‘We were sworn to secrecy’ – How a Donegal school made Ed Sheeran’s new music video

The competition had received 4,000 entries from over 75 counties.
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

11.13 29 Nov 2023

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‘We were sworn to secrecy’ – H...

‘We were sworn to secrecy’ – How a Donegal school made Ed Sheeran’s new music video

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

11.13 29 Nov 2023

Share this article

Students in a Donegal school have won a global competition to create the music video for a new Ed Sheeran song.

The competition received 4,000 entries from over 75 counties.

Transition Year students from Finn Valley College were among 14 schools chosen worldwide to contribute to Sheeran’s new album, Autumn Variations.


Teacher Tina Garry joined Newstalk Breakfast this morning to explain how it started.

She said a colleague had seen an online appeal from Ed Sheeran advertising the competition.

“We jumped at the chance and sent them an email, but didn’t expect to hear anything back from it,” Ms Garry said.

“My colleague then began receiving correspondence from Warner Bros [Sheeran’s record label] looking for more information.

“With our TY class having a bit of flexibility in their programme we thought it was an ideal project for them.”

Ed Sheeran poses as he arrives for the Brit Awards at the O2 Arena in London, Britain, February 8, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Tom Nicholson

Ms Garry and her class then began the planning process.

“We set about planning shots and devising a concept, coming up with a Romeo and Juliet idea, and we sent them a pitch,” she said.

“Again, we thought nothing of it, but they [Warner Bros] kept coming back to us looking for more details.

“They were wondering how we could cast the film and what props we would use.

“We were given the name of the song [called Magical] in advance so we were trying to fit something to this ballad narrative.”

The Finn Valley School was then put in touch with a production company, The People We Meet, who provided a film crew.

Everyone behind the operation was sworn to secrecy.

“The kids didn’t even know what the video was for at this point, we were sworn to secrecy,” said Ms Garry.

“We had to give hints to a few mothers in order to get parental permission and they were only too delighted to keep it a secret.

“They knew their teenager didn’t have a hope of sleeping for a week if they knew, and we wanted to get a natural performance.”

Ed Sheeran video competition A student from Finn Valley School in Donegal pictured working on the music video for Ed Sheeran's song 'Magical'.

The TY teacher said there was shock among students when they eventually found out.

“It was not what I had expected. There was silence across the room and jaws dropped,” said Ms Garry.

“They kept looking around saying ‘this is a joke’ but then one person screamed and the tears started.”

The Donegal school’s music video for the song titled Magical was posted on Ed Sheeran’s official YouTube channel yesterday.

The UK star also sent a message to the transition year students thanking them for their work.

Listen back now:

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