By Maddy Vitale
Mr. Mature America 2018 Bill Quain captured the audience’s adoration during the talent portion in the April pageant at the Ocean City Music Pier with his rendition of “On The Way To Cape May.”
Since then, the Ocean City married father of two, who teaches hotel and restaurant administration at Stockton University, has decided to take his act on the road, well, into the studio to start.
“In April, I performed at Mr. Mature and in June, I performed in Atlantic City for the Ms. New Jersey Senior America Pageant 2018. The good news is I don’t have to squeeze in another show for it to be a multi-venue tour. I did two,” Quain said with a laugh during an interview Sunday afternoon. “The Mr. Mature America Pageant gave me a great opportunity. I love performing in front of people and interacting with the crowd.”
Quain’s winning pageant performance gave him the idea to rekindle his love of performing.
He and his wife, Jeanne, headed to GrassRoots Music Studio on Asbury Avenue, where Bill recorded his version of country star Garth Brook’s song, “Friends in Low Places.” Bill changed the lyrics a bit and called it “I’ve Got Friends in Ocean City.”
The recording was produced by Chris Leibrandt. Quain focused on vocals and put down his ukulele, while classical guitarist Reid Alburger played the ukulele.
“I just have always liked to sing. I was a big fan of the Mummers and I started playing the banjo when I was young,” Quain said. “I come from an Irish family. You either sing or cry.”
In the early 1980s Quain lived for about six years in New Orleans, where he played the banjo in a jazz marching band.
“I missed performing, so as I got older, I decided it was one of the things I wanted to pursue,” he noted.
Quain began taking lessons from Alburger on both the banjo and ukulele with a goal in mind.
“I want to perform at bars, community events and senior centers,” Quain explained. “I would love to get a couple of people together to do some things.”
He said there is a group of ukulele players who get together in Ocean City and he would like to join them.
It seems once Quain decides he wants to do something, he doesn’t just do it – he excels at it.
Somewhere between teaching, pageantry events and being a devoted family man, he managed to write 25 books, mostly books on how to succeed in the business world.
“I have sold nearly three million copies,” he said, adding that he travels as far as Hong Kong for book tours. All of the books are available for purchase on the Internet.
Quain does all of this without the ability to see.
“I started losing my eyesight when I was 14 years old,” he said. “It is part of my story. I often wondered how my life could have been if I could see. Jeanne jokes she will always look like a girl to me. I joke and introduce her as my first wife to keep her on her toes. She is the love of my life.”
He tells people that if he could rise to success despite obstacles, anyone can.
“I’m 66 years old, not that smart and almost totally blind. I tell people, ‘Don’t wait for the perfect,'” he said. “I missed that bus.”
Quain may not be perfect, but he certainly undersells himself. He’s a pageant title holder and an admired professor who can entertain a crowd with his melodic voice while strumming a ukulele.
“I’m having a good time. I love doing creative projects,” he said, adding that he is enjoying attending events as Mr. Mature America 2018. “I’m having so much fun. I want to give back to Ocean City. This town has been good to me.”