Oddwalk Ministries

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The Joy of the Scriptures

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Psalm 87

Hello all, Orin here.  One of my roles as Music Director at Sts. Joachim and Ann in suburban STL is to prep music for school masses.  One of the tasks for each mass is ensuring we have a responsorial psalm and a psalmist or two ready to go: both I and the pastor at J&A prefer to do the readings of the day, so I need to ensure that the psalms are easily grasped both by the psalmists from the different homerooms in school (on limited rehearsal time), as well as by the assembly.  Before sitting down to write this, in fact, I needed to create a new one for a school mass tomorrow, led by our 4th graders.  You can see an image of the simple music just over there…

By now, ending my 5th year at J&A, many such psalms are already written, and it’s rare I need to take a moment and create a new one, but this morning was such a time.  A quick count shows I’ve created over 130 of these in 5 years.  An unexpected joy of the role here at J&A has become getting to know the psalms in such a broad way.  Many of us know several of the more common Sunday responsorial psalms well, but the psalms at daily mass are much more diverse than at Sundays alone, and as a result, some unexpected poetry, theology, spirituality, and expressions of faith come to my attention over these few years.

This hymn of praise to Zion, for instance, responds joyfully to a reading from the Acts of the Apostles, in which we hear how the early Church grew far past Jerusalem, partly because early followers of Christ were scattered to many places, avoiding persecution, and were bolstered and taught by the likes of Barnabas and Paul.  This passage ends, “…it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.”

There is a joy in the scriptures which only grows and blossoms the more deeply one knows, prays, and lives them.  As broad as the scripture passages are on Sundays, an easy way to encounter so much more is to attend daily mass – a practice which was not a significant part of my life before arriving at J&A, but is now.  When was the last time you attended a daily mass?  Perhaps it’s time to consider a new discipline in faith, and rediscover the joy of the scriptures, like I have.

Almost There!

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We’re sure all of you will be excited to learn that our website is nearing the 60,000 visitor threshold.  We’ll wait for you to stop shouting for joy…

…seriously, you’re embarrassing yourself…

…better? Good.

To celebrate this milestone, we are planning to write a song about the 60,000th visitor.  We will then post a video of that song for the world to see.  In writing the song, we’ll take a few facts about the visitor-in-question and then make up the rest.  If you need this in your life, be sure to pay attention to the stat counter towards the bottom of the left-hand column on our website, http://oddwalkministries.com/oddblog

It looks like this:

 

Once we determine the winner, we will try and contact that person about their…um…prize.

Happy clicking!

Common Ground

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A couple weeks ago,  I (Orin) was happy to again attend the Liturgical Composers Forum here in St. Louis, to rub shoulders with composers both quite familiar, newly-published, and all places in-between.

Orin and Cyprian

Each year there is a different presenter for the group; this year’s was Cyprian Consiglio, a composer who is also a priest and monk. He has a hidden gem of a piece in the original Sprit and Song volume, an adaptation of “As One Unknown.” It details the many ways Christ can appear before us, emphasizing in its added refrain the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Cyprian has more recently travelled extensively through Asia and brought his knowledge and passion of other world religions to his presentations and music he shared with us at the LCF. One of his talks highlighted how different religions approach Jerusalem, both physically and spiritually (symbolically), emphasizing our common ground.

The LCF week most always propels me into writing new music, and this one is no exception. My mind and heart has been pondering, leading up to this reflection on justice, how Christ appears before us in the vulnerable, oppressed, and homeless, and how all peoples share some amount – likely a large amount – of common ground, all made in the image and likeness of God.

While the music is well on its way, it’s not quite done yet. However, I *think* the text is done, and I’m happy to share it here with you today. Let us pray that what connects us to one another is stronger than what tries to divide us.

Common Ground – by Orin Johnson ©2017

REFRAIN
We all share a common, holy ground,
we all share the hope, the promise
of the One whose image is inscribed upon our souls.
We all share this holy ground.

VERSES
The earth that we walk on is sacred.
Out of nothing this world was made
by the One who said, “Let there be…”
bringing forth all things, day by day.

The flesh we inhabit is sacred.
We are filled with the breath of life
from the One who took dust and clay,
forming living souls, humankind.

