Portsmouth band join the battle to be top of the festive charts

FINE TUNE Members of the Portsmouth Salvation Army Band
FINE TUNE Members of the Portsmouth Salvation Army Band
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Watch out Simon Cowell – the Portsmouth Salvation Army Band are coming for you.

One of the oldest and most well-known corps bands in The Salvation Army, the 37-member group has teamed up with singer Aled Jones, New Zealand musician Hayley Westenra and Sir Terry Wogan, amongst others, to record this year’s Christmas charity single for Children In Need.

The song, titled Christmas Dream, will help raise money to support disadvantaged children and young people in the UK, with all profits going to the BBC fundraiser Children in Need.

It may have to shift a few copies to get the better of the winner of The X Factor – music mogul Cowell’s singing competition on ITV which has dominated the festive number-one spot in recent years.

But Portsmouth bandmaster John Hanchett is happy his musicians have been able to use their skills for a good cause.

He said: ‘It’s been a wonderful opportunity to be making music together and to be able to support the excellent causes of Children in Need.

‘As a church and charity, we look to support people in need and this has been a lovely way for us to use our musical abilities to help others.

This is the third time Jones and Sir Terry have collaborated on a Christmas hit and their last offering, a 2008 version of Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s classic Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth, peaked at number three in the charts.

Broadcasting great Sir Terry was also full of praise for the Portsmouth Salvation Army Band.

He said: ‘The Salvation Army are wonderful – it’s been great to work with the band as they’re very talented musicians and an inspiration.

‘They do a lot of great work at Christmas time and all year round so it’s great to have them on our Christmas single.’

Hayley added: ‘It’s been fun and I am really excited to be a part of this track. It is a great team and The Salvation Army are brilliant musicians and, as a charity, do amazing work.

‘It’s been really exciting to hear everything come together to create fantastic music and raise money for Children in Need.’

The single will be available for download from iTunes on December 15. You can pre-order for download now for 99p on iTunes or pre-order the CD Christmas single for £5 online.