A ­legendary evening

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“Come on and go with me, there’s something new for you to see, just relax, just relax.”—Lyrics by J. Stephens performed by John Legend.

On March 18 at the newly refurbished Kaufmann Center there was definitely something new to see. About 400 very special guests enjoyed a very special concert in a beautiful intimate space.

Legendary
A LEGENDARY PERFORMANCE (Photo by J.L. Martello)

This is no longer your grandmother’s Kaufmann Center. Albert Heiles Jr., (chairman, board of directors Hill House Association) says the new Kaufmann Center; complete with refurbished balcony seats, beautiful hardwood floors and sidelong windows; represents a new chapter for the Hill District, a chapter of hope and promise, hard work and new gains.

Hill House President and CEO Victor Roque introduced the evening’s special guest John Legend and thanked him for finding a way to fit the Hill District into his worldwide tour. Roque told the audience that Legend would first have a conversation with the audience.

The audience then met John Legend the activist, John Legend the teacher and John Legend the philanthropist. Looking very much like a teacher in a white shirt, skinny black tie and tweed sport coat, Legend spoke of children in Africa without clean water and children in America starving for attention and education.

In 2007, Legend began the Show Me campaign which raises funds for disadvantaged African Villages. He also volunteers with the Harlem Village Academies, a system of schools that sets a higher standard for public education in our nation.

After about 20 minutes of explaining his mission Legend went from the podium to the piano and the audience met John Legend the recording artist and concert performer. The inaugural concert at the Kaufmann Center will be one to remember with Kiya and Mike Tomlin as hosts, impeccable food catered by the soon to open Savoy Restaurant and the outstanding planning committee of Tiffanie Williams (event chair), Terri Baltimore, Orlana Darkins, Betsy Fitzpatrick, Margaret Manges and Gail Wrobleski.

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