Skip to main content

James D. Ployhar Honor Band Festival

Click to zoom
The Ployhar Honor Band Festival was begun in 2003 to honor the distinguished VCSU alumnus, James D. Ployhar. After graduating with a music education degree from VCSU, Ployhar received his Masters degree from the University of Northern Colorado. He went on to a prolific and successful career as a conductor, composer, and arranger. His name appears on over 800 music publications. He authored two revered band courses, and received the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence and membership into the American Bandmasters Association. In 2006, Ployhar became the first alumnus to be inducted into the VCSU Music Hall of Fame. Mr. Ployhar passed away in 2007, and the annual Ployhar Festival serves to highlight his life and distinguished career.

2015 Festival Information

Click to zoom
High School band and choir students from North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and South Dakota audition for acceptance into the annual Honor Band.

Interested students may send in recorded auditions in CD or MP3 format. Email submissions are encouraged. Please direct any questions about the festival to Dr. James Adams at or 701-845-7271.

Live auditions for the 2015 Ployhar Honor Festival will be conducted during September 2014 at a limited number of sites. If you are interested in having your students audition live at your school, please contact Dr. Adams.

Please encourage all of your students to audition for this unique opportunity.

Scholarships available for all instruments

High School seniors attending the Ployhar Honor Festival may choose to audition for music scholarships to attend Valley City State University. Multiple awards up to full-tuition are available. Click here for more scholarship audition requirements and information. Any further questions may be directed to Dr. Adams.

Dr. James Adams, Conductor

Click to zoom
Dr. James Adams is the Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Brass at Valley City State University. Adams earned a doctorate in Trombone Performance/Pedagogy and Instrumental Conducting from the University of Northern Colorado, a Masters degree in Trombone Performance/Pedagogy from the University of Maryland College Park and a Bachelor's degree in Brass Performance/Pedagogy from Brigham Young University. Professionally, he has performed in Europe and the United States with a variety of ensembles, including the Washington Korean Symphony Orchestra, the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, the Longmont Orchestra and Chorale, the Greeley Chorale, the 2002 Winter Olympics Spirit Band in Salt Lake City, and on international cruise ships. He has taught brass students at public and private schools in Utah, Maryland, and Colorado, and currently is a brass instructor for VCSU's Community School of the Arts. He is also the conductor of the Valley City Civic Orchestra. Adams is active as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and soloist, and is a member of the International Trombone Association and NAfME. He currently lives in Valley City with his wife, three young boys and a daughter, where he also works as a piano technician and does gold-plating for instrument mouthpieces.

Lodgings in Valley City

Click to zoom
A number of hotels and bed and breakfast establishments are available in and near Valley City. Here is a list of addresses for each. Following the list are directions for arriving at the VCSU campus from Interstate 94. These are all approximately the same distance from campus.

1. AmericInn Lodge and Suites (has a nice swimming pool). 280 Winter Show Dr. SE, Valley City. 701-845-5551.

2. Super 8 Motel. 8th Ave. SW and I94, Valley City. 701-845-1140.

3. Wagon Wheel Inn. 455 Winter Show Road, Valley City. (Has a swimming pool) 701-845-5333

To the VCSU campus:
1. Valley City has three exits off I94 so regardless of what direction you come from, take the middle exit.
2. At the end of the ramp, turn down-hill, north, on 8th Ave.
3. Proceed north on 8th Ave. about 500 meters. To the corner of Viking Drive and 8th Ave. At that point the Athletic "Bubble" should be on the left. Turn right onto Viking Drive.
4. Proceed three blocks, over the bridge and onto campus.
5. Continue until the Memorial Student Union is on the left. Turn left at the corner just past the Student Union. Foss Music Hall is located directly at the end of the block, on College St. SW.
6. Park anywhere on any street, or turn in either parking lot east or west of Foss.