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Notable honor for young musician

It’s an unlikely vehicle but 14-year-old Sean Pawling’s shiny, brass trombone has taken him to many far and away places.

He’s played in sunny Orange County, Calif., and in Chicago’s metropolis of culture and music but nothing will compare to his latest endeavor starting June 20.

In New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, Pawling will sound his golden horn from a chair that is normally occupied by a musician from New York’s Philharmonic Orchestra – all on the ticket of Disney Productions.



Pawling and 79 other young musicians, all from various region of the United States, were selected on their musical merit to play in Disney’s Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra. With more than 5,000 applicants, securing a spot on the Magic Kingdom’s ensemble is no simple task.

In a videotape audition, he sent away his finest notes to Disney’s judges.




“I chose a really hard, long piece (for the audition),” he said. “We were allowed to take a few breaks during the video, which was a good thing because my lips were getting tired.”

Making the grade, Pawling will travel June 20 to Yonkers, N.Y., for 10 days of intensive practice before the June 30 performance in Avery Fisher Hall.

Marilyn Pawling, Sean’s mother, said he’ll be in Disney’s hands while he’s gone.

“They really want you to stay away from the kids because they have intensive practice during that time,” she said.

Practicing is nothing new for Pawling. He said he breaks out the brass for at least an hour each day and plays a lot of jazz.

“Jazz lets you play around and make up your own music,” Pawling said. “But I’m probably best at the softer, classical music.”

Which is what he’ll be playing in Disney’s Orchestra.

“It’s neat playing with a bunch of good people,” he said. “It just sounds really good.”

It sounds so good that the performance will air nationally Aug. 7 on the Disney Channel.

This is Pawling’s second year as a Disney trombone artist, but at 14, it will be his last. Pawling has reached the ranks of retirement with Disney but he said his career as a musician doesn’t stop there.

“Next year I’m going to try out for the California Honor Band,” he said. “I hope I make it.”

But Pawling’s interests aren’t printed in stone on the music sheet – he also enjoys cross country running, soccer and snowboarding.


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