LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The smooth sounds of the River City Drum Corp were bursting through the walls of a local recording studio on July 1. The students were recording their first EP.
"This has been vision for about five years," Jailen Leavell said. "The drum corp launched the percussion ensemble in 2013."
Edward White founded the organization for students from West Louisville 28 years ago. He used grants and self-funding to launch the program.
"What we do costs money," White said. "You know, to take classes and going to recitals and all of that, it becomes a money trap. It's a money trap, you know our families are dealing with life issues. You know, do I take you to tap dance or do I pay rent."
White believes decisions like that are why so many young people from West Louisville get involved in crime.
"Often times we see violence in the West End, so I figured this would be good," Leavell said. "We're going to title it, 'This Is How We Do It' because we're showing the alternative to the violence."
Leavell has been in the program since he was seven. He said the drum corp has provided life skills and education beyond music. After every performance, students write an essay about their experience.
"Ultimately, that's preparing you for college," Leavell said. "When your English teacher gives you papers you can say, 'oh in drum corp I used to do this.' You'll already be a couple steps ahead of the game."
The students plan to release their EP sometime in late July or early August.