NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Christina Aguilera, Michael Buble, Dave Matthews and Train are among the acts helping Special Olympics celebrate the 25th anniversary of its "A Very Special Christmas" album series.
Two albums will be released Oct. 16 to celebrate the partnership, which has raised more than $100 million for Special Olympics. "A Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary" will be released on Big Machine Records and Word Records will issue "A Very Special Christmas: Bringing Peace on Earth."
Train lead singer Pat Monahan attended a press conference at Blackbird Studios in Nashville Monday to announce the albums, along with Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Tim Shriver, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Christian artist Francesca Battistelli. Several Special Olympics athletes were on hand, as well.
Monahan called it an honor to be a part of the series and said the members of Train have been purchasing the albums individually for a long time.
"This has been the Christmas album that we all look at each year and go, `How come we're not on it?' Now we get to say that we're on it," he said in an interview.
The members of Train immediately headed downstairs into a studio to record a holiday classic for the album.
"Trying to do `Joy to the World' in a way that hasn't been heard before is probably the most difficult task that we've got this year," Monahan said. "But we're going to do our best, and maybe mash it together with a Train song and make it a little fun for everybody."
Shriver said the albums have become the largest single source of funding for the Special Olympics and its athletes.
"This 25th anniversary will be the biggest year in the history of this series," he said. "This is music that continues to sell. People buy it. They enjoy it. They think it's just great Christmas music, but it's more than that. It's changing the world."
Other artists involved in the project include Jason Mraz, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Cheap Trick, Natalie Grant, Sidewalk Prophets and Jamie Grace.
Caitlin R. King covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her at: http://www.twitter.com/CaitlinRKing
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