71-year-old savant plays music by heart in NC

BELMONT, NC (WBTV) - The notes most people would play from sheet music, Butch Ziegler has stored in his mind.

He was born 71 years ago, 6 weeks early. Doctors said he had an intellectual disability. "I was about 4 years old when I started playing the piano," said Butch from his home at Holy Angels in Belmont.

His fingers have since made best friends with 88 ivory keys his eyes have never met, because Butch was also born blind. But at Holy Angels, he isn't known for what he can't do, he's celebrated here, for what he can.

"Imagine memorizing a piece, but for him memorizing thousands even tens of thousands of pieces for him is a whole different level," said Jessica Gutierrez, who has an individual music therapy with Butch once a week.

Butch can play most any song by heart, or if he doesn't know it, just one listen and he can pick up enough to play it.

"He's so gifted, and so talented and so humble that it's just really very, very special to have him here," said Regina Moody, President and CEO of Holy Angels.

Butch makes sure nobody leaves his piano side without a smile. And no show closes without a big finish.

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