SHARECOMMENTMORE

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The University of Florida Gator Marching Band leaves Monday to represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games in London after final rehearsals in Gainesville Sunday.

Performing songs by The Beatles, Queen, and American pop artists, the 230 band members will entertain thousands prior to Opening Ceremony for U.S., Olympic, and other high-ranking officials.

Band members, like Jacksonville native John Gooding, said it's the opportunity of a lifetime.

"One of my lifelong dreams has been to go to England," Gooding said. "To be able to do that with the band and stuff is just an honor and I'm excited about it."

Gatorette captain Myrrhanda Jones is getting her team ready.

"To be able to be given the opportunity to go all the way to London and represent the sate of Florida, the University of Florida, and the USA - it's incredible," she said.

For added encouragement during the final rehearsal Sunday, a special surprise came for the band when Gator Football Coach Will Muschamp cheered them on.

"I can't thank you enough," Muschamp told the marching band. "I wish last year we had played as well as you did," he said as the band laughed.

Associate band director John Watkins said the band's dedication is inspiring, much like the music they're performing.

"Music speaks where words fail," Watkins said. "And it really does show us make a connection with people. Now they have a chance to do that on the largest international stage and so I think they're really looking forward to going and representing the Gator Nation."