Meet Canberra’s singing pharmacists

Natasha Jovanoska and Elise Apolloni, the Singing Pharmacists.

Canberra’s singing pharmacists might be having a lot of fun, but their musical numbers have a serious side

The Wanniassa Whitecoats have been wowing customers and Facebook followers with their health-oriented rewrites of musical hits for about a year, says Capital Chemist Wanniassa partner Elise Apolloni.

Ms Apolloni writes new lyrics and performs them with fellow pharmacist Natasha Jovanoska.

 “This started about a year ago, mainly because Natasha and I have a lot of fun – all our pharmacists have fun, but we like trying different things out in the pharmacy,” Ms Apolloni says.

“About a year ago, in a pharmacy staff meeting, I asked if I could take a film of people singing a tune. The response I got was pretty mixed, but Natasha said, ‘Yessss!’ We did a short one: ‘Let me vaccinate you’ to the tune of ‘Let me entertain you’ by Robbie Williams.

“Quickly, we separated the introverts from the extroverts!”

Customers have responded with great appreciation, with some applauding loud enough to require second takes to be made.

“My favourite was when we did ‘Under the Sea,’ the medical certificates song. There’s a pause in it and we had someone yell out, ‘Encore!’ So we said we’d better redo that one.

“It’s lovely, because people don’t really expect to walk into a pharmacy and see people singing!”

She says that while belting out tunes might not be every pharmacist’s cup of tea, it’s often helpful for them to interact with their customers in a light-hearted way.

“Pharmacies are places often associated with illness. People come to pharmacy because they’re not well. But our mantra is the opposite. We think we’d like to help people who are well, or encourage them to come to us before they’re unwell.

“We’re here for all states of health, and one important state is your mental health. There’s many studies that say people who have fun, who have a proper belly laugh once a day, are happier and healthier, they want to get out of bed in the morning.

“If we can provide that laugh for a customer who’s having a tough time, whether they see us in the pharmacy or through social media, then I’m very glad we’re able to provide that.”

The pair’s greatest hits have included this week’s World No Tobacco Day message…

…their answer to Daryl Braithwaite…

…a genre shift into rap (feat. Boris the Carousel)…

…and Ms Apolloni’s personal favourite, “Why don’t you feel them up?” to the tune of Build Me Up Buttercup, posted during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

“Some of the people we showed before we put that one on social media asked, ‘Can you really do that?’ But hey, we’re wearing clothes, it’s fine!

“Now we joke that when we hear a song on the radio and those songs come on, I can’t remember the original words sometimes, I only remember the White Coat version!”

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