
Bethany College
Campus Pastor

A Faculty Member's response
"Thinking over the program and it's relevance to my life as a straight woman, one of the best points you made was that a person shouldn't be judged and dismissed on the basis of one detail of his life. That, and your aura of caring spirituality, made your talk and lyrics universal to anyone dealing with personal growth and painful issues--not limiting the program to the gay detail....

"As a poet and a writer struggling for the daring to reveal myself to others, I felt touched by your honesty, your struggle, and your self-acceptance (however transient that is at times). And felt challenged to do the same. I've found that openness opens others. I've finally realized, too, that more joy comes from the openness, when I feared there would only be pain. I work on other people now, to open up....

"Honestly? I loved it all and will come to see you again any time."

- N. V. Z., Audience Member
Nashua, NH

A Staff Member's response

"Just a quick note to let you know that you are and were the BOMB at Rivier!!! People are still talking about your fantastic performance. You really need to consider incorporating the talking component as a permanent part of your program. I think this brings your listener closer to your heart and allows the message of your music to speak more freely."

- M.M., Audience Member
Nashua, NH

Audience Responses

Letter to Editor, WAUSAU DAILY HERALD (FEB 6 2000)

"On Jan 27, I was priveleged to hear Tom McCormack in concert at UWMC with his program called "Hate Speech + Love Songs." He spoke and sang movingly of his life experience as a gay man. One of the points he made is that hate comes from fear, and fear from ignorance. We hate and fear that which we do not understand.

"Such hatred cannot help but be fueled and seemingly given sanction by the two articles on the Religion page of the Daily Herald on Jan 14 which condemn homosexuality - two articles which occupied most of that page.

"If that same page had been covered with articles denouncing the eating of pork or the charging of interest, for example, your readers would have found it laughable, yet these practices are condemned just as thoroughly in the Bible as is homosexuality. How much easier it is to condemn actions of a minority than to condemn those of which we ourselves are guilty.

"Hypocrisy does not seem to me to be an admirable virture, and it can lead to dire consequences. The Southern Poverty Law Center documents each year hundreds of heinous crimes committed against people simply because they are gay or lesbian. Should we continue to give such criminals an excuse for their behavior?"

- Dorothy D Scott,
Wausau, WI

"I'm a 35-year old non-traditional student at UWMC with a planned major in Psychology... I, along with others that I've recently talked to (faculty and students), thought your presentation was wonderful...

I thoroughly enjoyed your program and don't have much feedback to give except to say that the content of your presentation was a nice mixture of the topics of homosexuality, hate speech and facing our fears and celebrating or sharing that part of ourselves that we don't usually consider sharing. That's a message we don't often hear, and I think it's an important one.

Although I haven't directly dealt with the issue of homosexuality, I felt that I could relate to much of your presentation. Again, I thought your presentation was great, and please let me know if you're ever in this area again - I'll be sure to attend!

- Audience member
Wausau, WI

"Your mother, God and your therapist did an excellent job!"

- Audience member
Nashua NH

"I would like to take a few minutes to tell you what an excellent job you did on the show. I did not think it was too long, too serious, too gay, or so on. I thought it had a great balance - enough personal information and talking to tie it all together and show where the songs come from, mixed with unbelievable music. You have an incredible voice, and your talent and love for music are obvious. I also enjoyed the CD ... it has become a favorite of mine. I have already expressed my interest in having another show here at Rivier, and will do so again. You have amazing talent...I hope to see you again here at Rivier soon."

- N.C., Audience Member
Nashua, NH

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