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The Thunderbeat

The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School

The Thunderbeat

The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School

The Thunderbeat

Reimer launches alumni choir

Conductor+AJ+Reimer+introduces+the+Bellevue+Singers+at+their+Aug.+20+concert+at+Bellevue+West.
Jacki Petrow
Conductor AJ Reimer introduces the Bellevue Singers at their Aug. 20 concert at Bellevue West.

Bellevue West choir director AJ Reimer unveiled a new community choir, the Bellevue Singers, at their inaugural performance on Sunday. The group performed nine musical numbers and garnered a good-sized audience for their first concert.

The Bellevue Singers are composed of West alumni, Reimer’s close friends, and teachers in the Bellevue Public Schools district. The idea came to Reimer as he realized he liked to sing as much as he liked to direct. So he called up old friends and former students, forming the choir over this past summer.

“On Sundays from 4-6 p.m., we would meet in the choir room. And we would show up and we’d sing. Then, about every other Sunday, a bunch of us would go out and have dinner together. So the singing was important but the fellowship was important as well.”

For many, coming back to sing with the Bellevue Singers was a way to reconnect with a beloved choir director and engage in their passion– singing. 

Zhenja Wallin graduated from Bellevue West in 2023 and will study music education at Brigham Young University. She sang with Reimer in West High Singers.

“I love choir,” Wallin said. “I’m studying to be a choral professor–that’s my goal at least. And I also just love Mr. Reimer. I trust that his choirs are good, and it’s just really fun. It’s something I love to do.” 

Stefanie Catton is also a Bellevue West alumni, having graduated in 2015. She is studying to be a music teacher and teaching singing lessons with Sing Omaha.

“When AJ reached out to me to do this, I was like, ‘Well, I can make some time for this,’” Catton said. “I hadn’t sung in a choir in a long time. And I just love to make music so I jumped at the opportunity to be making music with my favorite people again.”

Alanna Wooden graduated from Bellevue West in 2020. She is becoming a music teacher at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and has found benefit in joining the Bellevue Singers, not just for fun but for potential education purposes.

“Honestly, I was thrilled to come back and make music again with Mr. Reimer, especially now that I’m becoming a music teacher, to have the opportunity to sing with him again, but now to have the opportunity to learn from him as a director and kind of see how he teaches how he runs things,” Wooden said.

Steve Thyberg worked closely with Reimer on musical projects at Bellevue West. He also founded Bellevue West’s ecology club in 2010.

“I was really thrilled; I wanted the chance to sing,” Thyberg said. “I had been hoping to get into some kind of choir and all of sudden it came to me.” 

Accompanying her husband, Marya Lucca-Thyberg also came back to sing. She taught theater at West for 16 years and is also a friend of Reimer’s.

“So he called me and said, ‘Do you want to do this?’” Lucca-Thyberg said. “And so it’s been a delightful experience, but a lot more work than I remember.”

Reimer said he plans to organize the Bellevue Singers again next year–and perhaps for the years that follow.

“We made good music and we sang but it was like a family reunion,” Reimer said. “Just a bunch of people that have long, strong relationships and it was a wonderful experience.”

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