Columbus in the spotlight as convention brings thousands to town, John Legend performs

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Thousands are in Columbus for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) convention, and were treated to special performances Monday night, including by John Legend (WSYX/WTTE)

Columbus has been in the spotlight as thousands came to town for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) convention.

The crowd packed Nationwide Arena for a fundraiser and performance for ASAE convention-goers Monday, featuring Ohio-native John Legend. It was also a chance for local groups to perform with the Grammy winner, like the Harmony Project, made up of a variety of singers. "Events like this allow us to all come together across all of those barriers and just truly represent the us of Columbus," said Creative Director David Brown.

It's a moment for Columbus to shine, said group soloist Stephanie Reis. "Harmony Project is really all about community and if that is not a bigger message that we all want to continue spreading, I don't know what is, so I think we are perfect for the part if you will," she said.

The Experience Columbus team said the outcome of the convention could have big financial impact on the city. "It is truly a defining moment for Columbus, particularly in the meetings and conventions business," said President and CEO Brian Ross. "This particular group ASAE is bringing over 6,000 people here and will bring $16 million into the community. But, in the future, it will represent over $500 million in economic impact."

When asked what they think of the city, conference-goers have a lot of compliments.

"It was never on my list of places to go or see, but I could not be more blown away honestly," said Heather Pownall.

"I love Columbus," said Nabil El-Ghoroury. "I've been here before so I love the street art in the Short North."

"I used to come here as a teenager so it is nice to see it revitalized," said Marcia Howard.

The conference isn't over - there's a performance by Brad Paisley Tuesday at Express Live! The Experience Columbus team said they are working on firming up deals for future events.