Melina Soochan is one multi-talented lady!
The Dollard des Ormeaux resident is a singer. pianist, song-writer, piano teacher, arts entrepreneur and dream-catcher. She studied music at McGill University and got her MBA at the John Molson School of Business.
Let’s add the word “resourceful” to her list. When the second COVID-19 lockdown hit Montreal, she and some colleagues left Montreal to find opportunities to perform safely elsewhere on the globe. The entire experienced ended up lasting almost a year. Now she is back and performing on Friday night at Bistro MM Station Culinaire at 771 Boulevard Curé-Labelle in Blainville, followed by a show at Café Morin in Sainte-Adèle Saturday evening where she will part of a jazz trio with Adam Goulet and Michel Medrano Brindis.
So here is the backstory or Melina’s journey. It all started in Oct 2020 when the second lockdown was announced in Montreal and everyone and everything was cancelled for the second time. As a musician who lives primarily on gigs and live shows, this was a devastating second blow. By then, she was mentally checked out and just wanted to get away from it all. “So I came up with an idea,” she explains. “I put together a seven-piece band consisting of excellent musician-friends from Montreal who were all in the same boat as me. We called ourselves The Audio Embassy and I booked us for a two-week work-vacation to the Club Med in Cancun, Mexico. We left on Dec 19, 2020, and planned to stay only for the holidays. Playing music, in the hot Mexican sun, for the holidays and New Year’s Eve, sounded like paradise!”
In order to prepare for this trip, the group held hush hush rehearsals in her home in DDO. “But we were very careful, creating a little bubble of our own, and eventually, when the time came, we finally got out to Mexico,” Melina says. “ At the time, the only requirements were washing hands and wearing a mask at the airport and upon arrival. In the Club Med resort itself, the entire resort was considered a bubble. Each family or group travelling didn’t have to wear masks between themselves, only when going to the restaurants or other public indoor spaces. Many of the Club Med activities had been modified to accommodate the new COVID rules, such as holding all group activities outdoors, having outdoor parties, closing the bars early and more spacing between tables in the restaurants.”
The gang were scheduled to return home on Jan 6, 2021, but then Quebec announced its famous 8 pm curfew, Melina and another Montreal singer, Dano Peace, decided to extend their travels. They continued as a musical duo to another Club Med, this time in the Dominican Republic. When it looked like they would have to return to Montreal, a booking agent told them that the Club Med in Florida, USA, had an opening. They performed there for the remainder of the winter and spring, until May 1. At the same time, she was supporting herself through online piano lessons.
While in Florida, Melina started visiting the bigger cities, renting a car and going out to meet musicians, booking agents and music venues in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. She also got double vaccinated.
Once again a return home was averted and Melina extended her stay for an additional three months. She rented a tiny guest house and bought a car. She had already been traveling with her trusty Privia keyboard. From Florida she even did a road trip to New Orleans and back. On August 1 she drove back to Montreal, passing through Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach, New York, and more. She documented pretty much every step of the way on Facebook.
Barely back in Montreal, Melina was off again to perform in Greece (Piraeus and Milos), to Croatia (Dubrovnik and Korcula), to Italy (Otranto, Sorento, Rome and Portofino), France (Nice) and finally to Spain (Barcelona). She went as a duo with guitarist-singer Adam Goulet, also from Montreal. COVID measures were strict.
Melina came home on Sep 15, back to Montreal, after nine months of international travel. Thanks to her musical endeavours and, in a way to COVID, this was all made possible. “Hopefully it won’t take any other type of pandemic to get me to travel again,” she says. “I assure you, there are many more countries I’m looking forward to visiting, pandemic or not, there’s always a way!”’
Yes, this is one resourceful lady!