River City Drumbeat

(Rochester, NY) — River City Drumbeat is a powerful story of music, love, and legacies told by the members of a Black youth drum corps in Louisville, Kentucky. When the founder steps down, a young alum whose life was saved by the drumline rises to mentor the next generation in the face of systemic injustices. River City Drumbeat airs Thursday, June 17, 2021, at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV. 

For nearly three decades, Edward “Nardie” White has led an after-school community drum corp (River City Drum Corp) in Louisville, Kentucky, drawing on Pan-African culture and music to reach and mentor youth in his West End neighborhood. Now in his sixties, Mr. White feels he must step down to allow the drum corp to evolve with a new generation. River City Drumbeat is the story of Mr. White’s final year and the training of his successor Albert Shumake, a young man whose troubled life was transformed by the drumline. 

Over the years, the drumline has been a lifeline for many children navigating personal struggles and adversity, including high school seniors Imani and Jailen, and pre-teen Emily. During this transitional year, Mr. White and Albert reflect on their personal tragedies and triumphs as well as the legacy Mr. White and the drumline group created against the backdrop of the American South. With compelling characters, evocative visuals, and powerful drumline performances, River City Drumbeat is a testament to the impact of art, love, and community on the lives of three generations and their power for building purposeful resilience. 

Photo: A young man and his friends stand proudly in their drum corp uniforms 
Credit: Courtesy of River City Drumbeat 

A young man and his friends stand proudly in their drum corp uniforms
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