Tag Archive | "TECHNOLOGY"

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Markee gets a reboot as ‘A Ridenour Studio’

Posted on 03 October 2019 by LeslieM

By Diane Emeott

New owners of Markee, Keith Ridenour and Derek Assaf, recently back from building a new facility in Tennessee, acquired Markee Music from Mark Begelman in May.

Guitarist, songwriter and producer Keith and bass player and engineer Derek Assaf have been involved at Markee since its construction in 2010.

Ridenour got interested in playing guitar when he and his drummer brother Randy were kids watching a band rehearse in their living room.

“We would watch them rehearse, absorbing every fiber of the music and wanting to emulate them — and gravitated to playing. One year for Christmas, we got used drums and a used guitar! Our dad used to run dances at the old Chamber Building for the Deerfield Beach Jaycees. He used to run them at the Deerfield fishing pier as well.”

Ridenour’s father Ray also wrote poetry — inspiring Keith’s later songwriting ability.

Keith and Randy went to Deerfield Beach High School and played all the dances, including Homecoming, Sadie Hawkins … and all over Broward County, Miami-Dade County and West Palm Beach.

“We were in a band called Black Watch,” said Keith. “I was able to record my first record as a teenager, at age 17, at Mike Pinera’s studio in Miami.”

(Other bands Ridenour has played with include Harvest, a Southern Rock band; Uproar, a Pop Rock band; Razor Red, a Pop Metal all original band, and, most recently, Black Water River, a Doobie Brother’s Tribute Band.)

In 1993, Keith and a silent partner built Ridenour Studio in Oakland Park “where everyone from Ricky Martin and Aerosmith to Johnny Depp, Foreigner and Steve Winwood would play.”

Keith sold that Ridenour Studio in 2003 to move to Nashville where, for the next eight years, he continued songwriting and producing.

As CD sales became less prevalent in 2009 and 2010 (with songs available online), Keith decided to come back to South Florida to open Markee studio with former President and CEO of Office Depot Mark Begelman – who started Mars Music in Ft. Lauderdale in 1996 and later sold it.

At the end of 2017, Keith and Derek went back to Nashville. In 2018, they built ‘A Ridenour Studio’ in Murfreesboro, TN, a suburb two miles from Nashville. It caters to music students from nearby Middle Tennessee State University (MDSU), as well as the prestigious local talent pool of legendary Nashville, also known as “Music City.”

In May 2019, Keith and Derek returned to Deerfield to buy Markee from Begelman.


As a one-stop venue for all things musical, Markee offers:

Music Lessons – In its three soundproof music lesson studios, Markee provides professional lessons on guitar, bass, piano, drums, vocals, technology and songwriting by highly skilled musicians who all have a wealth of band experience.

Rehearsal Studios – Known as ‘the finest rehearsal space in South Florida,’ Markee offers six, fully-equipped, 342 sq. ft. soundproof rehearsal studios.

Recording Studio – The state-of-the art recording studio is fully equipped with Pro Tools HD and Logic 10. From Focusrite to Genelec, Markee has what it takes to record any genre of music, from Hip Hop to Gospel to Rock ‘n Roll.

Markee Performance Room: The recording studio adjoins a beautiful 875 sq. ft, fully-equipped performance room with a six-piece DW drum kit and 24-channel soundboard, perfect for full band-based recording sessions, recitals and other performances.

What’s new

Keith and Derek are in the process of upgrading all the gear and equipment at Markee, ‘A Ridenour Studio,’ in Deerfield. This includesall new drum kits in the Rehearsal and Recording studios; guitar and bass amp[lifiers]; all new vocal monitors; all new mics; cabling and a new console in the recording studio.

A new venture for Markee is offering Backline Rentals, which literally means all of the back line of musical equipment that typically appears onstage when a band plays. For example, guitar amp(s), bass amp, drums, keyboard, microphones, percussion.

Whether you need a guitar amp, bass amp, drum kit, percussion or instruments, Markee has it to rent. Keith said he and Derek were recently in talks with Pompano Beach Amphitheater about Backline Rental, as well as all other surrounding cities.

Special deals

Lesson Special – Buy three lessons, get one free ($30 per half hour, $55 per hour).

