Finally have an update. After looking for matching brick (that I wouldn't have to order build a house) for way too long, on advice from one of the brickyards, decided to find something that could be stained to match. Realized that the brick I already had was same base color, so after all that, went with what I already had. Looked terrible when I placed it in the space where I had removed a cracked brick last year, but was time to finish it up. Removed the top 3 courses of old brick and was able to salvage enough to fill in the rest of the 4th course, and all the spots where I removed cracked brick. Took some trial and error working with the river sand mortar that didn't lay like the mortar in the youtube videos, but finally got it done.
Repointing took way too long. Wasted 2 days and a lot of mortar trying to use a mortar bag. River sand was just too coarse without adding way too much water. Videos recommended adding more portland to the mix, but was concerned it might be too strong of a mix for the brick. Used a concave pointer to repoint from there, but realized a little too late that I should have used a flat pointer to fill the gap and the concave to finish it off. Using the concave pointer was messy, and with the rough texture, got a lot more mortar on the edges of the brick. Tried to clean with water and stainless brush, but wasn't very effective, so did a final clean with the Klean Strip Green muriatic acid. Still left some mortar residue along the edges, but in the end it actually helped to blend/hide some of the gray sealant previous owner had used to seal cracks that wouldn't come off.
If the old brick were not covered with some type of sealant which has given a slight sheen and dulled the color, I think it would actually match better than it does.
Pouring the crown was easier than expected, especially with help from some friends. Used heavy mil plastic for the bond break, and should have cut it off at the drip edge, but let it overhang and placed side boards of the form over it. Created some rough edges, but not terrible. Used a hammer drill with blunt tip to vibrate the sides as recommended in a video, but still have some pock marks, but no major honeycombing.
Big thanks for all the advice and encouragement.