PEI

Teens' original Christmas song hits high note for P.E.I. charity

Two Island teens have written and produced a new holiday song they hope will make this Christmas a little brighter for Islanders in need — the girls are donating all of the money from online sales of Hurry Santa to the P.E.I. charity Santa's Angels.

'We hope they feel the excitement and joy of Christmas'

'We just fiddled around with our ukuleles, played the chords that we knew and just kind of went with the flow,' says Ally MacLeod, left, with friend Liah Clayton. (John Robertson/CBC)

Two Island teens have written and produced a new holiday song they hope will make this Christmas a little brighter for Islanders in need — the girls are donating all of the money from online sales of Hurry Santa to the P.E.I. charity Santa's Angels.

Liah Clayton and Ally MacLeod, both 15, released the song less than a week ago and it's already made almost $500. 

Challenged to learn new skill

"We were looking on different charity sites and there were some for food, some for clothes, but Santa's Angels kind of had a bit of everything," said Liah. "They go to the hospital, they do food and clothes and bring stuff on Christmas morning so we thought it was perfect, it had everything." 

'It’s about the excitement of Christmas and all the joy of Christmas,' says Liah Clayton of the girls' song, Hurry Santa. (John Robertson/CBC)

The Grade 9 students from East Wiltshire Intermediate School started the project as part of their Duke of Edinburgh program, which helps students become responsible and caring citizens by challenging them to develop new skills and to be of service in their community.

I thought it was absolutely delightful, it's a great little tune.— Jon Matthews

Last summer the friends came up with the idea of writing an original Christmas song together as their new skill. The girls met weekly, writing lyrics together and plunking out tunes on their ukuleles.

"We just started brainstorming ideas and one thing led to another and then we had some of the verses done and then the chorus and the bridge just came with it," said Ally.  

'That's the one'

"We just fiddled around with our ukuleles, played the chords that we knew and just kind of went with the flow."

It wasn't long before they hit upon the right sound.

"We both just kind of looked at each other and we were like — that's the one," Liah said with a laugh. 

The song's lyrics capture the anticipation of waiting for Santa to arrive.

"It's about the excitement of Christmas and all the joy of Christmas," said Liah.

'Should be on the radio'

When the girls tested out the new song on family and friends, the response was immediate.

'We just started brainstorming ideas,' for the original song, says Ally of how they wrote Hurry Santa. (Submitted by Shannon MacLeod)

"It was actually our friends and family that led us towards going into the studio, because they kept saying that it should be on the radio, and they would download it and add it to their Christmas playlist," said Ally. "It was pretty exciting."

The girls recorded their song with award-winning music producer Jon Matthews at the Sound Mill Studio in Emyvale, P.E.I. Matthews is Clayton's uncle and was impressed with how fresh the girls' song sounded.

"I thought it was absolutely delightful, it's a great little tune," said Matthews.

'Great vocal blend'

"It's a really difficult thing to write Christmas music, because all the Christmas imagery has been used in every song, there's been so many over the years." 

'The song was fully formed when they brought it in here so it was up to me to keep that charm, keep that magic in the song,' says producer Jon Matthews. (John Robertson/CBC)

"And the two of them have such a great vocal blend singing together that I really wanted to preserve that."

Matthews was happy to donate his time to professionally record, mix and master the song to contribute to what he sees as a good cause. 

"We just want to spread some of that Christmas magic and Christmas love," Matthews said. 

"And in this case it's kind of a win all the way around. The girls have had this wonderful experience and in the end, some people are going to wake up Christmas morning and have a better Christmas then they would have before."

'A better Christmas'

Knowing their song will be making Christmas merrier for Islanders in need is music to the girls' ears.

'It’s like a once in a lifetime experience to come into the studio here,' says Ally. (John Robertson/CBC)

"It makes me happy to know that the people that are less fortunate have something on Christmas morning, like excitement," said Ally.

"We hope they feel the excitement and joy of Christmas and just everything that Christmas is about, all those happy feelings," said Liah. 

"I think it's going to be really exciting for them. I just wish I could see their faces."

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About the Author

Sarah Keaveny-Vos is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. Sarah loves sharing stories of Islanders doing meaningful and inspiring things in their communities. sarah.keaveny-vos@cbc.ca

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