Blackhawks Singer Reveals Secret Behind Shattering Beer Glass
LINCOLN SQUARE — Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison has a powerful voice, as hockey fans can attest.
But not as powerful as those who've seen him breaking glass on a popular video might think.
Cornelison, a partner in a recently announced, yet-to-be named restaurant set to replace the former Paddy O'Splaines at 2434 W. Montrose Ave., has been belting out the "Star-Spangled Banner" at Hawks games for the past five years.
He recently took a stab at "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" — with smashing results. Captured on video by Comcast Sportsnet, Cornelison takes the song to new heights, hitting a power note that left a trail of shattered glass in its wake.
Or did it?
"It was planned. We were just having fun," said Cornelison.
While the video's been making the social media rounds, the singer expressed surprise that his admission the stunt was the work of a special effects artist has been less publicized, especially in light of his confession on the radio.
"I had a transmitter in my coat," he told DNAinfo.com Chicago, of the secret behind his performance.
Cornelison, a former professional opera singer, has seen plenty of vocalists shatter glass before, but not to such dramatic effect as his "Ballgame" effort.
"Usually it cracks, it doesn't explode," he said, adding that the substance has to be crystal, not glass, for the feat to work at all.
Though Cornelison has yet to make a true attempt at goblet busting — "You're really pressing the voice" — the skeptical hosts of the television show Mythbusters have proven the deed can be done even without amplification.
That's fair warning for Cornelison's partners in his new restaurant venture.
The buildout includes a music stage, which Cornelison might share with son James, a student in the jazz program at the University of Michigan. The restaurant's planned international theme, with an emphasis on soccer and rugby, will also give the singer plenty of opportunity to tackle anthems in a variety of languages.
"I'll show up if it's a big game between England and Italy. Maybe I'll do the English anthem or Italian or the winner's anthem," said Cornelison, who has even performed anthems in Russian and Korean.
Just to be safe, owners best be prepared with replacement barware — or at least offer patrons plastic cups.