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Festival of the Arts Boca is 10 days of music, dance and ideas

The eighth annual Festival of Arts Boca returns to Mizner Park for 10 days of music, dance and ideas.

Violinist Itzhak Perlman opens the festival on March 6 with the Festival Orchestra Boca conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos. Also on this year's lineup: performances by Forte, a trio from "America's Got Talent," and Cirque de la Symphonie with classical music.

Charlie Siemon, co-founder of Festival of the Arts Boca, said it was his "aspiration to present a quality festival."

Since the first festival in 2007, Siemon has wanted young families to be introduced to the world of arts in a casual and intimate environment.

The Authors & Ideas program will feature talks by six authors, followed by book signings.

Historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin will speak at 7 p.m. March 6 about her latest book, "The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism."

"The Bully Pulpit" chronicles Roosevelt and Taft, and their tarnished friendship. Goodwin said all of her books examine what makes a person a good leader.

"Looking at, on a human level, the characters in the book, their relationships are pretty emotional," Goodwin said. "Teddy and Taft's ruptured friendship, their two wives…I think it's hopefully an emotional human story about relationships that get strengthened and then get ruptured and then reconcile in the end."

Director Steven Spielberg turned Goodwin's "A Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" into the 2012 film "Lincoln," starring Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis.

This is Goodwin's fourth year as a festival speaker. When she came to Mizner Park for her first festival, she thought Boca would be a great place for her and her husband, Richard Goodwin, to live during the winter.

"[Festival of the Arts Boca] does a great job with the combination of music and lectures and dance and people speaking about different kinds of things. And the amphitheater is a great place for it, so it's been fun to be a part of it," said Goodwin, whose primary residence is in Concord, Mass.

Barbara Schmidt, spiritual teacher, gave a lecture Sunday on Vicktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning," the 1959 memoir from the Holocaust survivor. For 14 years, Schmidt has taught meditation at Florida Atlantic University's Boca campus. As part of the class, she did a study of Frankl's book, which sparked the idea to use it for the festival.

"[The festival] is really an incredible opportunity for me to share one of my greatest passions," Schmidt said, "and that's taking these great masters and great books ... and see how they can try to help our lives and how can we learn from them."

Schmidt partnered with the Peace Studies Program at FAU in 2001 to promote inner peace, giving lectures and hosting workshops, and bringing in guest speakers like the Dalai Lama. Schmidt founded the nonprofit Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life three years ago, a spiritual learning center.

This is the first year Schmidt will be giving a lecture at the festival, but she and her husband have financially supported the event because of their passion for the arts.

"The Festival of Arts Boca is a place to nourish your mind and your heart, your soul," Schmidt said. "And to really have all of the artistic talent under one roof is incredible."

If you go

What: Festival of the Arts Boca

Where: Schmidt Family Centre for the Arts at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, and Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton.

When: March 6-15

Cost: $20-$125 (price varies per event)

Info: 561-368-8445 or

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