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Public Notices

April 20, 2014

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Band Perry To Launch The New-Look Ryman Auditorium

Originally published: 2012-01-31 11:00:09
Last modified: 2012-01-31 11:12:34



NASHVILLE (AP) -- It has been a history-making year for Greeneville's The Band Perry.

And now the sibling trio will be helping to make more historic memories at the Mother Church of Country Music.

The Ryman Auditorium will be getting a new stage floor, and The Band Perry will be the first act to grace the newly constructed floor.

Work will begin this Saturday on the new stage and continue seven days a week until Feb. 20, when The Band Perry will make their Ryman headlining debut with their show - which sold out in 20 minutes when tickets went on sale back in August.

There were 2,300 tickets available.

On the day of the show's sellout, Kimberly Perry, lead vocalist for the trio that also includes her brothers Reid and Neil, spoke emotionally about headlining the historic Ryman venue in a city that has already given them so much support.

"It's an amazing thing. So much of our creative efforts have come inside Nashville -- and it's the center of our creativity," Perry said.

"We so much revere that (Ryman) stage. And I feel like there's an amazing spirit about that place," she added.

A new stage at Ryman Auditorium is a significant moment in the history of the building known for its significant moments.

Scuffed by the heels of "The King," "The Queen of Soul" and thousands of singers in cowboy boots, scarred by an uncountable stream of road cases and worn by six decades of music history, the Ryman's oak floorboards have reached the end of a very long, very successful run.

"That stage has had a wonderful life," said Steve Buchanan, senior vice president of media and entertainment for Gaylord Entertainment, owners of the Ryman.

The current stage is just the second in the 120-year history of the "Mother Church" after the original was installed in 1901 for a performance of the Metropolitan Opera.

It was laid down in 1951 and has lasted far longer than expected.

The stage was refinished during a renovation in 1993-94 and even then officials knew it would be the last resurfacing.

Today it's heavily scuffed and scarred, its age easily visible from the Ryman's balcony.

The Ryman is still the building most associated with The Grand Ole Opry, though it moved to the Opry House in 1974, and has hosted a number of significant moments in American culture.

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash stood together on those boards and changed music.

Cultures clashed there too when the boo birds took on country rockers The Byrds. Today the Ryman is a much sought-after destination point for musicians of all genres and many shows take on a unique aura.

Dylan recently returned, more than 40 years after "Nashville Skyline."

Taylor Swift sang there recently with her good friends, The Civil Wars.

Keith Urban, making his return from vocal surgery, will be among the last performers on the stage when the Opry plays its final winter date Friday at The Ryman.

Dierks Bentley will play the last stand-alone concert Thursday.

That a busy venue needs a new stage is not necessarily news.

The stage at the Opry's permanent home, for instance, has been changed multiple times over the years with little comment.

But when the Ryman stage is replaced, officials in some sense are altering an icon that is closely watched by sometimes vocal guardians of its cultural significance.

Officials are prepared for questions. They point out the building has gone through many upgrades over the years and that each step was vital to preserving the building.

Most recently the roof was replaced in 2009.

"We're not in the business of getting rid of old things just to get rid of them," Ryman general manager Sally Williams said.

They will retain an 18-inch lip of the blonde oak at the front of the stage, similar to the way the Ryman stage was commemorated in a circle of wood at the new Opry House.

The rest of the stage will be stored and replaced with a medium brown Brazilian teak that will be far more durable and camera friendly.

Beneath the stage, the original hickory support beams will be kept and reinforced with concrete foundations, crossbeams and joist work that will help triple the stage's load capacity.

For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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