“My first band director, Benny Ferguson, started me out in this a long time ago,” said Gossett. “When I saw that you could actually teach music and get paid for it, I thought that’s what I wanted to do.”
Gossett was amazed and influenced by his father who led singing for many years in his church. The elder Gossett had no formal training, but was musically inclined.
Gossett was born in Chatsworth, Ga., to John and Gladys Gossett who now live in Centre. His brother, Tim, teaches history in Dalton, Ga.
He came to Jacksonville State University in 1982 to study music. In an a cappella class, he met a Jacksonville native, Stephanie Clay. They’ve been married 25 years. Stephanie works part time as a child nutrition director for the Jacksonville City School System and full time as a dialysis dietitian at Fresenius Medical Care, in Oxford.
Gossett’s first job as a band director after receiving his degree in music education (instrumental music) at JSU in 1982 was at Ider High School north of Fort Payne. He stayed there for a year, then moved back to Jacksonville and was band director at Anniston Middle School for three years. He was hired at Jacksonville High School in 1991.
On Wednesday, eight of Gossett’s former students at JHS surprised him by dressing in the band uniforms of their respective colleges. They had photos made in their uniforms. These photos will be among other prized possessions given to him by his former students.
One photo that has sat on his desk for many years is of three former students who were sections leaders at their schools. Megan Logsdon of the University of Georgia, Daniel Godwin of Auburn University and Ian Brittain of the University of Alabama wanted to honor their former band director with the photo.
During his 26 years of teaching Gossett has had 34 student teachers. There were a few semesters that he had two at a time.
Gossett is proud of his band students and said they’re among the best to be found anywhere.
“I’ve got the best kids and the best parents and the best faculty,” he said. “It’s not that it’s always easy, but it’s always a lot of fun. I’ve never gotten tired and wanted to quit.”
Band students, he said, are always involved in a lot of school activities.
“They’re in plays, they sing, they dance, they’re in athletics, they’re in clubs and they’re academically the top kids in school. I get to spend my day with the best kinds in school every day.”
A 10-year-old rescue dog, Sophie, lives with the Gossetts.
They are members of Eagle Point, the south campus of First Baptist Church, where Gossett is a deacon and plays bass guitar on Sunday mornings.
Contact Margaret at email@example.com.