Overtones, the magazine of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (AGEHR), featured Payson High School junior Taylor Goss in its September/October 2009 issue.
Goss was the only young teen to attend the AGEHR’s National Seminar last summer in Tucson. Goss came to the attention of many of the advanced, experienced ringers at the seminar for his natural musical talent, good music reading skills and enthusiasm. The article in Overtones featured Goss in a long interview with full-page photos.
Goss plays locally with the Grace Notes handbell choir at Payson United Methodist Church.
Most communities have at least one church handbell choir and some, like Payson, have bells in the schools, yet many people have never seen or heard handbells.
The bells, fashioned from bronze, are laid out on tables from top to bottom like a piano keyboard. Ringers play music ranging from the traditional church repertoire to original handbell compositions and everything in between.
Bells can achieve sounds that range from sweet and lyrical to clipped and percussive through a variety of techniques. Ringers play in full 15- to 20-member groups, small ensembles, duos and even perform as solo ringers. Goss can do it all, including solo ringing for weddings, parties and other events.
Goss began ringing at 10 years old. His mother, an excellent ringer and middle school teacher, Karen Phylow, introduced Goss to handbells. He has played under the direction of PHS music teacher and Payson Choral Society director, Daria Mason.
Most recently, Goss has played for Grace Notes interim director Susan Campbell, a 30-plus-year veteran ringer and director.
“Taylor is a brilliant handbell technician, but he also has the rare artistic ability to make the bells sing as well as ring,” Campbell said.
What’s Taylor’s future in handbell ringing? Here’s what he says: “I hope to continue to play handbells, but it is difficult to pursue a solo career in ringing without my own bells. I am also hoping to find a college that has a great bell program — hopefully, one with scholarships!” Several colleges, including Northern Arizona University, have handbell programs, so Taylor will be able to keep ringing for a good long time.