“Doc” was born in Paterson, NJ and lived in North Jersey for 39 years. He began his professional music career in 1952 at the age of 14 when he played the Accordion for a group of Civil Engineers at the Alexander Hamilton Hotel in Paterson, NJ.
In 1954, he opened The Bloomingdale Accordion Studio which was renamed Dr. Van Orden’s School of Music in 1973, after earning his Doctor of Sacred Music degree. He taught more than 100 students per week for 23 years.
The Howard D. Van Orden Orchestra played at the famous Lydecker’s Northwood Inn in Butler, NJ. For 8 years as well as many of the well-known Country Clubs in New Jersey.
In 1977, he traveled to the island of aruba where he played for Holiday Inn on Palm Beach and the famous Bali Floating Restaurant in the Caribbean for 3 years.
Returning to the USA in 1980, he played in Miami Beach and St. Augustine, FL, the De Soto Hilton in Savannah, GA, Hotels in Los Angeles, CA and Albuquerque, NM. In LA, he belonged to the Hollywood Local along with Myron Floren.
In addition to being a Professional Accordionist and long-time member of the American Accordionists Association, he has also been a Professional Church and Theatre Organist and Choir Director for the past 43 years. He is a Professional member of the Central Arizona Chapter of the American Guild of organists (AGO). he also plays Piano, Steel Guitar and Mandolin.
Besides a musical career, he is also Bishop of Diocese of the Southwest of the Orthodox Catholic Church and in 2009 will celebrate 25 years. He holds 6 earned Doctoral degrees in ministry and Theology and is Founder of the Religious Order of St. Jude and President of St. Jude’s Seminary, an accredited degree-granting theological institution.
Additionally, he is a holistic health practitioner who has worked with the giants of our day including Dr. Bernard Jensen, Dr. Clement T. Wittman and Dr. Jay Scherer. He holds a Doctor of Naturopathy degree and a Doctor of Reflexology degree and currently, has an office in Glendale for the practice of Reflexology. He also provides continuing education for managers of Assisted Living Facilities and is also an AZ State Board Certified Manager.
Music, Ministry, Healing and Teaching have been his lifetime work and continues to be so. No time for retirement!
“Doc” is happily Married to Christine who also plays the Accordion in her spare time. She is an Anglican Orthodox Catholic Priest and fulltime Chaplain at Arizona Heart Hospital. Prior to this position, she was a Hospice Chaplain and an Oncology RN for 28 years. She holds a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling Psychology and a Master of Practical Ministry degree in Chaplaincy.
Is life boring for Drs. Howard and Christine? Not at all! They wish days were 48 hours long instead of 24 so they can get their work done.