Jazz helps Nick Regine, of Somers Point, stay in the moment.

It’s improvisational, so the same song sounds different each time it’s played, he said.

Focusing on the present helps him deal with his multiple sclerosis. He was diagnosed with MS in 1989 and has seen a steady decline in his physical ability.

“I have to use a cane almost all the time now,” said the 62-year-old president of the Somers Point Jazz Society. “But you can’t let it get you down. You have to do those things that are life-affirming.”

For the former Somers Point recreation director, that means exercising and organizing community events.

“I go to the gym. ... I’m in charge of Restaurant Week in Somers Point. Down time doesn’t work for me,” he said. “If I don’t have something that wakes me up at 3 a.m., I’m not living.”

His latest project is a jazz and wine fundraiser for both the jazz society and the National MS Society.  He’s working with Michael Bray, 33, owner of Passion Vines wine shops. Bray’s mom, Jayne, 62, of Somers Point, is wheelchair-bound from the disease, which damages the myelin coating on nerve fibers.

Tenor saxophone master Michael Pedicin, who has a doctoral degree in cognitive and creative arts and is the head of the jazz studies program at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, will perform with his quartet. Pedicin said studies show  music promotes healing.

If You Go:

The Right Notes evening of wine and jazz, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 11, Greate Bay Country Club, Somers Point. Tickets $75 at Passion Vines in Somers Point Plaza and 3013 Ocean Heights Ave., Egg Harbor Township; or visit MoveforMS.org.

Yale program

 Felix Contreras, of Galloway Township, a biology major at Atlantic Cape Community College, was the only community college student in the nation selected to attend this year’s six-week Yale Summer Medical and Dental Education Program. It accepts 80 students from underrepresented groups and prepares them to apply to medical school, an Atlantic Cape spokesperson said.

Contreras, 22, is involved with the Men of Atlantic Cape Community College (MAC) and Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) programs. MAC’s goal is to increase graduation rates of black and Latino males. The EOF program assists low-income residents.

Brain illness

Congressman Patrick Kennedy will speak about brain illness at the Brigantine Lions Club meeting 4 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Links of Brigantine. Contact Steve Satz at ssatz@aol.com or 609-402-6391.

 

More stories to tell

Michelle Brunetti Post writes about the lives, careers and good deeds of South Jersey residents Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays in ‘Everyone Has a Story.’ To share your story, call 609-272-7219 or email MPost@pressofac.com