Charter and tour bus operators expect a certain level of artistry from their service team when it’s time for a repair, but at the Des Plaines MCI Service Center, they’re working with a real virtuoso — 2020 Grammy winner Andrew Craig Brown.
Brown, a bass-baritone who earned a master’s degree in music from Yale University in 2011, received his first Grammy Award recently, as a cast member of the recording of "Picker: Fantastic Mr. Fox,” written by composer Tobias Picker, staged by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and based on the popular Roald Dahl children’s story.
Based in Chicago because he no longer wanted to “live out of a suitcase” as so many artists’ careers demand, Brown joined MCI in 2019 doing heavy-duty repairs and refurbishments on motorcoaches that seat up to 56 people.
It all began with cars — in addition to his professional voice training, Brown is also a professionally trained auto mechanic. Growing up in downstate Cerro Gordo, west of Decatur, Ill., Brown explained,
"When I was a kid, my dad taught me how to work on cars. Whenever I had the time, my Mom would say, 'go out and help your dad.’ I continued with it. It's always been a hobby. And I do enjoy my job at MCI," he said.
Brown has performed around the world, making his 2012 debut at English National Opera as Achilla in Julius Caesar, in addition to performances at the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, Italy, the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the San Francisco Opera.
Brown continues to sing professionally working out his schedule with his supervisor Cary Kadyschuk, MCI manager, heavy-duty repair. Kadyschuk said Brown is “intelligent and thoughtful about the job he does. He’s a pretty rare individual. We are lucky to have him.”
Andrew was onstage in Los Angeles to accept his award, an experience he described as “surreal.” But his co-workers were ready for a victory. When he returned to work, a cake and another “Grammy” created from bus parts by fellow technician Pawel Fulat, who presented it at MCI’s very own award celebration.