Jim Cornelison is the national anthem singer for the Chicago Blackhawks. Jim sang his first national anthems for the team from 1996–2001 and then again from 2006–2008 as part of a group of singers selected to participate in this tradition. Following shortly on the heels of Rocky Wirtz becoming Owner/Chairman of the team and John McDonough becoming the President/CEO, Jim was asked to serve as the sole anthem singer for the Blackhawks starting with the 2008–2009 hockey season. This coincided with the start of televising Hawks games on WGN and Comcast and the emergence of the team as a powerhouse in the Western Conference of the National Hockey League.
As the team’s popularity has grown, so too has the popularity of the unique national anthem tradition of the Chicago Blackhawks, resulting in some incredible opportunities for Jim as their anthem singer. On January 1, 2009, Jim was seen and heard nationally and throughout Canada singing at the Winter Classic hockey game at Wrigley Field as well as throughout the playoffs that year as the Blackhawks advanced to the Western Conference finals. In 2010, the bar was raised higher as the Hawks won the Stanley Cup. This was followed by many performance opportunities that garnered tremendous exposure for Jim. This included singing the anthem for the Stanley Cup victory parade, which was attended by more than 2 million people! Performances for the Chicago White Sox, Cubs, Fire and playoff games for the Chicago Bulls and Bears followed in the next year. Jim has now been heard on all the major television networks as well as conducted interviews on nearly all sports radio stations throughout the Blackhawks market area plus a few in places as far removed from Chicago as Melbourne, Australia!
The national anthem tradition of the Chicago Blackhawks is a revered tradition among Chicago sports fans. As it has grown in popularity so too has Jim’s rendition. Due to the support he received from the citizens of Chicago, he was selected to sing the anthem for the Chicago Bears versus Green Bay Packers NFC Conference Championship game in 2011. This would not have been possible without the support of fans and the Bears as the position had already been contracted between FOX and the National Football League to have that year’s American Idol winner perform. Further honor bestowed on Jim because of the great anthem tradition of the Blackhawks came in 2011 when Osama bin Laden was killed and the Chicago Bulls turned to Jim to mark the occasion and help make their next night’s playoff game “special.” Only a few months later on 9-11-11, Jim was asked to sing the Bears opening day game on the 10-year remembrance of the horrible attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. This touching opening ceremony was broadcast by FOX and was “cut to” from football games all around the country.
Jim Cornelison was born in Virginia but moved to Washington State at a young age. There, he grew up outside the small town of Enumclaw until he was 11 and then moved to Sunnyside in the central part of the state. After two years at Yakima Valley Community College, he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance at Seattle Pacific University and in 1988 moved to Bloomington, Indiana where he completed his Master in Opera Performance at Indiana University in 1992. Jim moved to Chicago in 1995 to participate in the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. Upon leaving, he was managed by Columbia Artists and began performing in various locations throughout Europe and the United States. Jim has been seen in the U.S. with the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Baltimore Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, Hawaii Opera, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, St Cloud Symphony Orchestra, Yakima Symphony Orchestra and many others. He has been heard in Europe with the English National Opera, L’Opéra de Bordeaux and The National Opera of Belgium.