By: Dale King Contributing Writer
The 11th annual Festival of the Arts BOCA has come and gone, but it won’t quickly be forgotten.
Audiences undeterred by gusty winds that rattled the temporary roof of the Mizner Park Amphitheater packed the house night after night to hear musicians, lecturers and an opera, and to view a classic film with the music track wiped off, then added by live performers.
Eight of the 10 festival events were held on the amphitheater stage. Two lecturers made their presentations at the Cultural Arts Center at the south end of Mizner Park.
“With the world premiere of the film, ‘The Pink Panther’ accompanied by a live orchestra, to Sergio Mendes, Joey Alexander and Sarah Chang, this Festival was one of our most diverse and engaging yet,” said Joanna Marie Kaye, the event’s executive director.
“Blending all aspects of culture, multiple generations of talent and pockets of the world, this year’s event was nothing short of spectacular.”
The 11-day experience drew performers from the US and other nations. It kicked off March 2 with a lecture by journalist Jennifer Egan. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis, a New Orleans native, sat in with The Symphonia, Boca Raton, for an evening of music that paid tribute to John Williams and some of his best-known movie themes.
The week continued with music from piano prodigies Joey Alexander from Indonesia and Daniela Liebman from Mexico; violinist Sarah Chang with pianist Daniel Hsu; a performance of the opera, La Boheme and lectures by Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor for the New Yorker magazine; presidential historian Jon Meacham and author Brian Green.
As Blake Edwards’ 1963 film, “The Pink Panther” was being screened on March 11, the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra from Miami played the musical score composed by Mancini himself. The composer’s daughter Monica, made an appearance to sing a couple of her dad’s songs, including Oscar and Grammy awards winner “Moon River.”
Brazilian musician Sérgio Mendes and Brazil 2017 brought some cool jazz tunes to the stage on finale night March 12.
Organizers are already getting ready for Festival of the Arts BOCA 2018, to run from Feb. 23 to March 4 next year.