The University of Illinois' 360-member marching band is heading south to Texas for the Christmas holiday.
Director Barry Houser told students Monday the entire Marching Illini band and staff will take charter buses to the Dec. 26 Heart of Dallas bowl game to watch the Illini football team play Louisiana Tech. It's the band's first bowl trip since 2011, when 100 members traveled to San Francisco.
A spokesman says the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics will pay for the trip using bowl game proceeds. He says Illini cheerleaders will also make the trip.
Sophomore band member Erica Allender says she would like to spend the holiday with her family but she doesn't mind missing Christmas celebrations to play at her first bowl game