Michael Rais

Bass (String, Upright, Double, Electric), Conductor

Michael Rais is noted for his work as main bassist for Detroit’s Motown group The Shades of Blue, South Eastern Michigan Wind Ensemble and Il Segreto String Quartet.

Michael is a chameleon in music as a bassist. Performing everything from classical to jazz, rock to Motown, he has studied and performed many styles over his 30 years of playing bass.

Along with his extensive performance resume, Michael Rais is a conductor, music educator and clinician. He has been teaching middle school band and orchestra for Livonia Public Schools since 2007.

Michael also works as a clinician with many young musicians and bass players.

Live Events

Michael Rais is a bassist born and raised in the Detroit area. He has over 20 years experience as a professional bassist. Some of his bass influences include: Jaco Pastorius, James Jamerson, Les Claypool, Brian Bromberg, Charles Mingus, and Edgar Meyer.

Michael is an alumnus of Livonia Public Schools. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Wayne State University in Music and Music Education in 2006 and attended on a full scholarship. After attending Wayne State University, he completed his master’s degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. Michael has been teaching for Livonia Public Schools since 2007. Mr. Rais was also nominated for teacher of the year during the 2013-2014 school year. He was announced spring 2015 that he is the Livonia Public Schools Middle School teacher of the year for the 2015-2016 school year.

Outside of the classroom, Mr. Rais is a very accomplished musician. He has performed all over North America as a touring bassist and musician. His main instrument is the electric bass and double bass. He has been playing bass for over 30 years. Some of his bass mentors include Roger Rais (Saga), Denny Finney (Zooster), Al Martin (Billie Holiday), Derek Weller (EMU, Michigan Opera Theater), Max Janowsky (Detroit Symphony), and Stephen Molina (Detroit Symphony). He won an award along with his ensemble Il Segreto String Quartet “Outstanding Small Ensemble” for 2010  and 2016 from the Detroit Music Awards. He is also an arranger and conductor. He has arranged music for The Motown Experience and many educational ensembles. He specializes in arranging pop music for string orchestra and full orchestra. His arrangements have been performed by Flint Symphony, Northwestern Symphony, and others.

Active Memberships include:

  • MSBOA: Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association
  • ASTA: American String Teacher Association
  • ISB: International Society of Double Bassists
  • Band World / American Band College
  • Alumni Association for VanderCook College of Music

Groups/Artists Performed with:

  • Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
  • The Original Vandellas
  • The Edsels
  • The Skyliners
  • The Classics
  • The Chiffons
  • The Contours
  • The Legendary Teenagers
  • The Crests
  • Shirley Alston Reeves of the Shirelles
  • The Coasters
  • The Reflections
  • The Marvelletes
  • The Crystals
  • Spyder Turner
  • Eddie Holman
  • The Marcels
  • The Cleftones
  • Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs
  • The Pink Flamingos
  • The Spaniels
  • The Volumes
  • Sonny Turner
  • Kathy Young
  • Mu330
  • The Motown Experience
  • Members of the Temptations
  • Leisa Parham
  • Melissa Berhing Jazz Quartet
  • Willie Jones
  • The Jarmels
  • Sniff Test
  • Metro-Detroit school area musicals

Classical Ensembles Michael has performed with:

  • Michigan Arab Orchestra
  • Reno Philharmonic
  • Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
  • Dearborn Symphony
  • Michigan Philharmonic
  • Southeastern Michigan Wind Ensemble (Currently Performing with)
  • Lake St. Clair Symphony Orchestra (Principal Bassist)
  • Wayne State Symphony Orchestra
  • Redford Symphony
  • Wayne State Wind Symphony
  • Eastern Michigan University Ensembles
  • Detroit Civic Orchestra

Currently Performing with:

  • The Shades of Blue (Motown)
  • Il Segreto String Quartet
  • South Eastern Michigan Wind Ensemble
  • Redford Symphony
  • Accidentally Hip

Recorded on albums:

  • Black Milk “Album of the Year”
  • Slum Village “Villa Manifesto”
  • Sniff Test “EP”
  • Il Segreto String Quartet:
    “When Kippie Attacks” Detroit Music Award Nominee for “Outstanding Classical Album”
    “Make Things Better” Detroit Music Award Nominee for “Outstanding Classical Album”


  • GHS Strings Endorsed Artist
  • Livonia Public Schools – Middle School Teacher of the year 2015-2016
  • Il Segreto String Quartet – Detroit Music Award for “Outstanding Small Ensemble” Classical (2010, 2016) Nominee 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019

Music Styles:   Chamber Music, Classic Rock, Classical, Commercial/Film Music, Concert Band, Cover Tunes, Dance, Ethnic, Funk, Jazz, Jazz Fusion, R&B, Soul, Wedding Music, and World Music

Event Types:   Ceremonial/Graduation, Chamber Music Concert, Classical/Symphonic Concert, Concert, Club Date, Corporate/Industrial, Dance, Educational/School Concert, Festival, Party, Reception, Studio/Recording Session, and Theatrical/Broadway Musical