Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy 33, Sean!

Known variously as Seany, Seanicles, Bean, Mr. McVicker,* Big Boy, and Sean the Bahn from the Coconut Pond, my littlest brother Sean turns a disgustingly old thirty-three today. His birthday marks the end of the merciless, three-month onslaught of birthdays that begins on August 31st with my birthday, continues to September 10th with my goddaughter's birthday, moves on to September 12th with my buddy Dr. Steve's birthday, rolls over to September 14th with my brother David's birthday, and then skips to October 15th for Sean's birthday. Sean is ten years younger than I am, and today we celebrate his having survived three elevens around the sun.

Sean is a professional cellist. This means he belongs to a worldwide fraternity of musicians who all know each other very well. He has had master classes with luminaries like Mstislav Rostropovich, and he knows the scuttlebutt about cellists like Yo Yo Ma. Sean has played in many venues ranging from the Kennedy Center to spots in both Western and Eastern Europe. He founded his own chamber orchestra, CounterPoint, and performs with it. Sean also does gigs around the DC-Metro area and teaches privately. He's busy and in demand; his students have made him proud by winning all sorts of awards.

The love of Sean's life is his chihuahua, Maqz. Maqz is, like many small dogs, both clever and naughty. He'll pretend to obey you, but he's a sneaky little bastard, and if you're not careful he'll steal your food. I've house- and dog-sat for Sean many times, so the dog and I are well-acquainted. Maqz has an impressive vertical leap, despite being white around the muzzle these days. (My Maqz-related posts are found here.) Unfortunately, being a chihuahua, he's got nasty anal scent glands that need to be "expressed" periodically; this involves a trip to the local PetSmart where, I imagine, some woebegone professional digs a finger into his ass and squeezes out all that foul-smelling liquid. Not a job I would want. But for all the trouble he causes, Maqz is a good and faithful companion for my brother, as well as a link to our past: Mom adored that dog, and she doted on him whenever Sean brought him over to the parents' house. I blame Mom-- fondly blame her, fondly-- for how spoiled Maqz became.

Sean used to live in Boston during his grad school days at the New England Conservatory (NEC). I got to learn a little bit about the city from visiting him, just as our family learned a lot about Cleveland when Sean was going to the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). In Boston, Sean lived in an interesting condo that was more vertical than it was horizontal:

One of Sean's housemates was a Korean chick who used to get way too friendly with Sean's male guests; she soon acquired the moniker "Welcome Wagon" for her amorous services. I wonder what she's up to these days. Sean has other friends, including the amazing Katie K. out in California, who is Assistant Principal (voila) for the San Francisco Symphony, and who has worked with the likes of James Horner (composer of the soundtracks for dozens of films, including "Avatar," "Star Trek 2," "Star Trek 3," "Apollo 13," "Titanic," etc.).

I suspect that, as Sean gets older, his killer work schedule and his itinerant, quasi-Gypsy existence are starting to wear on him. He's looking for stability-- a rare commodity in the life of a musician. To that end, he's taken up auditioning, and has gone to places like Seattle, Baltimore, and DC's Kennedy Center. Sean is, proudly, on the "sub list" for both the Baltimore Symphony and the National Symphony, which means he's racked up hours playing with the big fish. I wish Sean the best, and hope he lands a fantastic new job as a well-paid cellist in a large orchestra, enjoying a nine-month schedule, traveling to amazing global venues, and living the high life. His audition experience is only just beginning; according to Sean, many high-caliber musicians go through dozens of auditions before landing their dream job. Sean has had only a handful of trials.

My little brother shames me with his industrious work ethic. He almost never has a chance to rest, and he's always on call. Sean has really made a name for himself as a musician, as a teacher, and as a decent, kind, perceptive, loving human being. I couldn't be prouder to have him for a brother.

Happy Birthday, Sean!

Another writeup of Sean can be found here (scroll down).

A recent picture of Sean in action here.

*In response, my brother sometimes refers to me as Mr. Bigglesworth. Or just Biggles.


No comments: