Recently I was in New York to hear the St. Olaf Choir sing, transcendently, at Carnegie Hall. I was there both as a member of the college’s board and as a devotee of a cappella music. After the concert an alumna asked whether I would join a little company, including St. Olaf president Mark Edwards and his spouse, for a private showing of “woolies” at the Seamen’s Church Institute.

Tell someone you are going to see a display of woolies and you will be greeted with questions. Woolies? The dictionary helps little. You might find, as in the Oxford English Dictionary Supplement, “winter woollies: warm underwear (not necessarily of wool).” Nothing to attract Victoria’s Secret types. A clue: the woolies on exhibit are distinctive, even in respect to their spelling. And they are made by men.


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