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This profile was last updated on 11/4/07  and contains information from public web pages.

Director

Mental Health Center
Phone: (705) ***-****  HQ Phone
Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene
The MENTAL HEALTH CENTRE 500 Church Street
Penetanguishene, Ontario L9M 1G3
Canada

Company Description: The Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene aims to operate all of its programs with the best level of quality. A Continuous Quality Improvement Program has been...   more
Background
30 Total References
Web References
A Savant Odyssey: from wmhi.hospital to www.web | Wisconsin Medical Society
www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org, 4 Nov 2007 [cached]
My interest in savants accelerated markedly when Leslie Lemke came to Fond du Lac to give a concert in June, 1980. Leslie is blind, mentally retarded and has cerebral palsy. He has never had a music lesson in his life. Yet at about age 14 he played back flawlessly Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 having heard it but one time as a theme song to a Sunday Night Movie. The miracle of this blind, mentally handicapped lad, with cerebral palsy that disappeared when he sat at the keyboard, playing and singing masterfully from his extensive and complex repertoire was so startling the television crew that had taped the program for broadcast brought the tapes to me, as Director of the local Mental Health Center, to vouch for authenticity of the performance, and to provide, if possible, an explanation.
...
Leslie was a celebrity, and savant syndrome was introduced to a nation. There were numerous follow-up TV appearances.
Then in October, 1983 60 Minutes did what I consider still to be the gold standard piece on savant syndrome, featuring George the calendar calculator, Alonzo the Sculptor and Leslie the musician.
...
But because of the impact Leslie had on him, Mr. Hoffman decided to play the savant, Raymond Babbitt, instead.
And even they can develop their ...
kellygerling.com [cached]
And even they can develop their special capabilities, like Leslie Lemke, a young man with severe organic brain damage who became a concert pianist.
Leslie Lemke - An Inspirational Performance | Wisconsin Medical Society
store.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org [cached]
Leslie Lemke
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Leslie Lemke - An Inspirational Performance
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Leslie Lemke in Concert - April 15, 2011
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Leslie Lemke in Concert - April 15, 2011 Marion University, Fond du lac, WI
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Leslie Lemke plays for his mother
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Leslie Lemke's Last Concert for his Mom
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Leslie Lemke in Concert - April 29, 1986
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Leslie Lemke in Concert - October 13, 2003
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Excerpts from Island of Genius, a 1989 documentary about Leslie Lemke.
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Leslie Lemke in Pittsville
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Dustin Hoffman watched the program and was "moved to tears" by Leslie.
...
The story of Leslie Lemke begins in Milwaukee in 1952. His mother gave him up for adoption at birth. As a complication of his premature birth, Leslie developed retinal problems, then glaucoma, and his eyes had to be surgically removed in the first months of life. There was also brain damage, and Leslie was extremely ill. The county asked May Lemke, a nurse-governess who they knew and trusted, if she would take Leslie into her receiving home, ill as he was and carrying such a dire prognosis. That didn't deter May. At age 52, and having raised five children of her own, May Lemke said she would. And she did.
In a modest cottage on Lake Pewaukee where she lived with her husband, Joe, May loved and tended to Leslie like a frail little flower. She taught him how to swallow so he could eat and how to make sounds so he could communicate. When he was able, May literally strapped his fragile body to hers to teach him how, a step at a time, to walk. She put his hands over hers as she played simple tunes on a piano she got for him. And she sang to him.
Leslie was intrigued with music and rhythm as a child. Once he was found under the bed strumming the springs in a wondrous tune. He also had a remarkable memory and would often repeat verbatim, intonations and all, a whole day's conversation he had overheard from whomever he might be visiting. Leslie played and sang often, but mostly the simple tunes May sang or popular songs from the radio. May wasn't into classical music.
But one evening when Leslie was about age 14, Joe and May watched, and Leslie listened, to a television Sunday Night Movie. In the early morning hours May heard music. She thought Joe had left the television on. She went to turn it off and there was Leslie, playing flawlessly from beginning to end, having heard it but once, tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, which was the theme song for that movie. God's miracle, May said, came into full bloom that night.
As a way of sharing God's gift of Leslie's music, May began having Leslie play some concerts at the county fair, in churches, and at schools. In June 1980 Leslie gave a concert in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Amazed by what they had seen - a young blind man, mentally handicapped, with cerebral palsy, and never having had a music lesson in his life playing what seemed like a limitless repertoire and repeating flawlessly whatever was played to him after a single hearing - a local television station brought tapes to me, as the local mental health authority, to see if there was some explanation for this astonishing ability.
