For the many musicians who make their way in and out of South Jersey’s Gradwell House Recording over the course of the year, Christmas is a special time. For the past 13 years, the indie and emo-centric studio has released Arbor Christmas comp, a free downloadable of Christmas songs from a variety of bands, ranging from those who just got together to record Christmas music – that’s how Ages got its start – to popular names in the DIY circuit – Young Statues, Into It. Over It., Aspiga and more. This year’s compilation was released to Bandcamp today as a free download – you can listen to it below, and get yourself a copy here. Tonight, the crew celebrates its release in the 13th Annual Arbor Christmas Concert and Pageant, which was conceived in the late 90s by the crew’s scene buddy Jonathan Montague as a unique way for DIY punk kids to celebrate the holidays. From the website:

He wanted to throw a Christmas show, but do something different. He was thinking of the old Christmas TV specials that had the celebrity host “at home” and all of their celebrity friends would stop by and hang out and maybe perform a song. That was the basic story of the first year. It was supposed to be in Jon’s new apartment and all his friends dropped by to bring gifts and perform some songs.

Jon and I wrote the script for the first two shows together. There almost wasn’t a show the second year because Jon had been in the hospital, but he insisted on doing it when he got out. It was that following January that he had passed away. After that, I had made promises to everyone that we would continue doing shows in memory of Jon.

Proceeds from the show typically benefit the local Jonathan Montague Scholarship and the Arbor Foundation. More information on tonight’s show at the Facebook event page; listen to Volume 13 below (and download volumes 1 through 12 here).