Getty Images

Blackhawks singer Cornelison tapped for ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’

2 Comments

One of the most iconic performers in all the NHL is Chicago Blackhawks singer Jim Cornelison, whose national anthems before games have become legendary.

Cornelison will now head from the ice to the track for one of racing’s most legendary events, the Indianapolis 500. He’ll sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” ahead of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, carrying on the tradition established by Jim Nabors through 2014. A capella group Straight No Chaser took the baton in 2015, before Josh Kaufman sang it last year.

The release from IMS is below:

Jim Cornelison, renowned for his stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Chicago Blackhawks’ home games, will sing “Back Home Again In Indiana” before the start of the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cornelison, a 1992 graduate of the Master of Music program at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, has been the popular, exclusive 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 Blackhawks’ organization.

“Jim Cornelison’s powerful tenor voice is one that most sports fans know and have heard in in the United Center and on TV sets across the country,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “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.”

The popularity of his powerful, respectful performances has led to Cornelison singing in front of national audiences at many other sporting events, including 2012 Ryder Cup golf match, Arlington Million horse race, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, 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.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to Indianapolis for the ‘500,’” said Cornelison. “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!”

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 the World President’s Organization. He regularly participates with charitable organizations such as Dreams for Kids, the USO and veterans’ support groups.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”