GAINESVILLE, Fla. -

More than 230 members of the University of Florida Gator Marching Band will leave Monday to represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games in London.

Invited to perform at several London locations by the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games and for American VIPs, the Gators are finishing their last-minute rehearsals, packing equipment and prepping for their departure. They return July 31.

The band will complete its final rehearsal Sunday afternoon at Steinbrenner Band Hall on the UF campus.

The band will perform at the British Telecom "London Live" celebration during the games at Victoria Park, adjacent to Olympic Park, entertaining thousands prior to the Opening Ceremony. The tour is slated to end with performances for U.S., Olympic and other high-ranking officials.

"The Gators have been raising funds and working intensely to make this dream a reality for six months, and for many it is the pinnacle of their performance career to date," said Jay Watkins, associate director of bands. "The band is deeply honored by the unique invitations they have received."