John Legend to sing in community concert

The homegrown star will be a guest performer during Vaughn Anthony’s Holiday Bash from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Springfield High School cafetorium.

Anthony — Legend’s brother and an R&B singer as well — admittedly isn’t sure how long his Grammy-winning brother will perform. But the concert, set to feature more than a dozen local acts, evokes the memory of the brothers’ Christmas Eve 2007 concert at their alma mater, North High, that sold out in an hour.

“The last time,” Anthony said, “there was so much energy. There was so much love.”

Priced at $20 each, more tickets will be available this time — 2,200 in all — and they go on sale today at three locations: The Springfield High office from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., center court at the Upper Valley Mall from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the Springfield Family YMCA from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

“They’re about to go like hot cakes,” he said.

Proceeds will benefit the local YMCA’s goal to replace the roof above its youth department to the tune of $40,000. The money also will go to creating football and basketball camps for the city’s youth, Anthony said.

“It will certainly help us a lot,” said Vince Chase, executive director of the YMCA. “Their family has been active here over the years, and that played a part in it.”

Anthony felt compelled to organize the concert in the wake of a 2011 Gallup poll that ranked Springfield the unhappiest city in the U.S.

Despite being eight months old at the time, the poll created even more buzz this past January when it resurfaced via social media.

“It got me hard. I couldn’t believe it. But, at the same time, I see what they’re talking about,” Anthony said. “I felt led to do something about it. We need to get together as a community and build it up. Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Legend hasn’t performed in his hometown since 2008, when he performed six songs alone at the piano as part of a rally in Veterans Park for then-candidate Barack Obama.

Already the winner of nine Grammys, the former John Stephens was nominated last week for yet another — his song “Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” featuring Ludacris, is up for best rap/sung collaboration.

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