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Work crew begins removal of Ryman Auditorium stage
Workers begin removing 61-year-old Ryman Auditorium stage as country music shrine is renovated
By The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) ' Workers have begun stripping away history at Ryman Auditorium.

A crew began gently removing the National Historic Landmark's 61-year-old oak floorboards with pry bars Saturday morning. That's the first step in a two-week renovation to give the storied "Mother Church" of country music a new Brazilian teak stage.

An 18-inch strip of blonde oak will be left at the front of the stage to commemorate the auditorium's history. The teak, already stacked in a corner, is slightly darker.

Dierks Bentley talked fondly of the stage during the final standalone concert Thursday. He placed a piece of duct tape over a few loose boards for a mock repair. Keith Urban, Charley Pride and Steve Wariner were among the final performers to walk the floorboards Friday during a Grand Ole Opry performance.

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