THE lights are up, the television adverts are on – and now the soundtrack to Christmas is on its way.
Wearside bands and artists are lending their support to a CD compilation of original tracks they have written and performed as they support Operation Christmas Child, which helps give underprivileged children a happier festive time.
Fourteen groups, including several who appeared at this summer’s Split Festival in Sunderland, are contributing to the album.
The Christmas Project is being put together by Paul Barber, a member of Hollywood and Vines, who has also recorded a song for the CD.
He said: “Christmas seems to bring out the best in people.
“Raising money for those less fortunate than ourselves is a great way to give something back.”
The Lake Poets’ Martin Longstaff, from East Herrington, is working on his song 1996 with bandmates David Ellwood and Morris Ford.
The 22-year-old, who is on a placement at Barnes School as part of his teacher-training course, said: “The song is about how the true message of Christmas has got lost and how, when you get older, you realise it’s about your friends and family.
“We have done charity before and it’s great to do something for Operation Christmas Child to give somebody less fortunate a good Christmas.”
Other Sunderland bands taking part are The Railway Club, Gallery Circus and Paul Liddell.
South Shields artists Maps are Fiction, who practise at The Bunker in Sunderland, The Union Choir, who are working with Natasha Hawse, and Jen Stevens and the Hiccups are taking part.
Bird Island, Hungry Ghosts, Silver Trembling Hands and Shift-Static are also part of the line-up.
The CD has also been supported by the Bunker, Manifesto magazine and Room3recording, which are all based in Sunderland.
Paul is also searching for more sponsors for the CD to cover the £250 cost of production, with businesses being asked to donate between £50 to £100.
In return, they will get their logo on packaging and posters and will enable all the cash raised to be donated to the charity.
The album is being sponsored by comedy review website Giggle Beats, which is run by Andrew Dipper from the city.
The CD is being launched at Independent, in Holmeside, on Thursday, December 8.
Entry in to the event is £5, which will include a copy of the album, a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine.
Doors open at 8pm.
The music will also be available to download via bandcamp,com and Paul hopes independent record shops in the region will also stock it.
More information can be found at www.christmasproject.co.uk and www.facebook.com/thechristmasproject