Karen Dunbar Bucio
In January of this year, Modesto Unplugged’s concert series moved to its new home, the cozy recital hall at the Gottschalk Music Center. This music store and school has been in its downtown Modesto location for 65 years, the past five of which have been under the co-ownership of our friend Karen Dunbar Bucio.
Karen grew up in Indiana, where she graduated from South Bend Central High School (featured in the film 'Hoosiers') and attended the Indiana University School of Music before relocating to the Modesto area, where she graduated from CSU Stanislaus. She taught band at Grace Lutheran School in Modesto for 14 years, and has long been active with the concert-band scene of the area.
Karen and her husband Ernie were founding members the Gottschalk Music Center Concert Band and the Ceres Concerts in the Park Committee. Ernie also spent many years as a bandleader and music educator, and in 2001 was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Modesto Area Music Awards. He was also a recipient of the Stanislaus Arts Council Excellence in Music Award.
In 2011, they bought the Gottschalk Music Center from C.K. Gottschalk. Tragedy struck later that year, when Ernie passed from this life after suffering a stroke. Every year since, the Ernie Bucio Scholarship Fundraiser concert has been held at the Barkin' Dog Grill, featuring bands which Ernie had played in or directed, among others.
In addition to being an owner of Gottschalk Music Center, along with Jan Leer and Nicky Richardson, Karen manages the Gottschalk Music Center Studios, through which music lessons on band and orchestra instruments, guitar, bass and drums are offered by many qualified instructors. The building also holds larger rooms used for rehearsals by youth bands and more. The Recital Hall can accommodate rehearsals and performances of different sorts, and is available for rentals. Karen also produced the Gottschalk Chamber Music Series and the Gottschalk Chamber Music Hour cable TV show for several years, and is a founding member and leader of the Camaraderie Quintet.
In the summertime, Gottschalk's Summer Music Academy classes will be offered on guitar, hand drums, ukulele, band, orchestra, jazz band, and mariachi; and also exploring the instruments, allowing students to get a taste of the different instruments before committing to a specific one.
This year’s Ernie Bucio Scholarship Fundraiser will be held on Sunday afternoon March 13 at the Barkin' Dog Grill, from noon to 9 PM, with two stages of music. The indoor stage will feature Ernie’s past groups, including Central Valley Brass, the Hilmar Community Band, the Camaraderie Quintet, the Gottschalk Music Center Concert Band, Ernie Bucio's Little Big Band, Yosemite Saxophones, New Horizon Jazz, New Horizons Concert Band, and the open jam led by David Dow. Out back, rock and jazz bands will perform. Donations will be accepted for this free all-day celebration, with all proceeds benefiting the MJC Ernie Bucio Scholarship Fund. Various items will be available for sale, such as Ernie’s CD’s and T-shirts, as well as raffles throughout the day. The Barkin’ Dog is also contributing a portion of food/drink sales to the fund.