High school students from Merriwa, Scone, Aberdeen, Muswellbrook and Denman on deck for InterACTS concert

CREATING life-time memories is the goal driving Upper Hunter students to play an important role in the new-look InterACTs format.

Formerly known as the "All Stars", the 2020 concept now partners Hunter Disability Services (HDS) with the Muswellbrook PCYC and St Joseph's High School Aberdeen.

And, thanks to passionate leadership and participation from local pupils, the InterACTs week - which started on Tuesday - will culminate in a themed performance on Saturday, January 18, from 11am.

Seventy-five youngsters, from Years 7 to 12, are joining forces with 36 HDS clients to present an entertainment extravaganza featuring sport, art, dance, music, singing, drama and much more.

"We've got students from Merriwa, Scone, Aberdeen, Muswellbrook and Denman on deck," St Joseph's High School captain Alex Bates said.

"So, it's a good mix.

"The pupils interact with the clients for a number of activities [over the next few days], based on team work and making friends.

"Then we'll put on a concert this weekend to showcase what they've learnt.

"It's something we all look forward to every year.

"The ones who've participated before come with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.

"It is a full commitment but it's certainly worthwhile.

"There's nothing like running into the clients down the street [afterwards] and seeing them smile at you or coming up to say hello.

"It's a great feeling when they acknowledge you; that we've made an important connection with them."

Coordinator Chic Taylor is also a driving force behind the initiative.

"These inspirational performances promote inclusion, result in changed perceptions, awareness and is an opportunity for people to develop relationships in the broader community - all with loads of fun," she said.

"The workshops and concert not only highlight abilities and strengths but creates lasting friendships, which means so much to all involved.

"This is the first year HDS, the PCYC and St Joseph's Aberdeen have come together to continue the annual event.

"We welcome, and hope to see, everyone at the show.

"Many local businesses have sponsored and supported interACTs.

"We're forever grateful to them for their contributions in keeping a life-changing, fun and interactive week alive.

"It's actually become a massive community event in Aberdeen, too."

To attend Saturday's concert at St Joseph's High School, the cost is a gold coin donation at the door.

"We're also hosting a raffle on the day with all money going to our local RFS brigades," Ms Taylor said.