The lives that we share here are sacred,
lives of justice, of holy peace.
But the One who orders all things
places love as greater than these.

The whole of creation is sacred,
All that was and will ever be.
For the One who reigns from on high
chose to make himself small, came to dwell among all,
and remains till all is complete,
and remains till all is complete.

NCCYM 2016 Videos

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This past weekend, Oddwalk was invited to take on several roles that exemplify the things we find important in our ministries, at the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry in San Jose, California.  We are grateful for these opportunities, whether it’s leading prayer, encouraging audience participation, making people laugh, or commenting on our retreat ministry.  Here are a few videos of those moments.

 

First, here we are, with Shannon’s wife Erin, singing a prelude before the Saturday morning mass, a piece by Orin titled “To Know Darkness,” published by GIA Publications and on our “Walk Away Different” CD.

 

Next, here we are talking a bit about our retreat ministry at a “Great Ideas” session later that day.

 

But a highlight for us of these NCCYM weekends is the “Youth Ministry Extravaganza” — a chance for folks like us, who “do what we do,” to thank the youth ministers (and others) in attendance and hopefully feed their souls through, among other things, humor.  We relish the chance to create original “set pieces” for this night (previously “May God Bless and Keep You,” “Songs We Should Never Record” and others); this year, thanks to an idea from our friend Erin Brennan, we created a segment where we pretend to be covering the Games of the XXIII Liturginerd Olympiad.

 

For a couple extra “goodies” related to the Liturginerd Olympics, click here! Thanks San Jose and the NFCYM for a great conference, see you next year at NCYC!

Oddwalk at NCCYM 2016

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img_0394Where will you find us at NCCYM? Just check our handy guide:

— 12/1 3:15pm – Netsourcing session, music & liturgy N09
— 12/1 7:00pm – National Youth Ministry Award introduction
— 12/2 8:00pm – Youth Ministry Extravaganza
— 12/3 8:00am – Music Ministry for Daily Mass
— 12/3 2:15pm – Part of Great Ideas workshop

And of course in the exhibit hall when it’s open. Check your program books for more details. Hope to say hi to many friends old and new!

Oddwalk and Our New CD Feature Article

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On March 4, we and our new CD Mercy at Work were featured in a news article in the Catholic Missourian, the newspaper of the Diocese of Jefferson City, MO. The story talked at length about the music on the new CD, and how it shows a side of us that some people aren’t aware of, at least as much as they might be aware of our silly and fun side. Thanks to editor Jay Nies for the write-up. A few ways to check it out:

To visit the webpage of the article (at least for now), click here!

To see a pdf of the article as it appeared in the papers, click the photo or click here

A Few NCYC 2015 Videos

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Hello Everyone! We had a marvelous time at NCYC, both making music and hanging out at the booth. Here are a few NCYC-related videos for you to enjoy.

First, an “at home” video of a new song we premiered at the NCYC comedy club, “Helping Verbs.”

Next, our super-cut video of all the “Oddwalk This Way” vine videos from the booth!

And last, a video of a song we prayed with at the Friday daily mass, “Have Faith.”

PreOrder Our New CD!

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CDcoverart2015Friends! We’re coming out with a new CD later this fall, and are very excited to bring you 10 new tracks of music (and a couple bonus tracks of music) very soon!

We’d like to ask you to consider preordering the CD — You’ll save some money off the eventual retail price, and be first in line to get your copy.  We’ve set up a couple other perks, such as getting your new CD defaced with our signatures, buying bulk quantities, and even a couple ways to hire us for significantly less than our normal rates to support the CD.

For information on how to order or hire us, please visit our preorder page: oddwalkministries.com/mercyatwork — and please share this link!  Preorders must be in by November 15 – act now!

To see lyrics and hear sample clips of all tracks, click here!
 
 
 
 
 

Playing Catchup

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Hey folks – just a few updates for you, exciting things have been happening!

Any Given Sunday – Shannon had a reflection there recently for Divine Mercy Sunday, and Orin will in a couple weeks. Check out Shannon’s here.

Another Publication! – Orin has another piece in print at WLP, “The Lord Is My Shepherd” – a choral setting of Psalm 23 he wrote for his last Shrine mass about 3 years ago. Check out the sample score and listen to a bit of audio here.

