INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Thursday that Josh Kaufman will sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" before the start of this year's Indianapolis 500, accompanied by the Indianapolis Children's Choir.
The song is an Indianapolis 500 tradition that was led by fan favorite Jim Nabors 35 times before he retired after the 2014 race. Last year, Hoosier a cappella group Straight No Chaser performed.
Kaufman, who grew up in Indiana, was the winner of the sixth seaon of NBC's "The Voice." Since then he's headlined the Indy Jazz Fest, and made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning "Pippin," in which he played the lead and title role. Now, he's gearing up to release his new album this spring
The Indianapolis Children's Choir is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and is embarking on an artistic transition as founder and artistic director Henry Leck retires and passes the baton to Assistant Artistic Director Joshua Pedde.
About the Tradition
"(Back Home Again in) Indiana" -- originally just called "Indiana" -- was written in 1917 by lyricist Ballard MacDonald and composer James Hanley, incorporating many lyrics and musical themes from the 1897-written "On the Banks of the Wabash," the state's official song.
According to IMS historian Donald Davidson, the song may have been heard at the race as early as 1919 (played by a trackside brass band) and was first sung in 1946, about an hour before the green flag by New York Metropolitan Opera performer James Melton. Around 1949 it was moved to closer to the start of the race, where it remains today.
- Fan favorite Jim Nabors retired after the 2014 race, having performed the song live 35 times starting in 1972.