...
Other programs, including Donahue, That's Incredible, and Oprah hosted May and Leslie. The 60 Minutes program aired in October of 1983. Morley Safer considers it one of his favorite 10 stories, and Leslie was part of the 25th Anniversary edition of that show in 1993.
...
Leslie has given concerts throughout the United States. In 1984 he gave a command performance by invitation for the Crown Prince and Princess in Norway and also has been on tour in Japan. Today he continues to give concerts but, just as often, plays for free at a school, a nursing home, a prison, or a church.
In the 1980s, May's health began to fail with Alzheimer's disease. May had vowed that Leslie would never be institutionalized, and he never was. May's youngest daughter, Mary, took both May and Leslie into her home in 1984 as May's Alzheimer's progressed.
...
But after Daddy Joe's death in 1987, May returned to Mary's home to be near Leslie.
...
As May's memory faded, it was only Leslie and his music that could bring those memories to life. "That's my boy," May would say as they sang together. Then when the music stopped, May would fade to silence once again. Just as she had brought Leslie to life, Leslie could bring her to life - a touching payback of sorts. May died at Mary's home on November 6, 1993.
Leslie now lives with May's daughter.
...
There was concern that Leslie might stop his music with May's death, as had happened with some savants in the past. But it was not so with Leslie; he continues to play and perform. Music is Leslie's language, and it has been a conduit toward normalization for him. With his music he is more animated, smiles more, talks more, and one can even see a sense of humor emerging. Now he not only repeats a song accurately after hearing it only once, he improvises and, yes, even composes new songs with his own words and effects. His repertoire seems bottomless, his recall seams boundless. Professional musicians marvel at his innate knowledge of the rules of music. Leslie has never had a music lesson in his life.
Savant syndrome is rare. But even more rare are the so-called prodigious savants - handicapped persons who have skills that would be remarkable even if they were to occur in a normal person. There are probably less than 100 prodigious savants described in this last century. Leslie is one in a billion.
...
It is a gift Mary has chosen to share, rather than exploit, and it is in this spirit that Leslie gives all of his concerts.
...
"Well, I think, because the brain was damaged, a part of the brain - the musical part - God left perfectly healthy and beautiful so Leslie could have a talent. And he got it! He certainly did, and we are it's beneficiaries.
An Update on Leslie Lemke (10-15-03) Many people remember Leslie Lemke from the very memorable 1983 60 Minutes program on savant syndrome, featuring him along with Alonzo the sculptor and George the calendar calculator.
...
Often inquires come asking "Whatever happened to Leslie Lemke? A concert in Appleton, Wisconsin last night (10/13/03) answers that question convincingly, and inspirationally. Leslie Lemke is as talented, as energetic, as marvelous and as touching as ever. An inspired concert audience of 1200 persons will attest to that.
Leslie's concert was the culmination of a week-long event in Appleton, Wisconsin called Celebrating Abilities hosted by a wide group of local Fox Cities organizations spontaneously collaborating, and volunteering, to inspire the community to celebrate the ABILITIES of each person, regardless of their disabilities. Celebrating Abilities included other presentations to school and community groups, as an opportunity for everyone to shine the spotlight on the many contributions disabled persons make throughout the area, and to make the Cities overall a better place to live for persons with special needs.
The concert began with Leslie entering the lighted stage from the darkened wings singing Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound" a capella, and ended with the audience singing and waving goodbye, touched and affected, to the strains of Edelwiess.
...
Tapes of this concert can be purchased by sending two checks - one for $18 made out to Miracle of Love Ministries, (which will be forwarded to Mary and Leslie) and the other for $5 made out to Dr. Treffert for mailing costs.
...
That would make Leslie the Ninth. On a personal level, during this remarkable concert experience, my scientific interest in synapses and circuits was overshadowed and superceded by the human interest that Leslie Lemke's story generates in terms of his unique person and potential, and in terms of how often families, like his, unselfishly and proudly go forward filling the special needs of their loved one, relishing and focusing so zealously those talents, attributes and a-bilities that are present even if some other skills are absent or compromised. As to the scientific question, May answered it this way: "Well, I think the brain was damaged. But a part of the brain-the musical part-God left perfectly healthy and beautiful so Leslie could have a talent. And he got it!"
