‘The sunshine of the orchestra’

Warwick. Emily Buliung is the Warwick Valley Superintendent’s Artist of the Week.

| 10 Feb 2023 | 01:08

For Warwick Valley High School senior Emily Buliung, the auditorium stage has become her home away from home. Over the past few years, there’s rarely been an event held on the stage, whether it’s a concert, play or National Honor Society induction, that she is not participating in.

Buliungwill be playing the lead role in the spring musical, “Xanadu,” next month and was Goldilocks in the fall production of “Goldilocks and the Three Pigs.” She also sings with the Meistersingers honors chorus and plays the cello in the WVHS Chamber Orchestra.

Cello, voice and piano

Outside of school, Buliung takes cello, voice and piano lessons in addition to attending classes for dancing and acting. She performs with both the WRC Theatre Company and the Warwick Center for the Performing Arts Theater group.

“My entire life has become music at this point,” she said.

And if all that wasn’t enough, she is also preparing auditions for colleges in both voice and cello. She plans to study music education and performance with the goal of becoming a music teacher.

“I can’t see myself living without either (voice or cello),” said Buliung, who has completed two of her five auditions. “They’re both such a major part of my life. And I’ve been able to learn and to meet so many people through both of them that I just need to audition on both. Otherwise, I feel like I’m going to be missing something.”

Play characters that ‘prove themselves’

When Buliung found out that the spring musical was going to be “Xanadu,” she knew she wanted to audition for the leading role of Kira because she had played similar characters in the past. Last spring, she played Elle Woods in the WRC production of “Legally Blonde.”

“I feel like the characters are very similar to each other where they know what they want, they kind of change themselves and in a way disguise themselves, and then in the end they prove themselves and they’ve done this big thing to help everybody,” she said. “And they’re both very spunky blonde girls.”

Oh, and those roller skates

One complication to playing Kira in “Xanadu” was that the character is on roller skates the entire play. She had never skated before but is getting better. She can even skate backwards now, which is something that director Nick DiLeo wanted her to do.

With auditions and cello concerts coming up, Buliung can’t afford to get hurt roller skating. She’s been wearing knee pads, elbow pads and wrist braces at rehearsals. That way if she falls, and she hasn’t yet, she’ll be protected and still able to play the cello.

Buliung has been playing the cello, the instrument her mother played, for nine years. She has participated in every NYSSMA Festival since the fourth grade and this year was selected to the All County Orchestra for the third time.

“Emily is an amazing person who works hard at everything she does,” said WVHS orchestra director Elissa Maynard. “She brings joy to everyone she is around. I often call her the sunshine of the orchestra.”

Benefitting from great teachers

As a vocalist, Buliung recently performed with the Zone 9 Area All-State Mixed Choir. Meistersingers director Noreen Hanson described Emily as an involved and enthusiastic vocalist who excels at sight singing.

She credits the great music teachers she’s had in Warwick as the reason she wants to go into music education. She has found that music helps calm her, erase her stress and allow her to regain focus.

“I see their love for music, and because of them, I know music will always be there for me,” she said. “So now I want to help the future generations and teach them in a way where they feel comfortable and they know that music is also there for them and that it’s a safe place for them.”