The Star-Scape Singers and musicians are the culmination of an extraordinary musical transformation. Despite their varied backgrounds, they all have one very important point in common, namely that they are all students of Mr. Kenneth G. Mills. A decade ago this man, who was a very successful concert pianist and teacher, and who continues to evidence his musical brilliance, yielded to the intuitive impulse of an expanding spiritual awareness, and ever since then has been speaking to people who have been searching for a more universal interpretation of life. The musical understanding and deeper levels of interpretation that Mr. Mills has been able to impart with inimitable verve to the singers and musicians is excelled in inspiration only by the miracle of his spontaneous lectures called Unfoldments. He speaks to all who are sincerely interested in coming to a fuller awareness of man's inherent freedom as Conscious Being. The Unfoldments, which comprise the central focus of relationship between Mr. Mills and his students, have been the prelude to the innumerable positive transformations that his students have experienced in life, encompassing every field of endeavor. One by one, he has opened the voice of each singer, freed the sounds of the instrumentalists and awakened each performer to a new and rich experience of music and life. Mr. Mills' words often come forth in poetry, selections of which form the lyrical essence of this album.
The singers are: Christopher, Sandy, Ellen and Stefanie Dedrick, Dianne Forsyth and Robert Mann. Chris, Sandy and Ellen were the nucleus of a well known choral group in the New York area called the Free Design and have made several successful recordings and nation-wide television appearances. They have recently been embellished by the high soprano voice of their younger sister Stefanie, who started singing in February, 1977. Dianne Forsyth and Robert Mann are also new to Star-Scape. Dianne is an outstanding night-club performer and has enjoyed the opening of her voice immensely in that it has enabled her to soar to the heights of classically oriented songs such as "Ecstasy." The bass voice heard on "Love is the Shepherd of My Life" is that of Robert Mann, who also happens to be one of Toronto's top studio guitarists.
The musical settings to Mr. Mills' poems were initially prepared by Christopher Dedrick and James Roedl. The music was then remolded and, in some cases, entirely re-written under the inspired directorship of Mr. Mills. IN some instances, Mr. Mills unfolded the lyrics spontaneously in rhythm with the music as it was being played for him! The words to the title song "On This Rock!" were composed in this fashion, and one can actually hear a sampling of Mr. Mills' amazing style of spontaneous composition in the poem heard near the beginning of "Given to Praise!" as well as the concluding work entitled "On the Wave of Vogue," both of which unfolded as the fulfillment of a request by those present at the recording session.
The remarkable fullness of the general tonal palate of this recording is largely due to the abundant array of overtones that is present in the voices. The overtones were given ample space in which to resound during the recording -- the location was under the twenty-foot ceiling of the spacious foyer of Mr. Mills' home in the country! Mr. Mills made the following comments:
"One of the distinguishing features of this vocal music to those who have ears to hear is the overtone panorama which unfolds. The overtone sequence is dazzling for it tends to trick the mind into the assumption that other voices or instruments have been added to enhance these songsters. May you find and enjoy them for they are a spontaneous burst of voices set free.
"The voices heard on this disc are a result of having taken a model that was held before them until it was matched and sustained, and in this way new voices were born instantaneously. This joyous sharing naturally led the way. The words were given, the pen was taken by the hand of inspiration and an act of grace freed the symbolic holdings until they were translated into sound and given in this garment of praise."
You are invited to stand "On This Rock!" and in partaking of this powerful and meaningful sound experience, may you see how music has come to serve us more and more in the age at hand as an effective vehicle for calling upon the deep and fundamental propensities of life to come forth and live!
-- Jaan Koel
Words by: K.G. Mills
Music by: K.G. Mills, Christopher Dedrick
Music by: K.G. Mills, James Roedl
All lyrics have been selected from Mr. Mills' vast library of spontaneous poetry and Unfoldments.
The Star-Scape Singers:
Dianne Forsyth (soloist for "Ecstasy" and "If You Love Me")
Flute: Jaan Koel
Trombone: Jerald Johnson
Piano: Linda Roedl, James Roedl
Guitar: Robert Mann, Bill Bridges, Brian Russell, Christopher Dedrick
Bass: James Roedl
Percussion: Bruce Philp, Terry Stevens
Produced by Kenneth G. Mills
Engineer: Phil Ramone
Remote recording facility: Linkage Sound
Recorded live in the autumn of 1977 in the foyer of Ontanaka, Mr. Mills' Canadian residence. "Ecstasy" recorded live in concert at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music. These are live performances with no overdubbing, multitracking or any other mechanical alteration of the natural sound of the voices.
Cover photo by: Yanci Bukovec
Jacket design by: Bev Tudhope