See free preview of Rick Steves’ symphony special

Travel expert Rick Steves, a leading authority on all things Europe, is offering free tickets to preview his yet-to-air national public television special.

His upcoming special, “Rick Steves’ Europe: A Symphonic Journey,” will air on television on Jan. 26 but you can see a free screening on Jan. 7 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

The show was taped before a live audience at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, where Steves teams up with the Cascade Symphony Orchestra to illustrate how music has the power to stir patriotic emotions.

Steves provides the cultural context during the special, sharing his well-honed knowledge of European culture and history while the orchestra performs 19th-century anthems by composers from the Romantic era.

Specific nationalities are celebrated by each selection with composers representing a particular country: Grieg (Norway), Smetana (Czech Republic), Strauss (Austria), Berlioz (France), Elgar (Britain), Wagner (Germany) and Verdi (Italy).

The orchestra concludes its performance by playing the finale, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” the final movement of his 9th Symphony and the European Union’s official anthem.

A montage of video images from Steves’ public television series accompanies the music.

Steves is well-known as a travel authority, and his travel column first appeared in The Herald in the early 1980s.

Steves also is the host, writer and producer of the popular public television series “Rick Steves’ Europe” and a best-selling author of 30 European travel books.

The first screening of “Rick Steves’ Europe: A Symphonic Journey” sold out, so a second screening was added.

The second screening begins at 9 p.m. Jan. 7 at Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N, Edmonds.

Tickets are free. Reserve a seat by calling the ECA box office at 425-275-9595.

The public television special will air at 5 p.m. Jan. 26 on KCTS Channel 9.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424;

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