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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The Salvation Army, best known for its charitable works and brass bands, has signed a deal with record label Universal which both sides hope will raise up to a million pounds for the organization.
Salvation Army representatives said the deal comes at a time when the financial crisis means more people will be relying on charitable support as Christmas approaches.
The International Staff Band of the Salvation Army, described as the "creme de la creme" of its famous uniformed brass bands, has recorded the first album in the deal, which hits stores on November 24.
It combines the religious and the secular, but there will be a Christmas flavor with tracks including "In the Bleak Midwinter."
"These are uncertain times and we anticipate increasing numbers of people in need as a result of the current and ongoing economic climate," said Major David Hinton, the Salvation Army's secretary for business administration.
"This is a really exciting project which we hope will not only raise money but will also help to raise awareness of the needs of the people with whom we work," he added in a statement released by Universal, the world's biggest record label.
Universal, home to Amy Winehouse and Eminem, said it was delighted to have signed "the world's ultimate buskers."
The Salvation Army is a Christian charity popularly known for placing its brass bands alongside donation collectors in the busy streets of Britain, Canada, the United States and other countries as people do their Christmas shopping.
It undertakes charitable work in more than 100 countries around the world, such as food distribution in India, health programs in Africa and relief programs for disaster areas in Asia and elsewhere.
Under the terms of the deal, the Salvation Army receives an undisclosed donation from the record company. Over the course of the agreement, it is hoped the group will raise up to one 1 million pounds ($1.74 million).
The album, called "Together," will include "Nessun Dorma," "You Raise Me Up," "Going Home" and "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace."
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato