Top of the morning, Jan. 29, 2014

Last time I caught up with Barry Houser was in the fall at the Esquire for "The News-Gazette Sports Page," where the director of the Marching Illini and his crew entertained at our Monday night radio show. Their next gig is a bit more exotic: a spot in the annual Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 17 in Ireland.

Ever consider playing at Unofficial St. Patrick's Day as a warmup?

I don't think I would have a job here at the University of Illinois any longer if we did something like this. We are excited to play in Dublin where our students can experience all that comes with celebrating the OFFICIAL St. Patrick's Day.

Can the Marching Illini play "Danny Boy"?

The Marching Illini can play anything! Here's to the Best Band in the Land.

If Bono were in the Marching Illini, he'd be ...

A complete rock star! Most likely he would be on the Illini drumline or serving as drum major. Those shades say nothing but drumline cool ..."

Are the Irish OK with "Three In One?"

The Irish have been OK with the incomparable "Three In One" in the past, so this year should be no different. We look forward to playing these original songs that were specifically written for the University of Illinois in 1926 — 10 years before Script Ohio was introduced.

Do you have green uniforms for the occasion?

Ireland will be painted Orange and Blue once the Marching Illini arrive with a traveling party of 300-plus. There will be plenty of green already in the mix, so we plan to stick to the colors that we all bleed.

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