IU grad, Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison to sing ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ at Indy 500

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 09: Jim Cornelison performs at CBS RADIO’s second annual Stars and Strings concert at The Chicago Theatre on November 9, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The mantle of “Back Home Again in Indiana” will pass to another singer for this year’s Indy 500.

Jim Cornelison will perform the song during pre-race festivities for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Cornelison is a 1992 graduate of the Master of Music program at Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music. He’s known for his powerful, stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Chicago Blackhawks games. He’s performed the national anthem at the United Center since the 2008-2009 season and has won national acclaim.

Cornelison will succeed “The Voice” winner Josh Kaufman, who performed the traditional pre-race song during the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. A capella group Straight No Chaser sang it in 2015.

Of course, actor Jim Nabors became a beloved figure in Indiana by performing “Back Home Again in Indiana” before more than 30 races between 1972 and 2014. Nabors announced his retirement in 2014.

Cornelison, a native of Washington state, is no stranger to sports fans. In addition to his duties for the Blackhawks, he’s performed in front of audiences at the 2012 Ryder Cup golf competition, Arlington Million horse race, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” and two USA Rugby matches.

“Jim Cornelison’s powerful tenor voice is one that most sports fans know and have heard in the United Center and on TV sets across the country,” said IMS President Doug Boles. “We are thrilled to welcome him to IMS to perform the song that means so much to every Indianapolis 500 fan – whether they are from Indiana or otherwise – and we would like to thank the Blackhawks’ organization for working with us to allow Jim to be here for this most important pre-race tradition.”

Cornelison has performed 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 and France, among others.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to Indianapolis for the ‘500,’” Cornelison said. “What a blast! And to be asked to sing ‘Back Home Again In Indiana’ is a special treat and honor. Thanks to the team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for thinking of me. I can’t wait for Race Day!”

The 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 28. Learn more about the race schedule at Indy500.com.