Three college students who first met in the youth group at Lake Norman Baptist Church are using their musical talents to help people suffering from depression.
Taylor Terzek, 18, John Davis, 19, and Ryan Bailey, 19, formed the Christian pop band Washed in White when they were high-school students in the Huntersville area. Their musical interests meshed, and soon they were playing in coffee shops and churches.
"We shared this passion of creating music as a vessel and using it to reach people," Terzek said. "We all don't have the greatest public speaking ability, so music was our way of ministering."
The three began their freshman year at different colleges last fall, but Terzek said they kept in touch, and when he wrote new songs he would share them online with his band mates.
They played together over college breaks, and all three are working in the Lake Norman area this summer.
Terzek said the three are still "joined at the hip." But this summer they decided to forgo all but one concert, the Festival of Hope they have organized for Saturday.
Washed in White will be one of four Christian bands playing at the festival. But what's more important, the event will address depression, a problem the three musicians have seen affect many in their circles of friends and family.
Depression became more real to them when Terzek got a call about a year ago from a good friend's parents, saying their son was in the hospital after attempting suicide.
"It just shook every one of us and made us aware that this is something that's real and something that's close at hand," Terzek said, adding their friend is better now.
"Depression isn't something that immediately goes away, but it's something he has overcome to a point," Terzek said.
Terzek said he knew he couldn't "stand there motionless." He talked to Davis and Bailey, and they decided to organize the Festival of Hope.
They are partnering with Josh Michael Stegenga of His Scars to Our Scars, a Greensboro-area ministry for people suffering from depression.
Counselors from the ministry and from Lake Norman Baptist will be on hand to talk to anyone at the concert concerned about depression. Stegenga also will give a short talk on depression.
"Depression is the main focus, and the concert is to get people there," Terzek said.
Terzek said they have publicized the concert through area youth pastors, who have been invited to set up booths with information about their youth groups.
Teens suffering from the loneliness of depression could find an immediate place to meet other people.
"A big part of recovering from depression is having a Christian community," Terzek said.
Organizers expect the concert will appeal to teenagers, but all ages are welcome. The festival will include food vendors, prize giveaways and a bounce house for children.
A Lot Like Color, Keaton Lange and Evan Shaw Blackerby also will play music.
Festival of Hope will be 3-7 p.m. Saturday at 7921 Sam Furr Road, Huntersville. For more information, visit festivalofhope.washedinwhite.com.