A children's choir from Oxford features on a charity single which is tipped to be the Christmas number one.

Singer songwriter The Gleeman's song 'I Love Christmastime' released tomorrow (December 1) features children from Cherwell College Choir which was formed in January 2023 to unite Ukrainian refugee children arriving in the UK.

They sing with two other Ukrainian choirs the Kyiv-based Shchedryk Children's Choir and the St Mary’s Ukrainian School Choir from London on the track which will support charity War Child.

thisisoxfordshire: Cherwell College Choir - Bob Harris - The Gleeman

The song has been written from the perspective of a child, remembering the joys and magic of Christmases gone by.

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The Gleeman wanted to release the single to keep the plight of children in Kyiv and Ukraine at the front of people’s minds.

He also wanted to highlight the impact on the displacement of families especially at Christmas time so he reached out to Yevheniia Diachenko, a musician and Ukrainian refugee herself who runs Cherwell College Choir.

The children recorded their vocals only last week at Evolution studios on Osney Mead in Oxford.

Legendary music broadcaster and Oxfordshire local Bob Harris OBE was also at the recording session and interviewed The Gleeman and the children taking part for a behind-the-scenes video.

The single has been tipped by the Official Charts Company as a contender for the Christmas number one spot. 

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Alisa Klauning, 10, sings on the single.

When the choir was formed she said it has helped her to feel as though she is “not alone”.

“I feel quite safe in this community and I feel that I can talk with anybody about what’s happened in Ukraine – and they will say, I remember that”, she told PA.

thisisoxfordshire: Bob Harris - Cherwell College Choir

“And I really like music and my life has somehow been connected with music since I was really really little.”

Alisa escaped from her home in Kyiv with her sister Yeva, 15, and her mother Nataly – who works at Cherwell College as a communications officer – on March 5, 2022.

They reached their host family in Long Hanborough on March 29, 2022 and then moved to Oxford in April 2023.

“The first time they said we have to leave Ukraine, I just didn’t believe it”, she said.

“And then we were on a train and going away just like that.

“But I just felt like my mum knew what she was doing and so I just gave myself to her and said, do anything.”

The Gleeman said: If I Love Christmastime with the participation of the Ukrainian children and the support of War Child can help raise awareness and support for children impacted by war, can connect with people, can unite people, can provide some comfort and joy or can encourage anyone to sing along so they do not feel so alone, this Christmastime will definitely become one of the magical ones."

Stream the single at: https://stream.thegleeman.co.uk/ilovechristmastimewarchildversion