- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2008

“I always said I’d never be an emcee, but who could refuse for Bitsey and Sidney?”

Syndicated talk-show host Diane Rehm echoed the sentiments of guests at the Cathedral Choral Society’s annual benefit Saturday night as she paid tribute to the charm, kindness, generosity and passion for music of the evening’s honorees, Nancy M. “BitseyFolger and Dr. Sidney Werkman.

Mrs. Folger and Dr. Werkman, companions for the past 22 years, are great favorites on the capital’s arts and social scene, which no doubt explained why the number of guests was bigger than in other years, the silent auction items more numerous and lavish, the spirit, as Mrs. Rehm noted, “something that we shall never forget.”.

“They have such great hearts; of course we’re here, saidJane Cafritz. (She and her husband, Calvin, are no mean philanthropists themselves).

“Their contributions are a model for us all,” Cathedral Choral Society President Wesley O. McGhee said before presenting Mrs. Folger, a former teacher, and Dr. Werkman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, with the Laura E. Phillips Angel of the Arts Award at the Ritz-Carlton Washington.

Guests, who includedBill and Dorothy McSweeny, Virginia Mars, June Hechinger, Dr. LaSalle and Ruthie Leffall, Molly Raiser, Mary Margaret Valenti and Washington National Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III, listened to exuberant expostulations by Music Director J. Reilly Lewis, a noisy live auction and a somewhat unusual but nonetheless beautiful rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer” by soprano Laura Lewis between the fish and meat courses before dancing to the sounds of the Fairfax Swing Band. Most were intimately aware of the honorees’ assistance over the years to organizations as diverse as the National Symphony Orchestra, Corcoran Gallery of Art, White House Historical Society, Sitar Arts Center and the Black Student Fund.

“I give whatever Bitsey tells me to give,” Dr. Werkman joked to the crowd, characteristically deferring to his better half when the couple accepted their award on stage.

“This is the best evening I’ve ever had in my whole life,” Mrs. Folger said.

— Kevin Chaffee

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