Octetoberfest 2022
KC VITAs Presents


St. Mary's Episcopal Church
1307 Holmes Rd KCMO
Friday, October 28 - 7:00 p.m.

Jackson C. Thomas, Artistic Director

drifting spectres

Kota Hayton (MO)

The Damaged

from Women Who Kill
Victoria Malawey (MN)

Jessica Seidler, soprano;
Allison Ross Lint, violin;
Krista Hopper, upright bass

‘Tis not for me to speak aloud
On lofty themes. I tell
As one among the lowly crowd
How young Maria fell.
Swift as a flash a glittering blade
Across his throat she drew,
‘By you,’ she shrieked, ‘I’ve been betrayed;
This vengeance is my due.’
Behold her now, a wounded dove:
A native of a time
Where hearts are melted soon with love
And maddened soon to crime.

Composer's Note: "The Damaged" takes text not written or attributed to a female perpetrator, but rather text of a standard murder ballad and attempts to recast the seemingly judgmental text in a way that might give more subjectivity to the murderer. In Seal’s typology, “the damaged” refers to women who are psychologically broken, driven mad by heartbreak, which is the cause of their suspected murderous behavior. Here I have taken the entirety of The Ballad of Maria Barberi, who murdered an unwilling lover in 1895. In my setting, the singer portrays two personas: that of an (im)partial narrator and the voice of Barberi herself.

Old Giants and Round Devices

J.D. Daniel

The wind is sunk to a sigh,
And the waters are stern with frost;
And gray, in the eastern sky,
The last snow-cloud is lost.
Woods, winter-fraught,
Harsh as a face death-carved
With the iron of some black thought.

And the fields of space gleam bright, as if some giant, old,
Had dipped their fingers, huge, into twilight's sea of gold
And sprinkled all the skies.

The moon, like a round device
On a shadowy shield of war,
Hangs white in a rapture of ice,
Left, now, with a solitary star.

Composer's Note: It is cold. Snow and ice coat the grassy hills and rocky paths, but the sky is a clear purple-indigo. A full moon floats through its starlights. From within the shadows of tall old pines, a rumbling begins. Creaking, crashing, and filling the air with a deep hum, a stone golem awakens, rising up from some lost place. Basking in a mysterious golden sheen and the stillness of moonlight, they contemplate their being, memory blank as if new-born. They are silent, bold, and hollow. You can almost see through them.

The Respectable

from Women Who Kill
Victoria Malawey

Jessica Seidler, soprano;
Allison Ross Lint, violin;
Krista Hopper, upright bass

From Mary August Lee Demarest's Poem “My Ain Countrie”:

I am far from my home, and I'm weary after while,
for the longing for home bringing and my Father's welcome smile.
My sins have been many, and my sorrow has been sore,
but this day they'll never vex me, nor be remembered more.

From Allan Cunningham's Poem “Home, Home, Home”:

The green leaf of loyalty’s beginning to fall
The Bonnie White Rose it is withering an’ all
But I’ll water it with the blood of usurping
And green it will grow in my ain country

Composer's Note: "The Respectable" recalls Seal’s figure of the seemingly well-adjusted, normative, middle-class white woman who surprises everyone when she commits murder of a loved one. The exemplar of this type is Lizzie Borden, who was accused of murdering her father and stepmother in the most gruesome of ways, but acquitted in court. The texts I have set are taken from lines Borden specifically requested to be sung at her own funeral, obviously of special importance to her and perhaps a genuine reflection of Borden’s own mental state when she was near death.

Slipping, Void

Michael Selvaggi (Switzerland)

Stella Dayrit Roden, soprano;
Kota Hayton, electronics

A dark unfathomed tide
Of interminable pride -
A mystery, and a dream,
Should my early life seem;
I say that dream was fraught
With a wild and waking thought
Of beings that have been,
Which my spirit hath not seen,
Had I let them pass me by,
With a dreaming eye!
Let none of earth inherit
That vision of my spirit;
Those thoughts I would control,
As a spell upon his soul:
For that bright hope at last
And that light time have past,
And my worldly rest hath gone
With a sigh as it passed on:
I care not though it perish
With a thought I then did cherish

Composer's Note: The idea for this piece developed during a long period of sound conceptualization I was experiencing throughout the middle stages of Winter in 2020-2021. During this period, I was interested in writing pieces that explored the gritty, granular, grotesque aesthetics and sounds of seasonal decay. In this work, I felt as though I needed to explore a more personal and human experience, that instead of reflecting the decay in nature, represented decay on the psyche.

