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Everyone’s got their own Bee Gees

When a work of art – be it music, a movie or a painting – has touched one’s life, that person is often compelled to meet the artist.

Sometimes this desire can lead to a slight obsession. The person may purchase the artist’s memorabilia, read everything they can find about the artist or try collect to all of the works they have created.

Under these criteria, one could safely color me obsessed with the Bee Gees, the seven-time Grammy award-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group made up of brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb.

OK, stop laughing. No, really, knock it off. I know it sounds crazy, weird and abstract for me to like the Bee Gees. After all, their commercial heyday was in the late 1970s after the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was released, which was nearly a decade before I was born. I stumbled upon their music when I was 12 years old. My parents had just purchased the 1997 release, Still Waters, and I watched a special about them on VH1. I had my mom buy me Greatest, a two-CD set containing their greatest hits through 1979, and I was set. The more I have listened to their extensive catalog through the years, the more I have found that there is so much more to their music than disco.

Being a fan of the Bee Gees is something that has evolved with me. Through my teenage years, I kept my admiration for the group under wraps for fear that my friends would make fun of me. When I got to college, though, I just stopped caring about what other people might think of my likes and dislikes. I blast my Bee Gees songs while doing homework – more than 300 of their songs are saved in my iTunes – wear my T-shirt from the 1979 Spirits Having Flown tour I bought off of eBay and hang up Bee Gees memorabilia in my room.

But I never thought I’d actually get to meet the Brothers Gibb. With the untimely death of Maurice in 2003, meeting all of them would become impossible, unfortunately. Still, I wanted to meet Barry and Robin and find some way to pay my respects to Maurice. I found out there would be a formal dedication of the Maurice Gibb Memorial Park in Miami Beach, which took place on Sunday. It was open to the public, and Barry and Robin were going to be there. With only a four-hour drive standing between me and this invaluable opportunity, I decided to go.

As I dragged my boyfriend along, I tried not to get my hopes up too high about meeting them. We went to the dedication and it was beautiful – the park, the Gibb family and the kind words that the speakers said about Maurice, aka “Mo,” were all beautiful. Afterward, Barry and Robin individually made their way down the line of fans and eventually got to me. I shook Robin’s hand and all I said was, “Hi, Robin,” because I was pretty much at a loss for words. Then Barry was right there in front of me. I got to hug him and take a picture with him. The cavewoman-like dialect continued to come out of my mouth as all I could manage to say to Barry was “I love your music.”

After meeting them, I nearly started to cry. It was surreal – who thinks they’ll ever actually get to meet their idols? I only wish I could have found better words to express to these men what their music has meant in my life. It was also nice to talk to the other fans attending who share this feeling – I found out that I’m not so crazy after all. I know that not everyone shares my love of the Bee Gees, but everyone has their own Bee Gees – an artist or individual whose work has evoked a great deal of emotion in their life.

Through living out my dream, I’ve discovered that I want to be like the Gibb brothers. I don’t necessarily want to sing in falsetto or write and produce six consecutive No. 1 hits like they have. But I do want to use all the gifts that God has given me, like they have. I want to live life to the fullest with a great amount of gusto, like they have. I want to have a loving family, like they have. And I want to be gracious and help others whenever possible, like they have.

Executive Editor Amanda Whitsitt meets Barry Gibb, member of the Grammy award-winning Bee Gees, of which he was a member of with his brothers Robin and Maurice. Gibb was on hand for the dedication of the Maurice Gibb Memorial Park in Miami Beach, which honors Maurice, who passed away in 2003. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMANDA WHITSITT

Amanda Whitsitt is a seniormajoring in mass communications.