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10 Ideas on how to replace Jim Nabors at Indy 500

Indianapolis Star

Our top 10 replacements to sing "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" at the the Indianapolis 500 beginning in 2015.

Jim Nabors is breaking a tradition or nudging Hoosiers to start a new one. The celebrity best known for his role as Gomer Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show" confirmed March 25 that he will perform "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" for the final time on May 25 before the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500.

by TJ Banes

So now that Hoosiers have had some time to mull over this news, it's time to move forward and consider the options. Who should replace the singer who was thrust into the limelight just 20 minutes before the waving of the green flag at 1972 Indy car race? Nabors has performed over the public address system nearly every year since. Those are some big shoes to fill.


1. Indianapolis Children's Choir: Founded in 1986 by artistic director Henry Leck, these young voices come from more than 362 Central Indiana schools, including 44 parochial schools, 12 private schools and 10 charter schools. Forty-five choir members performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" with Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson at Super Bowl XLVI.

2. John Mellencamp: Not only does this Hoosier live in Indiana (just outside of Bloomington), he sings about growing up in a small town. Mellencamp's music has won him a Billboard Century Award and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

3. Angela Brown: A graduate of Indiana University School of Music, Brown was awarded the school's African American Arts Institute's inaugural Herman C. Hudson Alumni Award and is featured in "Nineteen Stars of Indiana," a book by Michael S. Maurer. Her powerful soprano voice spans both opera and African American spirituals and she travels the world performing.

4. Joshua Bell: He's performed to sold-out audiences around the world but his musical roots are planted in his hometown of Bloomington. Bell received his first violin at the age of four after his parents noticed him plucking tunes with rubber bands he had stretched around his dresser drawer handles. By 14 he gained national attention in a debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

5. Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds: This Indianapolis native is a 10-time Grammy Award winner and recently released a duets album with Toni Braxton titled "Love, Marriage & Divorce" on Motown Records. But more importantly, you can see the Speedway's Pagoda from a stretch of I-65 that bears his name.

6. Lily & Madeleine: A video of the Indianapolis teens performing their first original song "In the Middle" hit 250,000 views on YouTube. What followed was an explosion of interest in the Jurkiewicz sisters. Madeleine, 19, dropped out of her college course but intends to return next year. Lily, 17, formerly a junior at North Central High School, is completing this year's high school semester with online classes. The sisters appeared on the Oct. 5 episode of "CBS This Morning" performing "Come to Me" and "Devil We Know" and have recorded under the Asthmatic Kitty label.

7. Josh Kaufman: Before the Indianapolis singer Josh Kaufman became a sensation on NBC's "The Voice" he was performing in the city's life-music bars. His trio, the New Etiquette, had a standing gig at the Chatterbox. Now he's hanging with the likes of Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.

8. Jennie DeVoe: With the release of "Strange Sunshine," DeVoe remains a local blues favorite. But here's the rest of the story — her music is heard throughout the country and she's performed with such greats as Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, Lucinda Williams, Jack Johnson and Ray Charles.

9. Straight No Chaser: This popular a cappella group formed while members were attending Indiana University in 1996. A 1998 performance of them singing "The 12 Days of Christmas" has been viewed more than 16 million times. A five-album record deal with Atlantic Records followed and now the group (more than 50 men have passed through its ranks) perform worldwide.

10. Marrialle Sellars: "You are going to be a nightmare for other competitors," "American Idol" celebrity judge Harry Connick Jr. said after Sellars sang Adele's "One and Only" and Bruno Mars' "Grenade," on a premiere episode of "Idol's" 13th season. Sellers, 18, advanced to the Top 30.

5 Questions:

Doug Boles keeps it in gear at

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Star

by Amy Lynch

Excitement is building for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May and IMS' president is at the forefront of planning.

Job title: Indianapolis Motor Speedway president.

Education: B.A. in Journalism from Butler University; J.D. from Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis.

Prior employment: Chief operating officer and co-owner of Panther Racing LLC, director of governmental and corporate affairs for the mayor of Indianapolis.

Family: Wife, Beth; son, Carter; stepsons, Conor, Colin and Christian Daly.

Favorite pastimes: Cycling, wakeboarding, snowboarding, Indianapolis 500 history.

Favorite musical artists: Jennie DeVoe, Gin Blossoms, Bryan Adams, musicals and my wife’s side of the family singing barbershop.”

Favorite quote: “I think of Indianapolis every day of the year, every hour of the day, and in my sleep, too.” – Eddie Sachs

“(This is) an iconic moment in global sports, and we’re preparing to make sure our entire community and region help celebrate what will certainly be an event for the ages,” Boles said. “The most magical time of each year for me, and many thousands of Indianapolis 500 fans, is the 30 minutes leading up to the green flag of the 500. I want to be sure we make those pre-race moments the best we can.”

Boles started working for IMS in 2010 as the director of communication, later assuming the role of vice president of communication for Hulman & Co. and IMS. In January 2013, he was appointed chief operating officer at IMS and became president in July of that year. Prior to joining IMS, Boles was co-owner and COO of Panther Racing. Before that, he served as director of governmental and corporate affairs for Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith.

“As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been enamored by the Indianapolis 500,” Boles said. “My dad had a passion for the race and the track that he passed along to me. As a team owner, I was able to have cars compete at IMS, but I never dreamed I could work at IMS, certainly not in the capacity I am now.”

Boles hopes to oversee continued attendance growth for the 500 and other IMS events, create additional opportunities for fans to interact with the facility and brand, and position IMS for 100 more years of racing.

Question: What do the IMS Project 100 facility upgrades entail?

Answer: “It started before the 2014 Indianapolis 500 with upgrades and modifications to the IMS road course that now hosts the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and later in 2014, the addition of the new pylon on the main straight. In 2015, IMS added 20 state-of-the-art video boards that provide HD-quality coverage of track activities. In 2016, fans will notice a new roofline on top of the penthouse seats. The penthouse will also receive stadium seats, three new rows of seating and elevators allowing disabled access to these upper deck seats for the first time in IMS history. Gate 1 will provide a more dramatic and efficient entrance to the track. New concession stands and upgraded restrooms will also be in various places around the track. In addition, a new club seating option is available for fans in the old Hulman Suites outside the front stretch.”

Q: Do you have a personal business philosophy?

A: “Surround myself with people far smarter than I am, set a direction and let those people guide and help define the course. Ensure they know and see that I’m always willing to do everything it takes to help them and the entire team succeed, no matter how small or large the task. I believe it’s important that those who work with me know that I’m just another member of the team — my job is to work alongside them, to provide advice, support and direction to get their jobs accomplished. And finally, to celebrate them when they win!”

Q: What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned in your career?

A: “My parents were right — be yourself, don’t follow the crowd and don’t take the easy way out. Hard work and servant leadership is a road worth following.”

Q: What is the best part of your job?

A: “My office is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! And, the fan in me gets to Tweet photos of things I experience that I know other fans would want to see. I’ve been blessed with this job and it’s my obligation to share it with our fans.”

Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing so far?

A: “Being accessible to our fan base. I love making myself available to listen to opinions and experiences, so the entire IMS staff can make each fan’s visit to the track a special memory.”

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