For the second year in a row, St. Oliver’s Community College in Drogheda have released a special festive music video in time for Christmas. This year the students recorded their version of Happy Xmas (War is Over) written by John Lennon featuring both Irish and Ukrainian students studying at St. Oliver’s school.
Ronan McQuillan, a teacher at the school and a music producer, who recorded the music, vocals and shot the video, says the song carries a message as relevant today as it did when it was first released in December 1971.
“Last year we recorded Wham’s Last Christmas and it was a very playful and joyful video as we were coming through the pandemic and looking forward to getting back to normality. When trying to come up with a song for this year, we realised that the war in the Ukraine had deeply affected us and so we felt this song had a powerful message and I’m delighted we’ve managed to pull it together and release it on YouTube.”
The video features Ukrainian students who have come to study at St. Oliver’s singing in Ukrainian, as well as Irish students singing as Gaeilge. Over 50 Ukrainian students have started studying at the school since May of this year and both staff and students have been working hard to welcome them into the community.
“We have students from every year, from first to sixth in the video and you can see we have incredible talent at all ages. The music video gives students a chance to be involved in a big project and it’s a joy to see them talk about and share the video when it’s released,” said Mr. McQuillan.
Next year, the school will be performing the musical Grease, which will be the next big project for the school. “Music is so important – it can be life changing for some students, and we work hard to provide instruments, lessons and opportunities to learn and play music,” said Mr. McQuillan.
“I hope people will watch the video and see the peaceful message and good wishes behind it.”