Orin grew up in Tyler Minnesota, in the Southwestern part of the state. His folks started him on organ and piano lessons when he was 6. He started playing for Stations of the Cross when he was 11, and started playing for Masses shortly after that.
In college, Harvard University, he was active in the men's chorus and the Catholic Student Association Choir. He began seriously writing music about this time.
After four years at Harvard (AB in Music and Folklore and Mythology) and two at Radford (MA in Choral Conducting), in 1998 Orin arrived at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, in Belleville, IL, near St. Louis, MO. He was Music and Liturgy Coordinator there for 14 years. From 2012 to 2022, he was Director of Music Ministries at Sts. Joachim and Ann Parish in suburban St. Louis. Since 2022, he serves as Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis.
In December of 2000, he met Erin Hammond. To make a long story ridiculously short, they are now married! The big day was November 27, 2004. They reside in St. Louis, Missouri.
Beyond Erin and the Parish, he also enjoys singing with the St. Louis Chamber Chorus and serving as their Assistant Conductor. He holds an MA in Theology (2008) from Aquinas Institute of Theology, and accompanies services at Shaare Emeth Temple in St. Louis. He is also half of Oddwalk Ministries with Shannon Cerneka, and Orin and Shannon also collaborate with Kathleen Basi from time to time.
In a time when disagreements turn toxic and the pace of life is frenetic, it can be hard to recognize what our baptismal call means to our practical, everyday lives. This event will show how our faith touched every moment of life and how we Christians can take the heritage of our faith (scripture, stories of the saints, etc.) and apply that to the real-life moments when peace, reconciliation, mercy, justice and truth are needed in our everyday lives. Spend some time with Kate, Shannon and Orin in an experience that is meditative, engaging, humorous, thought-provoking and, above all, a true encounter with God.
Be it a keynote, a concert, a retreat, a prayer service, or a workshop, Orin and Shannon of Oddwalk Ministries have a lot of joy, humor, music, and faith to share — and they have been since 2004! Engaging music, meaningful stories, and the joy of the Lord are all hallmarks of an Oddwalk event. Find out more at: http://oddwalkministries.com/oddblog/what-we-do/
Orin Johnson and Shannon Cerneka have given many workshops, including several at NCEA, on engaging youth in the preparation, execution, and spirituality of liturgies, especially at the K-8 level. From planning music to training lectors and psalmists, to helping teachers and staff find their place in it all, Orin and Shannon guide all through a process and concrete examples which can enliven and invigorate school liturgies.
Orin Johnson and Shannon Cerneka lead retreatants, youth or older, on a journey of understanding one's current relationship with God, seeking out wats in which it can change and grow, and giving all tools to continue the process after the retreat. This is also expandable into a multi-day parish mission for all ages.