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"Flickertail March" ("Spirit of the Land") as adopted in 1975 as the North Dakota State March.
In 1975 the Legislative Assembly passed H.B. No. 1160, which designated James D. Ployhar's Spirit of the Land as the official state march (1975 S.L., ch. 462). Mr. Ployhar had been commissioned by the North Dakota Band Directors Association to compose a march appropriate for official state functions. Spirit of the Land was played in the Capitol's Great Hall by the Jamestown High School Band on the day the bill passed the House of Representatives in February 1975. Once designated as the state march, Spirit of the Land was sent to a publisher. The title happened to be nearly identical to another march. As a result, the publisher requested that a new title be selected. Mr. Ployhar agreed to Flickertail March. In 1989 the Legislative Assembly approved the change.
Along with the official state song, North Dakota officials wanted a song to play during state functions, like inaugurations and speeches. Legislature chose the song Spirit by the Land, written by James D. Ployhar. Ployhar was a graduate of Valley City State University and founder of the Fargo Big Band All Stars. As an active member of the North Dakota music scene, Ployhar's march was an obvious choice. In 1975, Spirit of the Land became the official state march; in 1989, the name of the song was changed to Flickertail March due to copyright issues.
The law designating the "Flickertail March" as composed by Mr. James D. Ployhar as the official North Dakota state march is found in the North Dakota Revised Statutes, Title 54, Chapter 54-02, Section 54-02-09
STATE EMBLEMS, SYMBOLS, AND AWARDS
54-02-09. Adoption of North Dakota state march.
"Flickertail March" as composed by Mr. James D. Ployhar is the North Dakota state march. The North Dakota state march must be played in a manner consistent with the respect and dignity due a state march and may be played at appropriate state functions.