He certainly did, and we are its beneficiaries.
A 28-minute broadcast quality VHS videotape produced by the Weyerhaeuser Corporation featuring Leslie Lemke in a 1986 concert is available. It contains the story and pictures of Leslie's early life with his foster mother, May Lemke, as related by May'
Wisconsin Medical Society - Savant Profile, Leslie Lemke
www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org, 26 April 2007 [cached]
Leslie LemkeWisconsin Medical Society - Savant Profile, Leslie Lemke
...
Leslie LemkeInspired Performer
...
Leslie LemkeInspired Performer
...
Leslie Lemke: An Inspirational Performance
...
Leslie Lemke in Concert, April 1986
...
Leslie Lemke in Concert , April 29, 1986
...
Leslie Lemke in Concert, October 2003
...
Leslie Lemke in Concert , October 13, 2003
...
Excerpts from Island of Genius, a 1989 documentary about Leslie Lemke.
...
Dustin Hoffman watched the program and was "moved to tears" by Leslie.
...
The story of Leslie Lemke begins in Milwaukee in 1952.His mother gave him up for adoption at birth.As a complication of his premature birth, Leslie developed retinal problems, then glaucoma, and his eyes had to be surgically removed in the first months of life.There was also brain damage, and Leslie was extremely ill.The county asked May Lemke, a nurse-governess who they knew and trusted, if she would take Leslie into her receiving home, ill as he was and carrying such a dire prognosis.That didn't deter May.At age 52, and having raised five children of her own, May Lemke said she would.And she did.
In a modest cottage on Lake Pewaukee where she lived with her husband, Joe, May loved and tended to Leslie like a frail little flower.She taught him how to swallow so he could eat and how to make sounds so he could communicate.When he was able, May literally strapped his fragile body to hers to teach him how, a step at a time, to walk.She put his hands over hers as she played simple tunes on a piano she got for him.And she sang to him.
Leslie was intrigued with music and rhythm as a child.Once he was found under the bed strumming the springs in a wondrous tune.He also had a remarkable memory and would often repeat verbatim, intonations and all, a whole day's conversation he had overheard from whomever he might be visiting.Leslie played and sang often, but mostly the simple tunes May sang or popular songs from the radio.May wasn't into classical music.
But one evening when Leslie was about age 14, Joe and May watched, and Leslie listened, to a television Sunday Night Movie.In the early morning hours May heard music.She thought Joe had left the television on.She went to turn it off and there was Leslie, playing flawlessly from beginning to end, having heard it but once, tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, which was the theme song for that movie.God's miracle, May said, came into full bloom that night.
As a way of sharing God's gift of Leslie's music, May began having Leslie play some concerts at the county fair, in churches, and at schools.In June 1980 Leslie gave a concert in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.Amazed by what they had seen , a young blind man, mentally handicapped, with cerebral palsy, and never having had a music lesson in his life playing what seemed like a limitless repertoire and repeating flawlessly whatever was played to him after a single hearing , a local television station brought tapes to me, as the local mental health authority, to see if there was some explanation for this astonishing ability.I explained that this was truly extraordinary, very rare circumstance called the savant syndrome , islands of genius in an otherwise severely mentally handicapped person.This was a condition I was familiar with and had become interested in when running a Children's Unit in a hospital in Wisconsin.
Leslie LemkeThere happened to be a reporter in that meeting, and the wire service picked up the story of this remarkable young man and his equally remarkable mother.
...
Other programs, including Donahue, That's Incredible, and Oprah hosted May and Leslie.The 60 Minutes program aired in October of 1983.Morley Safer considers it one of his favorite 10 stories, and Leslie was part of the 25th Anniversary edition of that show in 1993.
...
Leslie has given concerts throughout the United States.In 1984 he gave a command performance by invitation for the Crown Prince and Princess in Norway and also has been on tour in Japan.Today he continues to give concerts but, just as often, plays for free at a school, a nursing home, a prison, or a church.
In the 1980s, May's health began to fail with Alzheimer's disease.May had vowed that Leslie would never be institutionalized, and he never was.May's youngest daughter, Mary, took both May and Leslie into her home in 1984 as May's Alzheimer's progressed.
...
But after Daddy Joe's death in 1987, May returned to Mary's home to be near Leslie.
...
