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CSU alumna Leihoku to perform at 2014 Jingle Jam

This year’s Jingle Jam, presented by 99.9 The Point Thursday at the Budweiser Events Center, features headlining acts such as Gavin DeGraw, Echosmith, Jacquie Lee of “The Voice” fame, Lindsey Stirling and CSU theatre alumna Leihoku.

According to Jared Goldberg, the radio station’s brand manager whose department is responsible for the lineup and the event as a whole, this is his first time putting together a concert of this size, as he usually works with one major headliner at a time and a few regional supporting acts.

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“Radio’s changed a lot over the last couple of years because of something we call ‘consolidation,’” Goldberg said. “Radio stations are engaged with their local communities less and less, and I try with my career to continue to be engaged at the local audience level.”

Goldberg, who took the station over a few months ago, said radio these days typically promotes shows in other cities, with listeners competing nationally for the same tickets, but Jingle Jam delivers the big concert experience to Northern Colorado.

“Northern Colorado is a great music community and people here will appreciate Jingle Jam,” Goldberg said. “The best part is that it’s an intimate show, even with its full band. It doesn’t have nosebleed sections like the Pepsi Center, and these are engaging artists.”

With the confidence and support of 99.9 The Point, projects of this caliber will become a continual tradition, Goldberg said. According to Goldberg, Leihoku, the local connection, is an exciting addition to the lineup, and he describes her as an up-and-coming national act.

“She’s incredibly sweet and she’s incredibly talented,” Goldberg said. “We’re very excited for her to perform this set in front of her friends and her family.”

According to Leihoku herself, a native of Hawaii who credits her Hawaiian musician grandfather with the island vibes she brings to her pop, her music is inspired by the likes of Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillat, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt.

“I’ve been singing for a really long time and I’ve always enjoyed it,” Leihoku said. “I can remember hearing a little girl singing the words to my song, ‘Always,’ at the Coca-Cola Center in Utah. I want to inspire people.”

Leihoku said of her history with CSU that she originally wanted to go to CU, but after visiting both campuses, she decided on Fort Collins because her grandparents own Pedersen Toyota here and she loved the community.

As for her return to the area, having spent the past three years in Los Angeles pursuing her career, Jingle Jam ticketholders ought to expect six songs from her extended play, one or two covers as well as a Christmas tune, according to Leihoku.

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“This will be my first official arena show with a full band,” she said. “99.9 The Point played my song before they even knew I was a CSU alumna, and because they believed in me, they had me play an acoustic set and invited me to the show. I’ve been looking forward to it for months.”

According to Joe Tiner, a CSU journalism junior, 2014 shall be his first ever Jingle Jam, he did not know much about the show when he first heard of it, but looking at the lineup made him decide to buy his ticket.

“I expect to hear a lot of great music, and to see these performers at their best,” Tiner said. “I love going to concerts. I love feeling the atmosphere and energy at them, so I’m just really excited.”

Ticket prices vary from $19.99 to $99.99, but tune in to 99.9 The Point for free giveaway opportunities, or else order them over the phone at 877-544-TIXX (8499) or online at comcasttix.com. The holidays are all about extravagance — celebrate yours with Jingle Jam.

Collegian A&E Writer Hunter Goddard can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @hunter_gaga.

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