Ghost Stories of St. Mary's
with Fr. Charles Everson


Cole Reyes (NY)

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.
The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.
Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

Composer's Note: The winter season is often filled with time spent hiding away from frightful weather. “Spellbound” by Emile Brontë depicts a vicious snowstorm that leaves the narrator trapped inside. Within the setting of the text, various sessions of aleatoric gestures symbolize the howling wind and falling snow outside amidst the setting of the text. At the end of the piece, the harmony leaves the listeners unsatisfied and unresolved to symbolize the frustration and dissatisfaction of being trapped by weather. However, the warm luscious textures within the voices represent the safety and comfort of staying indoors during the storm – which ultimately is more important.


Kota Hayton (MO)

Katie Fischer & Jessica Seidler, sopranos;
Kota Hayton, electronics

The Witch

from Women Who Kill
Victoria Malawey

Stella Dayrit Roden, soprano;
Allison Ross Lint, violin;
Krista Hopper, upright bass

Thick cobwebs with dead spiders clung to the interior walls.

I heard a scream. She said, ’I am in an awful lot of pain and I would rather be dead.’ [ . . . ] The lady got her wish. [ . . . ] Ms. Knight had been suffering from a cold, and it was "common knowledge" that a stocking wrapped around the neck helped to cure ailments of the throat. [ . . . ] I realize that I have been very foolish, but I kept trying to keep things covered up. Thick cobwebs with dead spiders clung to the interior walls.

Composer's Note: "The Witch" engages Seal’s fifth and final murderous type—a woman who is said to have killed someone through mysterious or unexplainable methods, and is often a caretaker of the deceased. The figure whose story I have chosen to tell is Sarah Harvey, the suspected murderer of a disabled woman, Frances Knight, who was in Harvey’s charge. In 1940, Knight evidently had died (whether of natural causes or by murder, we know not), and Harvey had placed her corpse in a kitchen cabinet, where it mummified over several decades, while she continued to collect a weekly stipend for Knight’s care. The story was sensationalized in the press with story titles, such as “Mummy in the Cupboard,” once the mummified corpse was uncovered by Harvey’s son. The text I have set is taken from a compilation of lines from newspaper stories, with emphasis on reported quotations from Harvey herself (who also speaks for Knight).

Deposition of Mary Daniel

Stephen Ryan Jackson (MA)

Kaitlyn York, mezzo-soprano;
Robert Pherigo, piano

"There appeared to me
the shape of a woman
who looked most fiercely and angrily
and beat me, pinched me, afflicted me.

The shape of Margret Scott was upon me,
heaviness upon my tongue.
I was taken ill,
felt a great prickling in my soles."

Composer's Note: "The Deposition of Mary Daniel" takes inspiration in the court proceedings of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The deposition was the final proceeding before Margret Scott was found guilty of witchcraft by the Salem Court and later sentenced to death.

Join us for Bavarian pretzels and libations after the concert! This evening also includes a silent auction (bidding ends 30 minutes after the concert) with some incredible local items!

Katie Brunkhorst
Aeriel Feeback
Katie Fischer
Stella Dayrit Roden
Jessica Seidler


Morgan Gibson
Page Gravley
Elizabeth Mulkey
Kaitlyn York


Josh Donaldson
Gabriel Englehart
Kota Hayton
Brock Mercer
Nathan Sullins
Austin Welhoff


Tim Billingsley
JD Daniel
Bert Dothage
Carter Hintz
Adam Petz
Robby Rusca

Thanks to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Libby Hanssen, Paul Horsley, Patrick Neas, Silent Auction Donors, 2022 Season Ticket Holders, and all of YOU for making this evening possible!

Season 8 has been incredible, and exciting plans are in the works for Season 9 - help us keep in touch and prepare our best season yet! Follow us on social media, sign up for our email blasts on our homepage and make a fully tax-deductible donation! Donations accepted via text (“KCVITAs” to 44-321), on our support page, through Venmo (@KCVITAs), or at our fundraising table!