Acappella Memories: Lost in Holland

Dutch_windmillsBefore I begin this story, I admit that my memory is a bit sketchy on the facts. Certain parts of the story stand out vividly, and parts are very fuzzy. I will try to connect the facts as best I can and you guys can fill in the rest.

We were invited to a festival in Holland, which was very exciting for us. It may have been our first International foray, but I’m not entirely sure. This would have been around 1990. The concept of Acappella Missions, our new outreach organization, was new and this was one of the first times (if not THE first) that we had a chance to do something for it.

We knew we were flying over, expenses paid, for the big event in Holland. Since our flights were taken care of, we decided to extend our time in Europe and go on a mission-based tour, singing in cities connected with local missionaries. This was the trip that we had our East German experience, which is another story entirely.

Anyway, our plans were to meet Tom and Margaret Kincannon, the directors of Acappella Missions, in Holland at the conclusion of the festival. But first, we had to make it through the festival itself.

We landed about mid-morning in Amsterdam and made our way to the countryside where the festival was located. It truly was the countryside. We drove for quite a while through beautiful fields and windmills and suddenly we were in the midst of tents and people everywhere. It was sort of like Woodstock-Holland.

We were delivered to the only permanent buildings in sight… four multi-level housing complexes. Our wives were with us. We arrived hungry and very tired. We’d flown all night and stayed up all day to better acclimate ourselves to the time difference. They had stocked our living area with 2 dozen eggs, bacon and a couple of loaves of bread. All I really remember about this was that as we were trying to settle in, Russell Lamb ate most of the bread. The wives were not overly happy about that. That boy can eat some serious bread.

Looking over our schedule for the next two days, we noticed there was a mention of a late-night concert that night with a sound check at 11:00 PM. For some reason, we assumed this was not for us. Surely not, since we had flown all night and stayed up all day. With that in mind, we went to bed around 9:00 PM and fell into a deep sleep.

At 11:00 PM, we were awoken by a sharp knocking on the front door. Someone was out front door yelling (with a very deep Dutch accent) “Acapeeela! Acapeeeela! Souuund chayck!” Sure enough, we had an 11:00PM sound check and a midnight concert. The five of us (including Russell, our sound tech) got up quickly, cleaned up and did a concert in the middle of the night. I vaguely remember a tall stage, bright lights and a loud crowd. I think I slept through most of it. We got back from the concert and found our wives, wide awake, cooking another round of newly delivered eggs and bread.

The festival continued for a couple of days, during which we sang a few more times. Our last concert was Saturday evening, which was the last night of the event. Our plans were to meet up with Tom and Margaret the next morning at our housing complex and continue on with the tour. We assured them that it would be easy to find. Just follow the directions out to the countryside and look for the massive crowd and tents everywhere.

We awoke the next morning, had a leisurely breakfast and then took a look outside. It was like a scene out of Harry Potter, years before it was written. The entire festival was gone. Fields of tents, both large and small. Gone. Concert stages with massive lights. Gone. The only evidence that we had been part of a 60,000 people gathering the night before was a bit of trash here and there, but not near as much as you would expect. It was a bit surreal.

So there we were, standing outside our little housing complex, with a maze of park-like roads running around the countryside, and all of it hidden by pine trees and gently rolling fields. It was beautiful, remote and entirely impossible for someone to find unless you knew where it was. We had no cell phones, no land lines and no transportation (our Dutch hosts had left us alone since we had told them we were going to be picked up).

We knew what time Tom was supposed to be in the area. We knew they would not be able to find us unless we did something. We had no flares. That would have been great. So we resorted to the old standard. Sherri and I started walking around the countryside yelling, “Toooooom! Maaaaargaret!”

At one point, my wife just stopped and started laughing, She claimed it reminded her of a scene from the Brady Bunch episode Lost in the Grand Canyon. “Bobby! Cindy!”

Believe it or not, after about 15 minutes of calling, we heard a small voice in the distance yelling, “Gaaary! Sheeeeri!” From that point on, we just kept calling each other’s names until they rounded a corner and discovered our little hiding place, lost in the backwoods of the Netherlands.


  1. Margaret Kincannon says

    Wow, Gary, it is so funny to read about this after so many years! I couldn’t believe we actually found each other out there. It was totally dark and we had only the faintest idea where we should be going…and then we heard Sherri calling “Tom! Where are you, Tom?” Do you remember that Mark and Cebia Martin were also with us? All I can say is that God wanted for us to find each other, or it would never have happened. And by the way, I do remember how much Russell liked bread. The next day we were driving to another town for a concert, and for lunch we stopped at a bakery along our route and bought picnic supplies. We got four or five loaves of bread to make sandwiches — more than even Russell could eat. What good memories! I have some photos of that trip that I need to send to you.

    • Wow, yes… I’d love to see pictures. That would be great! I’d forgotten the about the bread thing the next day. That was hilarious!

  2. Margaret Kincannon says

    I just found my photo album from that trip. It was 1992, and the youth festival was held at a park called Flevoland. I actually have a photo of Mark and Tom coming out of the bakery with loaves of bread — probably about six. One of them was a kind of lumpy multigrain loaf that Russell called “alligator bread” (which he didn’t like). We stopped at a roadside park and made sandwiches. I will scan the best of the photos and send them to your e-mail, and you can use them in any way that you want.
    Our first trip with you was to St. Martin, I think in about 1990. We went with Acappella to Europe again in 1993, and with AVB a couple of times after that (once to Dominica, I remember). I will try to find more details and send them.

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