Noun. Ly•ra: a northern constellation representing the lyre of Orpheus or Mercury and containing [the star] Vega. (Merriam-Webster)
Combining a passion for music and CJ as home base, the a cappella group Lyra has enabled Chaminade Julienne a cappella singers to continue to pursue that passion long after they graduated.
Established in 2017, Lyra is an a cappella group composed of CJ graduates who were members of Vega or Phoenix over the past decade. Angelo Knight ‘18, CJ teacher and director, and Sean Stewart ‘16, were instrumental in creating the group along with Caitlin Pearn ’13, CJ communications coordinator.
“I think we all went into it thinking ‘let’s see what happens,’ we were open minded and excited,” Pearn said. “A cappella has such a special place in all of our lives, this gives us the space to continue to pursue our passion.”
Lyra – with nine current members – will light up the stage on Saturday as the alumni group will join Vega and Phoenix as well as the junior high group Genesis at the free CJ A Cappella Concert.
A Cappella Concert • All are Welcome to this Free Event
Enjoy upbeat, contemporary a cappella covers from artists like Rihanna, Little Mix, Anne Marie, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Billie Eilish and Jon Bellion
When: Saturday, 2 p.m., doors open at 1:30 p.m.
“In terms of performing, it is always a pleasure to perform a cappella, especially with Lyra,” Knight said. “This family has been a large part of my life for the last six years. The level of independent musicianship that flows through each and every member is astounding.”
Knight knows a thing or two about musicianship as the CJ graduate is now the school’s director of a cappella – an accomplished program that includes eight Vega and 12 Phoenix members this year. Fellow Lyra member Adelyn Helms is the director of CJ’s second a cappella group Phoenix.
“Working with the students at Chaminade Julienne is truly an honor,” Knight said. “When I brought my concept of standard of excellence and growth of musicianship to the students, they understood what they had to do to be their best version of themselves.”
While his work as program director is immensely rewarding, performing with Lyra is both fulfilling and potentially inspiring to his students.
“Lyra is a great representation, to CJ's current students, that their growth of musicianship and life as a performer can continue well beyond high school and even college,” he said. “To hear how wonderfully we sing together in just a few rehearsals gives the students inspiration and a vision of a standard of excellence.”
That’s music to Pearn’s ears.
“To see Vega and even more a cappella groups after all the work it took to establish ourselves is amazing,” Pearn said. “A cappella doesn’t just exist at CJ, it’s thriving and growing and there is no better feeling in the world than that.”
Cassidy Aughe '15
Madeline (Brown) Severance '13
Adelyn Helms '15
Mackenzie (Aughe) Mays '12
Ayanna Hayes '15
Caitlin Pearn '13
Sean Stewart '16
Angelo Knight '18
Sam Brown '18
Other Lyra members through the years
David Marshall '15
Jacob Ely '18
Tucker Helms (past student)