June 21, 2015

yell NY

Barry singing with passion in Wantagh, NY

The most important person in my life led me to love the Bee Gees and brought me to this moment in time. He also led me to love every type of music, starting with the classics. I can look at a photo of Barry Gibb like the one pictured above and pull out that wonderful memory from Wantagh, New York because of this person. His passion for the arts and life in general taught me to appreciate musical artistry and its beauty. I look back on the past several years and am grateful for being able to witness the Mythology Tour first-hand because of one man’s guidance and strength and example.

My father, Vincent, was a violinist, a teacher, an engineer, a research scientist and a genius. He taught me to play the violin when I was very young, and he was proud of my achievements; I also had a love of theater that was pulling me to sing and dance, and with my Dad’s support, I started down that path at the age of eight. You see, he taught me that I could achieve my goals and succeed at anything, as long as I had the passion and kept focusing on my dreams. It sounds pretty corny, but it’s what I remember most about my Father. No dream was too small or too insignificant, whether it was to win the acting competition or to become captain of the cheerleading squad.

Nothing my siblings and I ever achieved in life was small. Every good grade in school, every simple drawing that was placed on the fridge, every concert played, was looked upon with pride and joy.

I never really thought about it much before, but he was a lot like Barry Gibb. He came from a large, poor family, and he decided very early on that he would be a musician. He never lost sight of this dream, and he overcame many obstacles to achieve it. When he was just a teen, he was playing in the Syracuse Symphony in Syracuse, New York. He had a brilliant, mathematician’s mind, too, and eventually worked his way through college and became a research scientist for NASA. Although this became his primary career, he never stopped performing his music.

There was always music playing in our home. Sometimes it was Beethoven and sometimes it was Johnny Cash and yes, sometimes it was the Bee Gees. Along with that music came a history lesson about the musician who created it and how important the piece was to its era. There was always a kind of reverence for the work itself.

I’m sure Barry Gibb’s kids were in awe of him when they were growing up, and I’ll bet they’re still in awe of what he is accomplishing right now.  At an age where most men are retiring and resting on their laurels, Barry is creating and working and performing and achieving. He is quite larger than life for most fans around the world, but he is first a father who loves his family. As much as his work drives him, his wife Linda and his children give him meaning and purpose far beyond the music.

I marveled at my Dad every day of his life, and today I want to thank him for loving me unconditionally. He gave me so much more than confidence and guidance. He gave me his heart. He helped me become the woman I am, and he is with me always. I know he’s up in heaven playing a Paganini concerto and cheering me on and probably learning yet another new piece of music.

So to my Dad Vincent, to Barry Gibb and to all fathers whose love gives wings to children’s dreams—-thank you and Happy Father’s Day!

About morobinbarrystories

Anne Jakowenko, the blog author, has been loving the Bee Gees for decades while raising her sons and teaching college students Speech Communication and English skills at her alma mater, Syracuse University, where she received her Master’s degree. She has also taught for SUNY Oswego and Barry University. Currently, Anne is teaching for the State College of Florida while she continues to collect stories for her book, My Life with the Boys.
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  1. Kathie says:

    A very inspiring story today. Thank you for sharing your Dad with us. A feel your love!

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