The Fire Mass is an extensive a cappella vocal setting of the full Latin text of the Ordinary of the Mass in its six sections. Interwoven with the traditional Latin is the English poetry of of Kenneth Mills which was chosen for its relevance to the universal essence of such celebration.
“Conceived for a ten-to-twelve voice ensemble, it is tonal yet avant-garde sonority, harmony and rhythm. The first edition was drafted in the first half of 1985. Throughout the year and into 1986, in rehearsal with The Star-Scape Singers and at the keyboard, Dr. Mills sculpted, edited and refined the work, polishing its facets and lifting the entire musical concept off the page and into the inspired realm befitting such a text. Thus, it is to him that this work is dedicated.” – Christopher W. Dedrick, co-composer
The Star-Scape Singers in this performance conducted by Kenneth G. Mills are Robert Bullock, Christopher Dedrick, Sandra Dedrick, Stefanie Dedrick, Dianne Forsyth, Richard Leach, Alberta Ridley, Linda Roedl, Terry Stevens and Peter Thompson.
The Fire Mass was premiered in March 1986 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It received its European premiere in Lausanne Cathedral, Switzerland, in August 1986, presented by the City of Lausanne and recorded by Radio Suisse Romande. Performances in Poland and Belgium followed during The Star-Scape Singers’ fourth European tour in autumn 1986. On June 7, 1988, they presented this ninety-minute work at Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto. This performance was broadcast nationally by CBC radio. The Fire Mass was heard to great public and critical acclaim during the ensemble’s tour of the Soviet Union in summer 1988, in Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Moscow, Leningrad, and Tallinn (Estonia).
“The Toronto-based Star-Scape Singers (Sun-Scape Records) are world renowned for their highly evocative style of music and performance. In the past decade they have refined their progressive composition into simply magical music. As the special guest of the mayor of Moscow, they were chosen to sing for all the ensembles during the last May Day festivities. Their new world anthem may become one of the most significant contributions of art to the quest for world peace. The Fire Mass, A Sound Voyage, and The Song: The Heart of Christmas, composed and conducted by Kenneth G. Mills, are already collectors’ albums.” – Don Campbell, Director, Institute for Music, Health and Education, Boulder, Colorado, and Author of The Mozart Effect
“This is a superbly trained ensemble. Collectively, the 10 solo voices make up an instrument of bright and extraordinary varied capacity. They function as one – singing with piercing purity, without vibrato, and in flawless pitch.” – Tim Page, The New York Times