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Gettin' Kicks: Classical Composer Nolan Stolz Travels Route 66 for 13 Months as Inspiration for Orchestral Work

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"If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on route sixty-six."
—From "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66," written by Bobby Troup (1946)

As many of you know, HPPR’s Amarillo studio space is located on historic Route 66 – and we take a lot of pride in the legacy and celebration of this American institution. We were excited to welcome Dr. Nolan Stolz, Associate Professor of Music at the University of South Carolina—Upstate, as he passed through Amarillo in search of inspiration for his forthcoming composition about the storied motorway. He began his trip in July 2021, and it’ll continue through August of this year. The piece, “Route 66 Suite,” should be available in 2026, upon the 100-year anniversary of the highway. “It’s a musical reflection,” Stolz says, “representing various aspects of the road.” He’s been spending time in every town along Route 66, getting to know the communities, businesses, residents, and historical buildings (including their neon signs, one of which HPPR proudly displays).

Hear the full interview on the link at the top of this page. For more information about this project, as well as his piece about the Lincoln Highway, visit Nolan Stolz’s website here. You can also contact him at nolan@nolanstolz.com.

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Jenny Inzerillo joined HPPR in 2015 as the host of High Plains Morning, our live music program that airs weekdays at 9 am to noon CST. Broadcasting from KJJP in beautiful downtown Amarillo, she helps listeners wake up with inspired music from our region and beyond. Tune in for new voices in folk/Americana, deep cuts from your favorite artists, soulful tracks from singer/songwriters across the world, and toe-tapping classics dating as far back as the 1920s. Plus, discover underground greats that just might be your new favorite band.