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Songs for the restless

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There is a band in town waking up the Christian rock scene in Northern Virginia, and they call themselves The Restless. The group of young adults started the band with the mission to be a resource to the diocese while also reaching out to the broader community through music.

The Restless was started by musicians Stephen Ng and Valerie Repetski in 2012. The two had been leading youth Masses at St. Mark Church in Vienna for a year when the idea to start a band came to them.

"We all loved leading worship and playing music together," said Stephen. "We thought, 'We should do this.'" Stephen's wife, Jessica Wallace Ng, joined the band as did Valerie's husband, Rocco. Tim Judge, youth minister at Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville, joined as the drummer. Steve Ni, who plays violin and keyboard, joined The Restless in 2015.

The name for the band was inspired by the words of St. Augustine, who said, "My heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee."

"Our young adult friends are chasing after careers, after money, after power and status," said Rocco. "In competitive Northern Virginia, we are always trying to get ahead, and at the end of all that we still have this God-shaped hole, and we are restless until we rest in Him."

It is sometimes challenging for band members to find a balance between work, family and the new music ministry. All the band members are married with full-time jobs and many have young children. However, they all agree that the band is worth it and has given them a special community. For the married couples, it has provided a unique opportunity to spend quality time together.

"It is really fun that we get to do a hobby that we enjoy together," said Valerie. "Getting to lead worship and see those cool moments where people get to experience the Lord - getting to do that together as a married couple is pretty awesome."

The group has received support from Youth Apostles and has performed at a number of diocesan events, such as the high school Rally and junior high Bash. The group's style and sound also has started to interest the broader Northern Virginia music scene, and they have had gigs at events like Viva Vienna and Oktoberfest in Vienna.

"We have a number of conversations at concerts that have been with people who have frustrations or questions about the church," said Rocco. "Because we were out on the street, that person was comfortable to have that conversation and we hope to have more of those conversations."

Last August, the band recorded an EP with District Entertainment in Alexandria that featured four of its own songs, including "King Forever," written by Stephen, and "Peter's Song," by Valerie and Rocco, which tells the story of St. Peter's denial and ultimate redemption by Jesus's death on the cross. Their last two songs add some variety to the playlist. "Home" has a reggae feel, followed by "Weep," which is described as a "modern-day hymn."

His goal as a song writer, Stephen said, is for the music to reach people at all places in their faith journey.

"No matter if you have been a Christian for your whole life or you have never set foot in a church before, there is something (in the music) that will touch your heart, touch your soul and just try and attain a little more the greatness and holiness we are called to," he said.

Buyers can be reached at abuyers@catholicherald.com

Visit The Restless's Website for tour dates and more information www.therestless.net

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016