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  • 26 Nov 2014

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  • 27 Nov 2014

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And the band played on

The Beat Goes On adult marching band plays from Portland to Shanghai


Being 71 is no excuse not to feel like you’re 18 — at least that’s the way Patti Waitman-Ingebresten sees it when she twirls a baton. After more than six decades of perfecting the art, the Portland native still finds just as much joy in the activity as she did at the start.

“I love it. It must give off a lot of endorphins,” she said. “It was so much fun, and it is so much fun. It’s just one of those things.”Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Beat Goes On formed three years ago with the intention of giving forgotten musicians a chance to play again. This weekend, the local band will perform for the third consecutive year in the Multnomah Days Parade.

Waitman-Ingebresten has alternated between being a baton captain and twirler (and both) for numerous bands in the Portland area. Since it formed three years ago, she’s been the baton captain for The Beat Goes On adult marching band and is in charge of making sure about 30 twirlers know what to do.

“We have marching band in our blood and so we love doing it,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll walk down the street, and I’ll just smile and say to myself, ‘Savor this moment. You never know when you won’t get to do it anymore.’”

This Saturday, The Beat Goes On is performing in the Multnomah Days Parade in Multnomah Village, one of Waitman-Ingebresten’s favorite performances each year. Even with a resume that includes parades from across the country, this local tradition remains a pleasure for her because of the crowd’s energy and years of dedication. For band director, president, co-founder and saxophone player Steve Tolopka, the parade is an excellent complement to The Beat Goes On’s vibe.

“We believe in more smiles per mile — Multnomah Village is the perfect example of that,” he said. “It’s kind of the perfect little parade.”

When Tolopka and two others formed the marching band, it was with the idea that people who hadn’t played their instruments in years could come and feel welcome. What resulted was well over 100 active members from across the region coming together to play music all over the country, and even internationally come September. As the only U.S. band participating, The Beat Goes On is traveling to Shanghai, China, to perform in the Shanghai Tourism Festival. To help fund the trip, the band was awarded a Cultural Programming Grant from the U.S. Department of State, as a recognition of its cultural outreach.

“We try to keep all the good parts of marching band that you remember and get rid of all the terrible parts ... The balance point is always somewhere between having fun and being great,” Tolopka said. “The opportunity to take what we do and share it with people on the other side of the globe is amazing.”Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Led by baton captain Patti Waitman-Ingebresten, The Beat Goes On has a fleet of baton twirlers who accompany every musical performance. They perform this weekend in the Multnomah Days Parade.

Ultimately, whether the band is performing at home or abroad, the goal is always to connect with the audience and give the best show possible.

“There are a lot of things that I have a good time doing, but there are not very many things in my life that are joyful — when it’s at it’s best, playing with this band is joyful,” said Tolopka. “We’re having a good time and trying to reflect that to the people we’re playing for.”

Upcoming shows and appearances:

• Saturday, Aug. 16: For the third year in a row, watch The Beat Goes On perform at the Multnomah Days Parade, beginning at Handy Andy’s, 7991 S.W. Capitol Highway. The parade will begin promptly at 10 a.m. and head east.

• Sunday, Aug. 24: The Beat Goes On will be conducted by Oregon Symphony Music Director Carlos Kalmar before a Hillsboro Hops game, 4460 N.W. 229th Ave. The game starts at 1:35 p.m. “There’s about three levels of class between the Oregon Symphony and The Beat Goes On,” said TBGO director Steve Tolopka. “But if Carlos is crazy enough to try it, we’re crazy enough to let him!”