Campus band embarking on European trip

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By Colleen Vest

by Colleen Vest

staff writer

Members of the Marching Illini are packing their bags and instruments, crossing the Atlantic Ocean and spending their spring break in Ireland and England.

The band members are performing and traveling in Galway and Dublin, Ireland, and in London from this past Thursday through March 21.

The band members will be marching in parades, including Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and holding a short concert, said Pete Griffin, director of the Marching Illini. The short concert will be in Galway, about 140 miles or three hours west of Dublin, Ireland’s capital and largest city.

“This will be the first time we’re going to lead the parade,” Griffin said. “It’s the first time a non-Irish band has ever led the Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”

The band members will also be given the chance to spend some free time in London.

“We’ve got a couple sightseeing tours planned that the whole group is going to be doing,” said Andy Johnson, junior in Business and baritone player for the Marching Illini.

Johnson said members are going to see live shows in London’s theaters, visit the various museums and do some sightseeing during the band’s two free days in London.

This is Johnson’s first time on the trip even though Griffin said the band has been going for the last five years.

“I know a lot of people are excited about this,” Johnson said.

“It’s an opportunity that not a lot of people get as college students, to go over and spend spring break abroad and be able to perform over there and really just be able to take in the culture and have that extra time to do whatever you want.”

Griffin and Johnson said this trip is a great chance to travel to different countries and perform in international parades. Everyone who is participating is really excited, they added.

“If anyone ever gets the opportunity to do something like this, it’s once in a lifetime and something you shouldn’t pass up,” Johnson said.