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Rachel Walzer

2009/04/01 23:00 Featured Volunteers

By Deb Wenig.

Rachel Walzer

Some of you may remember “The Carpenters” a popular American brother and sister singing duo back in the ’70’s decade. One of their song’s lyrics went “Sing, sing a song, sing it loud, sing it strong…Sing of good things, not bad. Sing of happy, not sad.” Rachel Walzer’s bright smile and wonderful voice will make you want to sing and always of happy things! Rachel’s personality and giving spirit make her a shining Featured Volunteer. Kim Forsythe said, “Rachel is a perfect gem. She is highly focused and motivated, incredibly talented, sensitive, lovely and above all, humble beyond words.

Like many adventurous souls, Rachel, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel, came to Japan to experience a year (yes, just one!) of “…new and unique adventures” and eighteen years later she’s still here. A familiar story, shared by many with this Jerusalem-raised and educated gal. Rachel commented that “The new and unique adventures are continuously a part of my life in Tokyo. Japan and its culture never ceases to delight and to mystify me. It is a mesmerizing place, cloaked in grace as well as awkwardness. To me it is an unfamiliar culture, driven by controlled passion. Living in Japan is like living in a theater. Public life is like a well-rehearsed performance, yet the inner workings of each individual burst with subtext. And there is my colorful array of international friends and co-workers, who are fascinating in their uniqueness and heartbreaking in their transiency.”

As Rachel is an actress, narrator, director, and university drama instructor, she counts herself lucky to be paid for what she loves to do! She works with the Tokyo International Players, as well as all the English language theater companies in Tokyo, which are mainly non-profit organizations.

Rachel’s involvement with the Tyler Foundation began last year when she directed the show for the 2008 Mystery a la carte event where she was “…immersed in what I love; working on a theater production and working with good people for a good cause. The world of acting, while exciting, artistic and fulfilling, can sometimes feel self indulgent, but working on a show for the Tyler Foundation lent an air of purpose that made all of us involved feel humbled and motivated. Actors, who often crave the spotlight, grew modest during the rehearsal period, and as the director I felt no need to be recognized for my work. During a rehearsal, I apologized to an actor, whose stage time I had to cut by half for the sake of the timing of the fundraiser evening. He nodded, accepting the situation, and uttered words rarely spoken by performers. With grace and humility he said: ‘It’s not about me’. We were a team of people who wished to produce a show that would entertain the guests, but more importantly, create an event that would reflect the importance of people coming together to focus on and give to the greatest cause in the world: the well-being of children.”

Rachel said that since her involvement in last fall’s fundraising event she will assist the foundation in the future. “The Tyler Foundation is not a one time project that one can say ‘been there–done that’ about. There will always be cause to keep giving, and there will always be the motivation sparked by Tyler, and children like him, for the rest of us to live and give. Why has Rachel become such a passionate volunteer? Because she has the “…knowledge that every activity related to the Tyler Foundation’s development, whether it appear mundane, exciting, complicated, tedious, minor, fun or glamorous is for the purpose of bettering or saving lives. And, secondly, it is a great opportunity to “…share time, ideas and skills with some of Tokyo’s most exceptional, bright, motivated, caring and fun individuals, who volunteer for the Tyler Foundation.” In volunteering I can witness the spirit of generosity, shared by people of various cultures, ages and walks of life all celebrating humanity at its best.”

Kim excitedly said, “How can we be so lucky to be apportioned a slice of her much-in-demand theatrical and directing energy again this year in planning and directing the entertainment at our Vegas Extravaganza? Lucky, lucky us!” Rachel said, “It is my job to develop the artistic side of the evening, which includes writing a script, casting talent, bringing stage techies on board and going forward with rehearsals. From this point on, my contact is closest with the actors, singers, musicians, dancers and techies, who are volunteering their talent. We work together at rehearsals and bring the product to the event, which this year will be on October 2nd The performers include Japanese as well as a variety of international talent.

Rachel views volunteering for the Tyler Foundation as extremely important for the families who have been struck by childhood cancer. “How many times in our lives are we alerted to the misfortunes of others? How many times do we shake our heads in sorrow and think ‘I wish I could help.’ How many times do we actually get off our bottoms? For most of us the answer to the latter is: not enough times.” Rachel said, “It’s not about me/us. It is about us as members of the human race. Yes, it’s about helping sick children and their families, but it’s also about striving to do good with whichever assets we have to offer. She noted that “… working with Kim and Mark and several other outstanding individuals is inspiring. A privilege. And frankly, downright fun.” So, Rachel says to all who may be thinking of being involved: “You are needed. Anything you can offer is valued. Whether it be funds, skills, extra hands or a gentle smile, there is a place for your assistance. Every single volunteer is important and treasured and treated with the utmost respect, and every Tyler Foundation related activity contains sincerity, purpose, hope, success and laughter.” All the things we find in our Featured Volunteer, Rachel Walzer!

To learn more about Rachel Walzer and her work, please see www.rachelwalzer.com.