The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced this week that Jim Cornelison will return in May to sing "(Back Home Again In) Indiana" before the 102nd Indianapolis 500.
Sports fans know Cornelison as the exclusive voice behind "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Chicago Blackhawks' hockey games. And in 2015, NPR said he is "widely considered the gold standard in anthem singing."
His performance of "(Back Home Again In) Indiana" before last year's race drew immediate praise from fans on social media and calls to make him a permanent fixture in the traditional pre-race pageantry.
"Jim perfectly captured the powerful emotion behind one of race day's most iconic moments, and barely a day has gone by without a fan asking us to bring him back for next year's race," IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. "We're happy he's returning to IMS and we're grateful to our friends with the Blackhawks' organization for working with us to make this happen."
While he's closely associated with Chicago ‒ and spent his childhood in Washington state ‒ Cornelison does have ties to Indiana. He earned a Master in Opera Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 1992.
Cornelison will be 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.