Piano Teacher, Students Serenade Downtown Ocean City

first_imgBy MADDY VITALEA horse and carriage clip-clopped along Asbury Avenue while carrying visitors. Shoppers strolled in and out of stores in search of holiday gifts.And Shawn Quigley, a piano teacher in Ocean View, sat down on Saturday at his fully restored 1920 Conway piano to play some Victorian-era festive music for a socially distanced crowd.Several of Quigley’s music students stopped by to perform Christmas favorites to the delight of passersby at the corner of Eighth Street and Asbury Avenue in downtown Ocean City.While this Christmas season in Ocean City is no more typical than on any other Main Street in America amid the COVID-19 pandemic, piano playing and friendly conversations between strangers seemed to make everything a bit more normal, Quigley said.Aleida Bernat, 14, of Ocean View, takes a candy cane after she performs.Quigley said that over the years he has played outside of storefronts on Asbury Avenue, but hasn’t in a few years.This year, he felt he had to.“The kids need something happy. We all do. Playing the Victorian music, playing carols while horse and carriages go down the street, it creates a beautiful atmosphere,” he noted. “People aren’t really surprised to see this in Ocean City. They know Ocean City does these kinds of special things.”The piano playing went from noon to 3 p.m. And from the start, Quigley’s students arrived one by one to perform their special holiday songs.Sarah Bernat, of Ocean View, brought her daughter, Aleida, to play “Carol of the Bells.”When Aleida was through, she hopped up to the applause of the crowd. Quigley opened the piano bench, which was filled with goodies, including handfuls of candy canes.Aleida picked up a candy cane and said, “Today is pretty cool. Since we missed our summer concert because of COVID, it’s great that we at least get to do something.”Passengers riding in a horse-drawn carriage get a look at the Eighth Street mini-concert while passing by on Asbury Avenue.Some of Quigley’s students were pretty serious about their special musical contributions to the audience.Sisters Eme Laut, 12, and 9-year-old Eden each got their turn to perform.Eme played “Oh Christmas Tree” and Eden did her best rendition of “Deck the Halls” as their parents, David and Courtney Laut, videoed the performances.Anna Wisnefski, 12, of Ocean City, and her little brother, Anderson, 8, also performed for an audience with their teacher watching alongside them.Anderson Wisnefski, 8, plays a favorite holiday tune, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” with his teacher Shawn Quigley by his side.Anna played “Silent Night,” while Anderson stuck to the old favorite, “Rudolph the Red- Nosed Reindeer.”Eight-year-old Brooke Fearnhead’s siblings watched, along with her parents, Jamie and Anthony Fearnhead, and her grandparents, as she also played “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”“She’s been playing for two years,” Jamie Fearnhead, a sergeant in the Ocean City Police Department, noted of her daughter. “Her grandparents got her interested in music.”Brooke’s grandparents, Nancy and Tony Fearnhead, watched her performance and clapped. Tony summed up their sentiment, “It’s just beautiful to see.”Gabe Moratelli, 8, of Ocean View, plays a favorite song, “Jingle Bells.”Anna Wisnefski, 12, of Ocean City, performs “Silent Night.” Pianist Shawn Quigley performs in December with student, Brooke Fearnhead, during a free holiday performance in downtown Ocean City.last_img read more

