Former Diocese choir director hosting 'Christmas in January'

A controversy at the Catholic Diocese that began in mid-December has apparently come to an end with a resignation and plans for a new January concert series.

CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - A controversy at the Catholic Diocese that began in mid-December has apparently come to an end with a resignation and plans for a new January concert series.

Lee Gwozdz was in charge of the four choirs at the Central Catholic Church Cathedral for more than 30 years but resigned from the church last month because of differences.

"When you've been somewhere as long as I have, obviously things will start to change," Gwozdz said. "About two years ago I felt that we weren't sharing a vision of what the music program should be, so I thought now's the time."

Gwozdz, who has put together seven choir performances for different popes, stepped off on a new path Thursday with the first rehearsal for a New Year's Holiday Pop Spectacular, "Christmas in January."

"Yeah, I'm really excited about it," Gwozdz said. "It's called Symphony Viva. It's based out of San Antonio but we're going to start a Corpus Christi branch and then branch out to McAllen."

Gwozdz said more than 180 former choir members have committed to performing the holiday concert series along with musicians who have volunteered their time.

"The choirs have been since September and so as soon as I knew I was going to retire I wanted to have an event so that they could share what they were going to share during the cancelled Christmas concert," Gwozdz said.

In the news release announcing the concert cancellation, the Diocese stated the nationwide search for a new choir director had begun, but there is no indication that anyone has been selected.

Former choir parents have complained to the church. One parent who had two children in the choir said she was disappointed with the Diocese.

"I have mixed feelings and I'm more excited that Lee has taken this Symphony Viva on," Cindy McAllister said. "To this date we have never received any phone calls from the church after we placed several calls to them."

The Christmas in January concert is set for Jan. 14 at the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Performing Arts Center. For ticket information, visit www.symphonyviva.com.

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