One of the most popular moments in all of sports comes just moments before the command to start engines with the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the start of the Indianapolis 500.

A new tradition is emerging as Jim Cornelison, a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music, will perform his rendition for the third year in a row at the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019.

Cornelison is most famous for his stirring singing of the national anthem before Chicago Blackhawks home hockey games at the United Center.

Cornelison also will perform at the 100 Days Out Party on Friday, Feb. 15 in Indianapolis and will attend other events on the IndyCar and Indy 500 promotional calendar.

"Jim has become a familiar, anticipated voice for Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series fans in just two years, so we're thrilled he's back with us on race day and joining in on the entire countdown to the Indy 500," IMS president J. Douglas Boles said. "Everyone loves Jim and his passion for IMS and IndyCar, and his stirring prerace performances are becoming a Month of May highlight for everyone."

Cornelison has captivated Indianapolis 500 fans and viewers for the last two years, generating widespread praise and social media applause since taking the "Back Home Again in Indiana" mantle in May 2017.

He became the first performer to sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" in consecutive years since the retirement of Jim Nabors in 2014. Nabors sang the tune 36 times during Indy 500 prerace ceremonies between 1972 and 2014.

"Performing at the Indianapolis 500 is one of the ultimate highlights and privileges of my career, as the electricity and magic of race day are incredible," Cornelison said. "I'm so grateful for the warm welcome from Indy 500 and IndyCar Series fans around the world and am excited to sing at even more events."

Cornelison is a 1992 graduate of the Master of Music program at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and has been the popular singer of the national anthem before all Blackhawks' home games at the United Center in Chicago since the 2008-09 season. His soaring vocals and spirited style have welcomed millions of network viewers to the Stanley Cup Finals over multiple championship runs for the team.

Cornelison, a tenor, sang with numerous opera companies before becoming one of six accepted apprentices from more than 800 applicants for the Lyric Opera's Apprenticeship Program in Chicago in 1995.

Source: Autoweek

October 26, 2018