The Children's Institute Blog

Guitar Slinger Kicks Off Cafe Concert Series

Posted: Sep 28, 2017 by The Children's Institute

He’s been called “the greatest labor singer in the United States today.” But, on Tuesday, West Virginia musician Tom Breiding wasn’t playing in front of thousands of coalminers-union members. His audience was five classrooms full of Children’s Institute Day School students. And he shined.

Breiding played original material, as well as covers of artists like Glen Campbell, adding a country-ish twang to his down-home folk style. He even sang a piece about acclaimed singer-songwriter Hank Williams.

“You guys are always such a wonderful audience,” said Breiding, making his fourth Children’s Institute appearance, between songs. “This next one is a beautiful song. I’m glad I could share it with you today.”

“He’s good, really good,” said donor Ray Wojszynski, whose support is helping to make this year’s Café Concert series possible, as Breiding strummed an acoustic guitar nearby. “It’s gratifying to be here. It makes me feel good – it really does. That’s why I want to do this, to enrich the kids’ days a little bit.”

It seemed to enrich them more than a little bit. Young attendees clapped loudly between songs and occasionally hooted and hollered in response to Breiding’s lyrics.

After the show, Breiding said playing for a group of children with special needs “is not a lot different” than playing for any other crowd.

“It’s easier because I can really be myself,” Breiding said.

“I am excited about this year’s expanded Café Concert series,” added music teacher Eric Emmons. “We will be giving twice as many students opportunities to enjoy live music and work on life skills associated with music in a public space.”

Did you miss the chance to see Breiding in person at The Children’s Institute? Visit him online at or pick up the soon-to-be-released new CD by Bill Toms and Hard Rain, an eighth-piece band in which Breiding plays guitar. It’s out Oct. 27.

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