How Did That Happen? The History Behind Honour, The Musical

In a free presentation the writers of Honour, The Musical discuss politics, race relations and music of 1802 New Bern

Simon Spalding and Bill Hand.

NEW BERN, NC, Bill Hand and Simon Spalding have crafted Honour, The Musical that tells the story of the Spaight-Stanly duel and the story of Sarah Rice, enslaved servant to the Spaights. But did you wonder how it was that two men ended up firing shots at each other? Hand and Spalding will host a discussion of the circumstances and the people that led to the famous duel, as well as a presentation on 19th century slavery based on what they learned in their research and preparation. Join them on Friday, April 8 at 7 pm at Orringer Hall at Craven Community College for this free presentation.  No tickets or reservations are necessary.

Bill Hand and Simon Spalding will discuss their research of the men, the history and the politics of the time and how the national political scene affected North Carolina and New Bern.   Naturally Simon will also talk about the music of the time and how it tied in the political scene. You can expect some lively tunes.

The institution of slavery is also a theme in Honour, The Musical highlighted with the characters of Sarah and John Rice and Barber Jack. The authors will discuss the anomaly of Barber Jack (John C. Stanly) who rose out of slavery to become the largest slaveowner in the state and give an overview of slavery in the early 19th century.

Honour, The Musical will be presented by the North Carolina History Theater in partnership with Craven Community College and the New Bern Historical Society on April 21-24 and April 30-May 1 at Orringer Hall at Craven Community College.  Tickets are available at or at the New Bern Historical Society at 511 Broad St. in New Bern.

Hand is responsible for both the book and the lyrics of Honour, The Musical.  He is a local writer, historian and journalist who is also known for his weekly history column in New Bern Live.  He also writes the scripts and directs the Cedar Grove Cemetery ghosts for the Historical Society’s annual Ghostwalk. Audiences will also remember his dinner theatre
presentations from Athens of the South company, as well as his recent portrayal of Mark Twain and Orville Wright for the North Carolina History Theater.

 The music of Honour is the work of musician, historian, author and performer Simon Spalding. Spalding has been a musician for 50+ years performing with groups throughout the US and Europe countries. His solo performances have taken him to a total of twelve European countries, and he has composed, arranged and performed music for dozens of commercial recordings and films. He also served for five years as Living History Programs Manager at Tryon Palace.

This program is supported in part by North Carolina Humanities the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities,

The North Carolina History Theater, Inc., is a qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to expressing and exploring the unique history of North Carolina through the performing arts and celebrating the rich diversity of our state in all forms of artistic expression. Contact them at