“As an extension of God’s creation, I love being one of the creators of music that invites people to experience His beauty, says Robert Nugent, the staff songwriter and worship leader at Grace Polaris Church in Westerville, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor). “I love getting to write music in a wide spectrum of styles, which reflects the great variety God has in his own creation.”
Robert started playing piano when he was three years old and began lessons when he was eight. His piano teacher encouraged him when he wrote compositions trying to emulate the styles of classical composers. In high school band he played keyboard percussion.
“The excitement of seeing what happens when so many different instruments come together inspired me to want to become a composer and arranger,” says Robert. “I wrote band and orchestra pieces, as well as choral compositions for our church choir.”
Robert received his masters degree from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 1993. He then accepted a position as Minister of Music and Worship at Faith Church in Milford, Ohio.
“I spent many years building a choir and orchestra ministry, as well as a worship band. Collaborating with a team of creative volunteers, I wrote many musicals and worship cantatas for our choir and orchestra,” he says.
Early in his years at Faith Church, Robert met Randy Kettering, the worship director of Grace Brethren Church in Columbus (now Grace Polaris) through a couple serving alongside Robert.
“Having so much experiencing his own choir and orchestra, he was a great mentor to me,” says Robert.
Also a songwriter, Randy encouraged Robert in his songwriting and arranging. In 1996 Randy helped Robert produce a solo CD of his original songs, “River of Hope.” This project led to his creating hymn and octavo collections for Randy’s new publishing company “Grace Media Group.”
In 2002, Robert accepted a position at Grace as their staff arranger and songwriter. At one time there were more than 300 churches using the music the church produced. Since 2002, Robert has written 170 arrangements for choir with orchestra accompaniment, including 60 hymn arrangements, 70 Christmas arrangements, 10 patriotic arrangements, 50 original song arrangements, 40 orchestra pieces, and 10 Big Band Arrangements.
“I love seeing the way God uses music to bring people together and how the Holy Spirit works not only when play or sing for worship services, but also what happens in the process of learning it,” says Robert. “There is just something about getting together to make music for God that changes our hearts…it gives us hope, renews our focus, strengthens our relationships, and awakens us to the wonder of the who He is.”