As May's memory faded, it was only Leslie and his music that could bring those memories to life."That's my boy," May would say as they sang together.Then when the music stopped, May would fade to silence once again.Just as she had brought Leslie to life, Leslie could bring her to life , a touching payback of sorts.May died at Mary's home on November 6, 1993.
Leslie now lives with May's daughter.
...
There was concern that Leslie might stop his music with May's death, as had happened with some savants in the past.But it was not so with Leslie; he continues to play and perform.Music is Leslie's language, and it has been a conduit toward normalization for him.With his music he is more animated, smiles more, talks more, and one can even see a sense of humor emerging.Now he not only repeats a song accurately after hearing it only once, he improvises and, yes, even composes new songs with his own words and effects.His repertoire seems bottomless, his recall seams boundless.Professional musicians marvel at his innate knowledge of the rules of music.Leslie has never had a music lesson in his life.
Savant syndrome is rare.But even more rare are the so-called prodigious savants , handicapped persons who have skills that would be remarkable even if they were to occur in a normal person.There are probably less than 100 prodigious savants described in this last century.Leslie is one in a billion.
...
It is a gift Mary has chosen to share, rather than exploit, and it is in this spirit that Leslie gives all of his concerts.
...
"Well, I think, because the brain was damaged, a part of the brain , the musical part , God left perfectly healthy and beautiful so Leslie could have a talent.And he got it!"He certainly did, and we are it's beneficiaries.
An Update on Leslie Lemke (10-15-03)Many people remember Leslie Lemke from the very memorable 1983 60 Minutes program on savant syndrome, featuring him along with Alonzo the sculptor and George the calendar calculator.
...
Leslie Lemke is as talented, as energetic, as marvelous and as touching as ever.
...
The concert began with Leslie entering the lighted stage from the darkened wings singing Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound" a capella, and ended with the audience singing and waving goodbye, touched and affected, to the strains of Edelwiess.
...
Tapes of this concert can be purchased by sending two checks , one for $18 made out to Miracle of Love Ministries, (which will be forwarded to Mary and Leslie) and the other for $5 made out to Dr. Treffert for mailing costs.
...
That would make Leslie the Ninth.On a personal level, during this remarkable concert experience, my scientific interest in synapses and circuits was overshadowed and superceded by the human interest that Leslie Lemke's story generates in terms of his unique person and potential, and in terms of how often families, like his, unselfishly and proudly go forward filling the special needs of their loved one, relishing and focusing so zealously those talents, attributes and a-bilities that are present even if some other skills are absent or compromised.As to the scientific question, May answered it this way: "Well, I think the brain was damaged.But a part of the brain-the musical part-God left perfectly healthy and beautiful so Leslie could have a talent.And he got it!"
He certainly did, and we are its beneficiaries.
A 28 minute broadcast quality VHS videotape produced by the Weyerhaeuser Corporation featuring Leslie Lemke in a 1986 concert is available.It contains the story and pictures of Leslie's early life with his foster mother, May Lemke, as related by May's daughter, Mary Parker, with whom Leslie now resides.
...
Included also is a portion of the memorable 1983 60 Minutes program which featured Leslie, the pianist, along with Alonzo, the sculptor, and George, the Calendar Calculator.
Wisconsin Medical Society - A Savant Odyssey
test.wismed.org, 22 June 2006 [cached]
Leslie LemkeInspired Performer
...
Leslie LemkeInspired Performer
...
My interest in savants accelerated markedly when Leslie Lemke came to Fond du Lac to give a concert in June, 1980.Leslie is blind, mentally retarded and has cerebral palsy.He has never had a music lesson in his life.Yet at about age 14 he played back flawlessly Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 having heard it but one time as a theme song to a Sunday Night Movie.The miracle of this blind, mentally handicapped lad, with cerebral palsy that disappeared when he sat at the keyboard, playing and singing masterfully from his extensive and complex repertoire was so startling the television crew that had taped the program for broadcast brought the tapes to me, as Director of the local Mental Health Center, to vouch for authenticity of the performance, and to provide, if possible, an explanation.
...
Leslie was a celebrity, and savant syndrome was introduced to a nation.There were numerous follow-up TV appearances.
Then in October, 1983 60 Minutes did what I consider still to be the gold standard piece on savant syndrome, featuring George the calendar calculator, Alonzo the Sculptor and Leslie the musician.
...
But because of the impact Leslie had on him, Mr. Hoffman decided to play the savant, Raymond Babbitt, instead.
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