Persuaded I am to BE the Sound,
Persuaded to BE the Sound unbound,
Persuaded to offer to those who can hear
The Tonal Persuasion beyond the limited ear!
Persuaded by Tone I respond in Heart,
Tonal Persuasions: The offering
embraces My Heart.
Will you BE persuaded?
- Kenneth G. Mills
- September 4, 1993
Kenneth G. Mills
director, composer, poet
Born in New Brunswick, Maestro Kenneth Mills made his Canadian debut as a pianist in Toronto in 1952. He subsequently studied with Victor Babin in Aspen, Colorado, and with Nadia Reisenberg in New York City. While well recognized for his pianistic artistry and teaching, he has played upon a different keyboard since founding The Star-Scape Singers in 1976. "My greatest interest in tonal palettes was an impetus to exploring the sphere of voices set free." He has since served as their conductor and artistic director, producer, and sponsor, as well as the co-composer of their repertoire, which is primarily based on the lyric texts of his own published poetry included in the volumes Surprises, Anticipations, Embellishments, and his latest collection of poems on prayer, Words of Adjustment.
In the largest-ever gathering of medical doctors and artists at the 1992 MedArt International World Congress in New York City, Mr. Mills was presented with the MedArt Special Recognition Award "for the outstanding Healing Power of his Art." In his acknowledgment, Dr. William Riley stated: "Kenneth Mills is a remarkable man, gifted in the ability to communicate to people verbally, musically, vocally and spiritually. He has brought joy to millions of people worldwide, and his use of communication through song and the ability to teach song to people across language barriers is truly unique in today's world."
The New Star-Scape Singers
The Star-Scape Singers under the direction of Kenneth G. Mills have distinguished themselves in Russia, the Baltic Republics, Europe, and North America for their unique sound, repertoire and presence. Four extensive European concert tours have included performances at celebrated halls in Paris, Vienna, Munich, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, as well as at major international festivals in Switzerland, Ireland, France, Yugoslavia, Poland and Czechoslovakia. The ensemble performed in Geneva at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations and inaugurated the 1986 World Year of Music with two full-length programs on Radio Vatican. In 1991, The Star-Scape Singers returned to Moscow to participate in the first non-militaristic Victory Day Parade and celebrations, and to Tallinn, Estonia, to perform as guest artists of the Bridges of Song Festival. The ensemble has performed seven times at Carnegie Hall, New York City, since its debut there in 1981.
The Star-Scape repertoire comprises over 150 original compositions and unique settings of traditional songs, many of which may be heard on their seventeen LP, cassette and CD recordings. Their major work, The Fire Mass, has been performed internationally and broadcast for television and radio across Russia, the United States, the Baltic Republics, and Western Europe, including a special Easter presentation on Radio Vatican, from Rome.
Harp ("If You Love Me")
O Canada was composed originally with French lyrics in 1880, with an English version of the lyrics appearing in 1908 and later amended in 1968. Star-Scape has enjoyed performing Canada's anthem for audiences throughout the world. They recorded both the French and English versions in the studios of Radio Vatican in Rome for the Pope's visit to Canada in 1986.
Hey There! (I'm a Child of God) is a heraldic poem which moves like lightning, gliding and soaring with trumpet-like flourishes. It is written for full chorus, features solo lines which flow into a harmonic quartet and resounds with the ringing question, "Do you know my Father?"
Words and sounds are truly inseparable in this hauntingly beautiful composition. Beginning with a single pulsed note which, in Mr. Mills' words, "is like the pendulum of time swinging between the ribs of matter," this song takes the listener on an inner journey of man's deepest yearnings to a new dimension of possibilities.
The lyrics for this power work were written by Mr. Mills during a flight from Amsterdam to Toronto in 1985. Since that time, The Eagle has become one of Star-Scape's signature pieces. It was especially appreciated in Poland, whose national symbol is the eagle, and offer to audiences everywhere an uncompromising view of man's possibilities: "Fly as the eagle. What have sheep to do with flight?"
This beautiful Latvian folk song was first performed by The Star-Scape Singers in 1988 during a tour of Russia that included the Baltic Republics. It is said that one of the most treasured possessions of the Latvian peasant was his horse, which featured prominently in the text of his songs. In these lyrics is also reflected a continuing trust in Providence for personal and national safety and survival. Professor Imants Kokars, Rector of the Latvian State Conservatory, acknowledged Mr. Mills' ability to evoke not only the national but the universal essence of this music.
Star-Scape's setting of this much-loved spiritual expresses the yearnings of the song in soaring solo lines over the full chorus, carrying the audience to a soundburst of final exaltation accompanied by rich sonorous chords.
Dobru Noc Ma Mila
This beautiful Moravian lullaby envelops the listener in richly enfolding tones. As performed by Star-Scape, Dobru Noc has charmed audiences in Europe and North America with its delicacy and alluring purity of sound.
My Country 'Tis of Thee
A unique arrangement offered in the tradition of inspiring anthems, this work features the ensemble in a remarkably orchestral-like presentation. It evidences an array of sensitive dynamics as well as the magical fireworks display of Star-Scape's vocal range.
The Word Is Always Thunderous
Expect the unexpected in this powerful composition for male voices. Rugged leaps and deep guttural sounds, as well as plaintive melodic solos, lead one to the very summit of Horeb Heights, where a new vista awaits!
If You Love Me
This composition feature soprano Dianne Forsyth with chorus and harp accompaniment. One of the ensemble's most requested songs, If You Love Me wraps the listener for a timeless moment in the warmth of Love's embrace.
A heraldic anthem based on a simple four-line poem. Mr. Mills stated, "The complexity of this piece is based on the rhythmical patterns used which are antagonistic and create the interest." Beginning with a unison declaration by male chorus, Working Man moves the listener to its powerful conclusion in a polyphonic display for all vocal parts.
What a Wonderful World
Written originally for legendary jazz artist Louis Armstrong, this well-known, uplifting ballad takes one on a tonal journey through the beauties of nature, the innocence of childhood, friendship and the sheer wonder of life.
Executive Producer: Kenneth G. Mills
Digitally recorded at Holy Trinity Church, Thornhill, Canada, and mastered by Hazen Projects, Toronto, September, 1993.
Engineer: John Hazen
Assistant Engineers: Benjamin Gilchrist, John Arciuch
Graphic Design: Robert Withstandley