INDIANAPOLIS – Fan favorite Jim Cornelison will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2019, singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the 103rd Indianapolis 500 and performing at other events as part of the official countdown to the The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
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 pre-race performances are becoming a Month of May highlight for everyone.”
Cornelison is known to sports fans everywhere as the powerful voice behind “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Chicago Blackhawks’ home games. He also 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 pre-race ceremonies between 1972-2014.
“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.
The popularity of Cornelison’s performances has led to him singing in front of national audiences at many other sporting events, including a 2012 Ryder Cup golf match, Arlington Million horse race, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, ESPN’s “College GameDay” before an Indiana-Ohio State game in August 2017, ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” and two USA Rugby matches, the first vs. New Zealand All Blacks and the second vs. Australia at Soldier Field. He’s also made television performances on “TODAY,” “The Colbert Report” and “Harry Connick Jr. Show.”
Cornelison’s widespread appreciation and popularity in Chicago is also evident on his resume. He has performed before games for every major Chicago professional sports team, including the Chicago Bears’ home opener since 2010.
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.
He has performed nationally and internationally with some of the biggest names in opera, including Placido Domingo and Zubin Mehta, and with opera companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, France and many other locations.
Washington state native Cornelison has a strong commitment to the U.S. Armed Forces and to charitable organizations. He serves on the advisory board of the Illinois Patriot Education Fund, is the honorary squadron commander of the USAF Band of Mid-America and an honorary member of YPO-Gold. He regularly participates with charitable organizations such as Dreams for Kids, the USO and veterans’ support groups.