LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - With each stroke of a drum, young musicians are beating the odds thanks to their instructor, Ed White.
"I respect him any day, any time," Jordan Allen, a drum students said.
Some of the musicians where once considered troubled youth, but the credit White for helping them find their rhythm.
"He's taught me how to read, rudiments, everything that you can, anything," Allen explained.
Sunday night, White's River City Drum Corps did get plenty of applause, but this time White was celebrated for his work off the stage.
"He takes these young kids and turns them into thriving adults, kids that go on and get their college degrees, come back and work with the community," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.
Fischer handed White the city's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Award during the "Keepers of the Dream" performance, a night honoring the legacy of Dr. King.
It was White who asked the audience what King would think of society today.
"We've got our young boys who are so angry that they're sending each other to the grave and the jail," White told the crowd.
White founded RCDC 22 years ago, witnessing hundreds of children succeed.
"So we can say for that, free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last," White said.