Native opera singer to perform ‘God Bless America’ at 2017 Indy 500

Opera singer Angela Brown, left, and actor Mia Farrow pose for photographers May 10, 2011, at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Opera singer and Indianapolis native Angela Brown will sing “God Bless America” before the start of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

“Excited doesn’t begin to describe how I feel” about singing the song before the 101st running of the race, Brown said in a news release issued Monday by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Ever since I was a young girl, growing up in Indianapolis, I have dreamed of being a part of this time-honored tradition. I am proud to be able to salute the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country. This is truly a dream come true!”

The soprano made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of “Aida” in 2004. Brown is featured in “Nineteen Stars of Indiana,” a book by Michael S. Maurer about 19 living Hoosier women with successful and inspirational life stories, released by Indiana University Press in December 2008. Also, she was a featured artist on the recording “Ask Your Mama,” which won Grammy awards in 2016 for its producer and engineering. She has appeared with Indianapolis Symphony for its “Yuletide Celebration” pops extravaganza and sang the national anthem before Indianapolis Colts or Indiana Pacers games, the release said.

“Angela is a tremendous talent and will sing a fantastic rendition of ‘God Bless America’ for our fans,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said in the release. “As a Hoosier, she knows just how much the Indy 500 means to all of us, and this performance will be extra special for her.”

In 2016, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir sang “God Bless America.” Before that group, actress Florence Henderson performed the prerace song from 2003 to 2012, and again in 2014 and 2015. Henderson died Nov. 24.

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