The Singing Surgeons and Jim Cornelison will highlight pre-race festivities for the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, Aug. 23, performing live at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the countdown to the green flag.
Dr. Elvis Francois and Dr. William Robinson, who went viral in March with their Instagram rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Cornelison, a powerful tenor and an IMS fan favorite, returns for his fourth consecutive performance of “Back Home Again in Indiana.”
“In these most unusual times, we are proud to produce a live race day show that will translate the tension, emotion and pageantry of race day to a global audience,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Elvis and William are two remarkable individuals whose performance will pay tribute to the heroes on the front lines of our nation’s continued fight against COVID-19. Jim has become part of the 500 fabric with his passion for IMS and IndyCar, and I know everyone in Indiana and honorary Hoosiers across the globe will shed tears as he hits the high notes of ‘Back Home Again’ on this unique race day.”
The Singing Surgeons provided a special tribute to fellow front-line health care workers during the “Indy 500 Special: Back Home Again” broadcast on NBC on Sunday, May 24. They performed “God Bless America” on the historic Yard of Bricks.
As residents at the Mayo Clinic, Francois and Robinson performed for patients for several years, delivering emotional support alongside medical treatment to those in need. Following their viral debut, the pair recorded a special EP, “Music is Medicine,” with proceeds going to the Center of Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund. While both doctors have recently completed their Mayo Clinic residency, the two good friends have stayed in close touch and are eager to reunite at the Racing Capital of the World.
“We’re honored and humbled to perform the national anthem at ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” Francois and Robinson said. “IMS is a fantastic venue that fills us with awe every time we visit. While we’re all sad fans won’t be at this year’s race, our performance will carry a message of hope and optimism as we pay tribute to the heroes fighting COVID-19 each and every day.”
Cornelison is known to sports fans as the powerful voice behind “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Chicago Blackhawks’ home games. He first wowed 500 fans and viewers in 2017, generating widespread praise on social media. He is the first “Back Home Again in Indiana” singer in consecutive years since the legendary Jim Nabors appeared for the 36thand final time in 2014.
“It is such an honor and privilege to return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the Indianapolis 500 is a tradition known around the world,” Cornelison said. “Each year I am humbled by the response from the IndyCar fans, and I know this year’s performance carries extra meaning under such extraordinary circumstances. I’ll miss the roar of the crowd, but I’ll carry the wonderful fans of IMS with me as I sing. This performance is for them.”