Mike Lasley holds a BME, a MM, and a DMA in Percussion Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). He has performed as a marimba soloist with the UNCG Symphony Orchestra, UNCG Percussion Ensembles, Greensboro Concert Band, and at the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy. As an ensemble member, Mike has performed with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Carolina Pops, North Carolina Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Salisbury Symphony, and many others. Mike currently teaches percussion at North Carolina A&T State University and is Social Media Director for C. Alan Publications. He frequently serves as director, music director, pianist, and percussionist for local community theatre and high school musicals. Mike is typically unseen in shows as a music director but enjoys being on stage from time to time. Favorite roles include the title role in Shrek: The Musical, Lawrence Jameson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Bud in Bridges of Madison County, and Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls. He also serves as Vice President of High Point Community Theatre. When not working or on stage, he enjoys cooking, playing board games, and exploring craft breweries with his husband, Wilson, and finds solace in watercolor painting.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a percussionist and educator, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Mike Lasley: I originally set out to pursue law. It was a last-minute change to music education for me. I could see my younger self heading into law or continuing with bartending with the intention to open my own business.
R!S: As a freelance artist, what's one of the weirdest gigs you've taken or oddest jobs you've had outside the industry?
ML: I never expected to get involved in community theatre. I randomly brushed off my piano skills 11 years ago to assistant music direct Oklahoma! I'm now directing and music directing three to five shows per year. I've played more shows on piano than on percussion.
R!S: What's one thing most people don’t know about you?
ML: Most people didn't know that I painted until I started posting stuff online during the pandemic. My mom and I took art lessons starting when I was six or seven as a part of therapy. It has been very rewarding to get back into it.
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
ML: My favorite percussion instrument is definitely the marimba. I fell in love with it when I went to my first percussion ensemble concert while in high school. It was so exotic to me then, and I'm still very much drawn to the timbre.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
ML: I grew up in rural North Carolina on a tobacco farm, just north of Greensboro. I was not a fan of the farm life as a kid, but my husband and I are moving back to what's left of the family farm within the next year. Tobacco isn't grown there any longer, but I look forward to getting my hands back in the dirt with vegetables and flowers.