Provide a structured environment and support system to stimulate youth as community leaders and create a community where live music is enhanced and strengthen through the “Spirit of the Drum”.


River City Drum Corp Cultural Arts Institute, Inc. programs are designed to enhance the development of African American families with children through education, arts, and culture.


Our purpose is to provide opportunities for families to reconnect to vast historical accomplishments of African- Americans in the building American and this information as a foundation rebuilding our families and community.

I Am Because We Are

Journey of the Drum

My Morning Jacket


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  • Due to an overwhelming volume of in-kind performance requests, all in-kind performance inquiries must be made no earlier than 90 days prior to the requested event date. Availability is limited and subject to approval by our Board of Directors.
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RCDC Programming


Pipe Drums: The River City Drum Corp drumming program rises from the foundation of the pipe drums. The pipe drum is our entry level for the memberships connecting them to the Spirit of the Drum through drum making, rhythm development, and composition, RCDC sticking techniques, protocols, peer learning, leadership development and African American cultural traditions.

Drum Line: The Drum Line connects the membership to the traditions, styles, showmanship, and techniques of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Marching Band Drum Line Traditions. The Drum Line introduces the membership to the concepts of musical notations, composition, and sight reading.

The Percussion Ensemble The Percussion Ensemble opens the membership to the world mallet percussive symphonic instruments. The Percussion Ensemble brings the sounds marimbas, xylophones, vibraphones, timpani, gongs, concert cymbals, and chimes. The membership in TPE requires members to become well versed to the art of sight reading, music theory, notation, major and minor scales.

Music Reading is a program designed to give the membership the knowledge required to become a successful member of the percussion ensemble. The participants are given instruction in; major and minor scales, time signature, sight-reading, composition. The skills acquired in the class has proven to very beneficial for working with Don Parker, Percussion Professor at Fayetteville State University and other professional musicians that support the program.


Education Component Personal Writing Narratives/ Culture Class, Music Reading: The Education Component requires the participants to maintain a 2.5 Grade Point Average {GPA} to participate in performances. The 2.5 GPA is an incentive to motivate the children reach a personal goal in areas of academics. The 2.5 GPA benchmark was very successful for the first twelve weeks of the 2014-15 season 37 of 41 student reach the goal. The overall GPA for the group was 3.0 Grade Point Average for group.

The Personal Narratives are designed to build the writing skills of the membership by requiring a written personal narratives word processed to be completed in 48 hours of performances, workshops, cultural events, field trips, and lecture demonstrations. The program is a partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools. Tutoring is designed for children who are having academic challenges that keep them from maintaining the GPA. We have an in house and community tutoring component that is tailored to meet the needs of the students.

Culture Class is the bi-monthly meeting designed to immerse the membership in the contributions that African Americans have made to the development of America in areas of art, music, inventions, politics, and medicine. The challenge has always been the 5% of the families who will not totally support the education component of the program due to time commitment.

The Activities Committee creates a family fun night that is designed as bonding opportunity for the membership, which includes parents and extending family members.

The Institute@ RCDC is a summer work-readiness skills and leadership development program where teens are able to expand their knowledge base in various career sectors based on their professional interests, desire and exposure to post-secondary education options and aptitude. Participants are not only from the current RCDC roster; but also recruited from the community to participate. The program is aimed at students 14-18 who are enrolled in public or private school in Jefferson County and are able to commit to the entirety of the program’s training module. Students must complete 3 weeks of intense training in the areas of: career exploration, social and professional etiquette, types of post­secondary education and leadership development. Attendance is crucial, as they are placed on paid internships with worksite partners of the program. These worksites include: private business, community and civic organizations, government agencies and corporations.

Ed “Nardie” White, RCDC Founder

Ed “Nardie” White, Founder and Executive Director of Louisville’s River City Drum Corps, is a pillar in the city of Louisville, KY, especially as it pertains to educating our youth and participating in community activism. In 1991, he and his wife, the late Zambia Nkrumah, started the River City Drum Corps, a west Louisville nonprofit arts and education based program for at risk youth and families.

The program inspires ethnically diverse children, between the ages of 2 and 18, and their families toward excellence in music, academics and life goals. This non-traditional arts and education concept molds traditional African drumming, percussive music training, performance and cultural education into one focus.