Rick Steves is a popular public television host, a best-selling guidebook author, and an outspoken activist who encourages Americans to broaden their perspectives through travel.
Rick Steves, America's leading authority on European travel, teams up with the Cascade Symphony Orchestra and maestro Michael Miropolsky for a musical journey that begins in the United States, and touches down in seven different European countries. The special, taped at the Edmonds Center for the Arts near Seattle, Washington celebrates music's power to stir the patriotic soul. Playing musical tour guide, Steves utilizes his extensive knowledge of European history and culture to help set the context for each piece. Then, the orchestra performs a selection of stirring 19th-century anthems by Romantic-era composers, including Grieg, Smetana, Strauss, Berlioz, Elgar, Wagner and Verdi. Each selection honors a particular nationality, while the finale, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" (Europe's official anthem) pays homage to the continent's motto of "United in Diversity." The music is accompanied by a montage of evocative video images from each country.