The Oxford Alternotives’ Christmas release: a mingling of warmth and humour

Natalia Bus finds the Oxford Alternotives' Christmas cover both playful and heartfelt


The Oxford Alternotives, Oxford’s longest established mixed a capella group, warmed the hearts of many an a capella fan last week with their cover of The Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’ released alongside their festive ‘Love Altually’ video. The video features a collection of favourite scenes from the undeniable Christmas classic and marks the group’s first charity release, with all proceeds going to UNHCR’s Christmas Syrian Appeal.

The group’s choice of song, despite featuring poignantly in the film itself, is perhaps not an obviously Christmassy one. However, it ties in perfectly with the message of unity and care for your loved ones, sentiments which play a vital part in every home this time of year. The vocal arrangement throughout the cover bolsters this, with each line of the track being sung by a different solitary voice, all coming together for the chorus in soothing, yet powerful harmonies.

Alice Robinson, a veteran member of the Alternotives told Cherwell that the video took around two weeks to film and that “a particular highlight was waking up bright and early to get to Port Meadow by 8am and film the ‘Aurelia’ scenes. We forced Imogen [Mechie] to jump into the river in nothing but underwear in minus temperatures. Sadly, those scenes didn’t make the final cut, much to her annoyance.”

The video, however, is much more than just a piece of wonderfully light-hearted fun. The group is hoping that their effort will raise awareness for UNHCR’s ‘Nobody Left Outside’ campaign. The ultimate goal of the organisation is to raise enough money to help shelter the two million people forced to flee their homes as a result of the ongoing Syria crisis. UNHCR are a highly effective United Nations organisation established in 1949 as a vehicle to protect and support refugees from all corners of the world.

Stressing the message of love and inclusion behind the Christmas cover, Rosie Richards, currently one of the co-presidents of The Alternotives told Cherwell, “We had so much fun filming the video and it brought us a hell of a lot closer as a group and we are lucky enough to be in a position where we could mess around and have fun with it. But we also wanted to ensure that it wasn’t just a good experience for us but could make a difference for those who aren’t as lucky. In the words of Hugh Grant, we wanted to show that ‘love actually is all around’.”

Watch the video here.


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