Recording Special – A Markee customer exclusive: Recording package: five hours. Get four hours of recording time plus one hour of set-up time to record up to three songs.

What Markee recommends:

Set up and mic-ing begins one hour prior to playing

You arrive 15 minutes prior to playing (for personal set-up)

Sound check 20 minutes

Recording tracks: 1 hour 10 minutes

Markee engineer mixing: 2 ½ hours

Walk out with a CD!

Regular Price: $375. Markee Customer: $262, which equals a 30 percent savings!

*If you need or desire more time, Markee will discount the regular rate of $69 per hour down to $60.

For more information, call Markee at 954-794-0033 or visit www.markeemusic.com.

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Innovation Boca New Innovation Strategist

Posted on 15 August 2019 by LeslieM

Pedro Moras networking at a Brazilian Business Group event.

By Karen Lustgarten

Just three months into the newly-created position of Innovation Strategist for the newly-created Boca Raton Innovation Office, Pedro Moras is in a whirlwind of meetings with city officials, heads of different departments, representatives of organizations, citizens, the start-up community, the business community and leaders of Smart cities in other states and countries. He’s in the information gathering stage, researching to determine where Boca Raton lies as a technology hub on the Smart city spectrum.

His input into Boca’s existing technology and innovation ecosystem is coming from various sectors to identify gaps, strengths, where the city needs to improve and where residents want it to be. At this stage, he’s determining what the city needs to do and the period of time to get there in order to champion Boca Raton as a Smart city and an innovative ecosystem attracting talent.

“The time it will take, the investment it will take, the impact it will have in the community and how do all these things interconnect” is part of the goal setting said Moras. “I didn’t want to come into this position as Innovation Strategist with an arrogant approach saying this is what the city should be doing. I’d rather take a step back, learn, get feedback and we start building a strategy for everyone.”

Boca Raton

Smart City goals

The Smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT) and various physical devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) network to make city operations and services more efficient, and to connect to citizens. Surveillance, automated transportation, smarter energy management systems, water distribution, urban security and environmental monitoring are examples of IoT applications for Smart cities.A Smart city would thus be a city government that not only possesses ICT technology, but has also implemented this technology in a manner that positively impacts the quality of life to make a community more livable.

Smart cities that Moras admires include San Diego, Seoul, Singapore and New York City, “…which is evolving in an interesting way by how they are merging Smart city and the start-up ecosystem,” he noted.

In cities like Hong Kong, technology applications, such as sensors and analytics around air quality, is a major priority because of their high air pollution issue. In Boca Raton, air pollution is important, but he said we don’t have a compelling issue about air quality.

“As we continue our research, one of the goals is to understand and prioritize the unique needs of our city so that we can begin mapping out which Smart city applications and technology make the most sense for Boca,” he said, saying that one major goal is creating a holistic Smart city strategy. Based on early assessments, Moras sees mobility (transportation and traffic) and green technology as important areas of focus here.

He noted that Boca is using quite a bit of technology — sensors in traffic lights, gathering data points.

“Of all the technology we have in the city, how do we bring in that data in a holistic manner and create an intelligent system that allows us to make sense of all that data in order to make better decisions?” he asked.

He said there are many systems in the city being used effectively“…but they are pretty much like silos [isolated from other systems]. So how do we make all these technologies talk to each other?” Some of the integration is already happening he said.

“When we talk about Smart city, we are specifically asking what are the gaps in the city, where do we want to be and what are the projects that are going to get us there? Then, we bring in the right players who we met with across the city and externally. We want to take the mission and vision created and manifest them into something visual where we can see what Boca Raton will look like over the next 10 to 15 years and start building a clear path to getting there. We’re at that stage right now,” he said.

For Boca Raton to be a technology hub, there needs to be an interconnection of things.

“We started talking about the concept of creating a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. A big piece of that is engaging the start-up community, and how do we make the start-up community stronger? How do we give the right resources and funding for the start-up community and define what types of start-ups we want to attract into our environment? So there’s a lot of strategic work that needs to happen,” he said.

