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When the National Anthem is sung in Chicago, at Blackhawks hockey games, it’s like no other national anthem experience at any other sporting event.

Jim Cornelison Courtesy Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Club
Jim Cornelison Courtesy Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Club

Sunnyside native Jim Cornelison knows that better than anyone else as the former opera singer has sung the national anthem before just about every home game in Chicago’s United Center aka the Madhouse on Madison since 2008.

You see, and hear, the crowd erupts at the very first note of the anthem and the screaming of their fool heads off doesn’t cease until its all over. Every time.

Jim says, “I don’t think there is anything that can really prepare you for that. The crowd is incredibly loud. They cheer from beginning to end and there are times when you cannot hear yourself.”

Cornelison was born in Enumclaw and moved to Sunnyside at age 11. He worked the cows and tended to a couple of acres and would cut asparagus most years until 17. He started singing when he began attending Yakima Valley Community College.

Cornelison’s parents are both World War II vets, so his singing each time is special to him for his folks and the wounded veterans. Cornelison said one of the first emails he ever got from a dad, was one thanking him for making the man feel like the crowd was cheering every time he was in arena for his son, who is in the Navy.

NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

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