Week of the Young Child Concert – For the 10th anniversary of this celebration, Orin joined Shannon and Chris & Isaiah Korte for a program in Kirksville MO, and we all were featured on the local news! Watch below.

Another Publication! “An Advent Fantasia”

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10868190_10152607335186309_4580600600644399850_nOrin learned today another piece of his is now in print, back at GIA for this one: “An Advent Fantasia” which combines several advent tunes and texts into what the cool kids a couple years ago called a mash-up.  Seriously, it is a prayerful merging of musical and textual ideas, and could even be appropriate as a first prelude on Christmas Eve – you know, not this year, but probably next!

No samples (sheet music nor audio) are posted yet, but you can see the page for the piece and order it by clicking right here!

NCCYM Netsourcing Slides

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netsourcingsildepicIn addition to having a great time at the NCCYM Extravaganza, Oddwalk was also invited to present a netsourcing session on Thursday afternoon at NCCYM, on the topic of music and liturgy. These sessions are a bit different than other workshops: our role was to throw a few relevant details to the conversation out to the attendees, and then spend about half our time letting them engage in conversations with each other and with us. The session seemed well received, and several people were heard saying things – to each other – like “that’s a great idea” and “I had never thought of that,” so we must have done something right.

Click the picture of the title slide or the link below if you’d like a pdf of the slides we used that afternoon.

Engaging Youth in Liturgical Life – Slides

Songs We Should Never Record – NCCYM 2014

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songsweshouldneverrecordHello everybody! Boy, did we have a blast at NCCYM in San Antonio this past weekend – we hope you did too. We’re happy to make available to our visitors, absolutely free, various versions of our small piece of the Friday Night Youth Ministry Extravaganza, “Songs We Should Never Record.” Many people have asked us about video, audio, or lyrics – and they’re all here!

First, the video:

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And, an mp3 you are free to download!
♫ SongsWeShouldNeverRecord.mp3 ♫
(use the pic above for artwork – click to enlarge – if you like!)

And a pdf with all the lyrics and a few of the images from the show: songsweshouldneverrecord.pdf

The mp3 is also out on the pOddcast now, if you are a subscriber!

We also want to add a special word of thanks to our friend Mike Kivett, who penned the words to “There They Go, Lord.” Mike is a great live audio technician, he helped us with our first couple self-produced CDs, and most importantly is an all around good egg. When he heard some our silly stuff we were asking him to record, he shared with us his little creation, and we’re certainly glad he did. Thanks, Mike!

And thanks as well to the NFCYM for a great conference as always, and great NCYCs the other years. See you next fall in Indy!


PS – A couple people have asked us about the lyrics to the “Stand By Your Man” parody we sang as part of the finale of the night. Those words were written by Bob Rice, here they are:

Sometimes its hard to be a pastor,
Caring for all those ministries.
Absolving all those sins, the roof is caving in,
And the youth room needs a 55 inch flat screen high definition TV.

Stand by your man,
Give him an ear to listen.
It’s hard, he’s always giving,
And you are kind of needy.
Stand by your man,
And even if he’s awkward,
Make him look as cool as you can,
Baby! Stand by your man.

“Gather at the Cross” Published by WLP!

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Music_Seasons_rdax_152x96Exciting news! A piece written by Orin for the Good Friday adoration of the cross has been published by World Library Publications!  It’s titled “Gather at the Cross” and has been sung for the last few years at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, and now at Sts. Joachim and Ann, where Orin is Director of Music Ministries.  It’s also been featured in a pOddcast here before.

At WLP’s site, you can view sample pages and here a sample of Audio recorded by their in-house folks.

Here’s the page for the piece at WLP: Gather at the Cross

And here’s a direct link to the audio sample: audio
Or, just click the play button below to listen to the audio streaming from WLP’s site right here!

Play

I (Orin) am grateful to begin this relationship with WLP, just as Oddwalk continues in relationship with GIA and the music and recordings we have through them.  Stay tuned – a few more pieces of Orin’s are coming through the pipeline at both GIA and WLP, and we’ll let you know here when they are released.

 

PS – As part of the piece being published, we’ve had to remove the older audio from our pOddcast – so listen all you want at the link above!