Taking the Fear Factor Out of AI

first_imgFor decades, films like Space Odyssey, War Games, Terminator and The Matrix have depicted the future and what it would be like if artificial intelligence (AI) took over the world. Fast forward to 2019 and AI is quickly becoming a reality. The things we only used to see in the movies are improving our daily lives and we often don’t realize it.We’ve been living with AI assistance for quite some time. We use Waze and Google Maps to help us predict traffic patterns and find the shortest driving routes. We let Roomba navigate our homes and keep our floors clean. We trust flight operators to use auto-pilot while in the air, so they rarely focus on anything other than takeoffs and landings.  Even our data centers are getting smarter with learning technologies that automate workload sharing, data tiering and data movement.   All these functions require AI and are providing us positive experiences. And, we are accepting them into our lives at such a rapid pace, we now are beginning to expect this level of assisted intelligence from the products and services with which we interact.On the flip side, there are many new, broader, more fully autonomous AI applications that really get at the heart of what the sci-fi community has exploited to the point they give us the creeps. Think robot wars, big brother mass surveillance, or the extinction of the human race.  It’s human nature to fear the unknown and the fact that technology fast-tracks innovation faster than the pace that society can change continually opens technology like deep learning up to the fear mongering.  But, I recently learned first-hand that it doesn’t have to be that way with AI and that things first seen as scary or weird can quickly evolve as you see and realize the value they can bring. Once you experience value, that thing becomes normal, and like a drug you want more of it. At that point, is where there will be an obvious separation of products and services I use; those that have fully embraced the latest technology to pivot their offering (think Tesla, AirBNB, Lyft) and those that are racing to catch-up.I recently had the opportunity to interact with Sophia the Robot – the now famous AI-powered robot known for her human-like appearance and behavior.  Using AI, visual data processing and facial recognition, Sophia can imitate human gestures and facial expressions, answer certain questions and make simple conversations on topics she has been trained on. As is the norm with AI, she has been designed to get smarter over time and gain social skills that help her interact with humans, much like other humans would.When I first ‘met’ Sophia, it was awkward. I couldn’t stop staring at her.  But, as we conversed, and I asked her more questions, I was surprised at how quickly I adapted to her being part of our environment. In less than 24-hours, anything I had felt creepy about when first interacting with Sophia, was gone. I was referring to her as a person, making jokes with her, and conversing with her, as if it was normal. And, it was.Watch my conversation with Sophia the Robot just a few hours after meeting herMy point being, AI is not future looking, it is already a big part of our lives.  As I learn more about the power of AI, I also want to help you, our customers, gain a better understanding of how important AI will be to your businesses. I know that by experiencing advanced AI firsthand, like I have, you will gain new perspectives on what’s possible when you turn creepy into cool to help humanity and sustain a competitive differentiation in your business.Most recently Dell EMC been working with AI thought leaders to demystify AI with our Magic of AI series meant to showcase the ‘Art of the Possible’ with the latest machine learning and deep learning techniques.  This series uses first-hand experiences with advanced AI as your muse to help spark ideas about how techniques like video analytics, image detection, and natural language processing can be applied to your industry.  For those of you who weren’t able to join us for the inaugural event in NYC with Sophia the Robot, I’m happy to be able to share some of the digital highlights from the experience. You can watch my video interview above with Sophia or check out the highlight reel from the main event from the GMA studios in Times Square.  If you prefer the live, in-person experience, please register for our next Magic of AI event at the ABC 7 Studios in Chicago on July 23rd with Dr. Poppy Crum, Neuroscientist & Technologist.last_img read more

Tix Now Available for Kristin Chenoweth in My Love Letter to Broadway

first_img Tickets are now on sale to see Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth’s return to the stage in My Love Letter to Broadway. The limited engagement concert is scheduled to begin on November 2 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and will run through November 13.In Love Letter, Chenoweth will perform a handpicked selection of musical theater favorites, including songs from her upcoming album The Art of Elegance, her first album of American Songbook classics. The concert is billed as, “an intimate evening of romance, glamour and laughter.”Chenoweth won a Tony for her performance in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and received nods for originating the role of Glinda in Wicked and for On the Twentieth Century. Other Broadway credits include Promises, Promises. Her many TV credits include an Emmy-winning turn on Pushing Daisies, as well as Glee and The West Wing. Chenoweth’s latest album, The Art of Elegance, will drop on September 23.My Love Letter to Broadway will have music direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and costume design by Christian Siriano.The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre recently played host to Finding Neverland; The Illusionists will play a holiday engagement at the venue from November 25. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is set to begin previews at the theater on March 28. View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Nov. 13, 2016 Related Shows Kristin Chenoweth in ‘My Love Letter to Broadway/The Art of Elegance'(Photo: Gian Di Stefano)center_img Star Files Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway Kristin Chenowethlast_img read more

CUNA follows up Treasury meeting with regulatory relief recommendations

first_img 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to Tresaury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Thursday, thanking him for conducting a roundtable discussions with credit unions earlier this month, and providing additional information about how regulations can be more manageable for credit unions. Treasury conducted the roundtable to gather information as it prepares a paper in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order on core financial regulation principles issued in February.“Credit unions’ ability to provide safe and affordable financial services has been significantly impeded in the last several years by a regulatory scheme rigged to favor the large banks and non-bank financial services providers that can afford to absorb regulatory changes,” Nussle wrote.The letter includes recommendations to streamline regulations for credit unions regarding:Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) procedure and oversight; continue reading »last_img read more