By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – About two dozen area seniors spent Wednesday afternoon listening to stories at the Morinville Seniors Rendez-Vous Centre. But these stories weren’t tales told over a friendly game of crib. Storyteller and performance artist Tom McCormack brought his unique talents to town, entertaining his audience for 90 minutes with a mixture of story, song, music and some pretty authentic animal impressions and other natural sound effects.
Although his Morinville audience consisted of mostly seniors, McCormack said his main motivation for his art is today’s youth. “I got into this because I was concerned that children were not thinking for themselves, were not getting their own reality childhoods” he said prior to his performance Wednesday afternoon. “Most important, they were not social interacting because of the excessive cyber medium – video games, computer games and on and on.”
It is a message McCormack has carried into the cyber world. The storyteller’s website speaks of the power of storytelling as a way to enhance children’s reading, writing and communication skills. McCormack says American education statistics show the greatest deficiencies in education are student’s abilities to express ideas. Those ideas and their importance extend into adulthood.
“The further reason for this creative gift is so children will be equipped to deal with the changing realities they are facing, not just now but in the future,” McCormack said. “To have this creative imagination, this creative faculty functioning is essential, absolutely critical.”
McCormack said through the ability to tell stories the creative mind has the persuasive element to influence major decisions in politics, corporations or any other aspect of life. “Whoever’s going to tell the best story is going to have the influence and really move people,” he said.
The storyteller said he felt Canadians were blessed because the culture still has a strong basis of story. “It is something that is shared in families and communities and hopefully that will continue,” McCormack said.
In addition to being a performing artist who presents music, stories and poetry to his audiences, McCormack also likes to see children and young people create stories of their own. To help facilitate that, he teaches story making, writing and telling to youth.