Entrepreneurial emphasis

Pedro Moras is familiar with entrepreneurial start-ups. Born in Brazil and raised in South Florida, he will be tapping into his experience to help further grow the city’s start-up and innovation culture, and promote Boca Raton as a Smart city — an innovation and technology hub.

Prior to his new position, Moras co-founded a successful pet food technology start-up (PetMio) that utilizes advanced artificial intelligence technology to create customized pet nutrition products. He was managing partner at the Konnected Minds Group, a Miami-based innovation consultancy, and was a founding member of the Transformational Innovation Group at Jarden Consumer Solutions (now Newel Brands), a corporate new ventures group focused on new product and business opportunities.

In leading the development of Boca Raton’s Smart City and innovation ecosystem strategy, Moras says he has a lot to unpack beginning with researching Boca’s existing situation. Innovations are happening here he said; he is seeking details about them and areas for improvement.

“Understanding this will allow us to create a detailed Smart city vision and strategy,” said Moras.

Karen Lustgarten is president of Multi-Media Works, a multiple award-winning media company specializing in video, PR, print and social media with offices in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. She founded a newspaper in Washington, DC, was a syndicated columnist and a bestselling author. www.multi-mediaworks.com.

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CLERGY CORNER: Away in a Smartphone

Posted on 08 December 2016 by LeslieM

Legend states that ostriches bury their head in the sand when frightened. While this is a myth, we humans have a similar and very real coping mechanism for boredom: We bury our heads in the proverbial sands of technology, namely the smartphone.

Nonetheless, I recognize the significant value of such a device. It is not the enemy. This week, the Life. Church YouVersion Bible App surpassed 250 million downloads worldwide. Now virtually wherever a screen exists there is a way to connect with God’s Word. However, while we have an unprecedented capability to share the Gospel from our smartphone, say for example through social media, there is less sharing of the Gospel story that reveals our brokenness, and need of a savior, and more of the illusion that we’ve got it all together. We don’t need Jesus; we need likes.

Comedian Louis C.K. wisely notes that the cell phone has robbed us of our ability to be still — to be alone. He’s says that’s why when you look around, everyone is texting and driving, which for teenage drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is six times more deadly than driving while intoxicated.

He said, “People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because people don’t want to be alone for a second.”

How important is it to find times of solitude? Luke 5:16 states that “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Prior to preaching in Galilee, Jesus woke early and “went out to an isolated place to pray” Mark 1:35. Other times we read that He “prayed to God all night” Luke 6:12. And before He would be betrayed by Judas, Jesus “knelt down and prayed” experiencing such agony that “His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” Luke 22:41; 44. It was in this time alone that Jesus experienced rich and meaningful intimacy with the Father, becoming acutely aware of the needs of the world and gaining the necessary strength needed to fulfill His purpose of rescuing humanity.

What if Jesus had not sought retreat for prayer and neglected — or had been too weak or burnt out — to fulfill His call? Has the light of a screen become a distraction that has darkened our capacity to be the light of the world? Are we so uncomfortable alone — actually desiring distractions — that we’ve become blinded to the needs of those around us—our light covered (Matthew 5:14-16)?

Left unchecked, such distractions cheat us from time alone with God that strengthens us, prevents burnout and invigorates our desire to actively share the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 7:35 Paul challenges us “to do whatever will help [us] serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.” Why? Because the stakes are too high to casually dismiss. What are the stakes? If you truly believe in God’s Word, eternal damnation is at stake—everyone from the barista who serves us your cup of joe to the guy who cuts us off in traffic, Scripture states “For the wages of sin is death”—separated from God forever (Romans 6:23).

Famous magician and atheist Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller, after having been approached by an audience member that he felt was genuinely concerned for his eternity, once said, “If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life… how much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

So here we are, with the greatest resource to share this message of everlasting life and we use it to keep our heads buried from the world around us — avoiding the discomfort of being alone. Let us — me included — take a cue from Jesus, that we fight for time alone with the Father recognizing that “life is too short and our purpose to great” (to quote Craig Groeschel) to allow the distractions of smartphone — or whatever our chosen vice — to keep us from being the Body of Christ. Heaven and Hell hang in the balance.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments he can be reached at cj@deerfieldfirst.com.

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