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Ernie Bucio clings to life following massive stroke
Well-known Ceres musician, who has played with a myriad of local musicians and well-known entertainers, is clinging to life in a Modesto hospital following what has been termed a "massive" stroke.

Bucio, 53, remains in a coma at Doctors Medical Center after he was stricken on Monday, Aug. 15 at Gottschalk Music Center which he recently purchased. The well-liked music figure was in the presence of wife Karen Bucio, and business partner Jan Leer.

A musician, band leader and music teacher, Bucio is well-known for his Little Big Band, which performs music from the 1930s and 1940s. The band was founded in 1980 and has performed countless times for the Ceres Concerts in the Park series. Among those who have enjoyed his music are celebrities Carol Channing, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Bob Newhart, Rich Little and Marilyn Borden.

In July, the Bucios purchased Gottschalk Music Center with partners Leer and Nkechi Ikpo. Under different ownership, Bucio worked for close to two decades as the outside sales representative while privately tutoring music students.

Mr. Bucio leads a by-invitation-only Gottschalk Concert Band which played at Carnegie Hall in New York City in March.

Bucio also enjoyed impersonating legendary band leader John Philip Sousa at a show were he led popular classic American march tunes.

During the recent X-Fest, Bucio assembled a band of super hero characters, himself playing Nacho Libre.

Other bands Bucio has been involved in include the Ernie Bucio Latin Jazz Orchestra, the Central Valley Brass Quintet, and the Hilmar Community Band. His New Orleans Travelin' Band trekked to New Orleans' French Quarter Festival for performances and to Sacramento for Jazz Jubilee there. He also helped to organize the first Modesto Jazz Festival in 2009.

Bucio attended Ceres schools in the 1970s. Former teacher Jack Hunter followed Bucio throughout his music career.

"He was one of those guys who would give you the shirt off his back," said Hunter, who enjoyed Bucio's music at his 80th birthday party last October. "He was a staunch devotee to live music and would get up a group and play at the drop of a hat for whatever. He was also notorious among the musicians for calling at the last minute."

Hunter said Bucio rounded up a small group to play two numbers at the Hickman Charter School graduation in honor of one of his music students who was graduating in June.

"That's the kind of guy he was."