It was organised chaos at WIN Entertainment Centre on Thursday, as thousands of students took part in final preparations for the Southern Stars spectacular.
Among the performers at the dress rehearsals were the Black Swans, a group of female Aboriginal students from Lake Illawarra High School.
The singing group has been writing, recording and performing together since forming several years ago.
At Southern Stars, they will perform an original song, The Black Swan Dreaming Song, about the black swans of Lake Illawarra.
They will be performing this song with singers from other schools, as well as the Aboriginal dance ensemble, Yanggaa Garaba.
Denise Willis, Lake Illawarra High's Aboriginal education officer said the song is based on a story which has been relayed by local Elders.
"It goes back to sharing stories, and writing about our Aboriginal Dreaming stories," Mrs Willis said.
"One of the Dreaming stories was about the black swans of the Illawarra.
"When the swans arrived in the Illawarra they had to fight to survive. And we as Aboriginal people have had to fight to survive as well."
The song was also inspired by the school's students visiting the lake to write down their thoughts and draw pictures of their surroundings.
"I think what we do get out of it is sharing our culture," Mrs Willis said of the song being performed.
"All of those students that are going to be performing (the song) are Aboriginal students... It's brought everyone together, to put this amazing sound and dancing together."
"It's important to let other people know about the song, and our culture," Black Swans member, Lake Illawarra High year 10 student Akala Lawrence said.
Now in its 19th year, Southern Stars is one of the Department of Education's premier creative events, showcasing the abilities of more than 3000 students.
This arena spectacular, hosted annually at the Entertainment Centre is a show featuring vocalists, dancers, circus performers, drama students, a choir and live orchestra.
About 12,000 patrons are expected to attend one of four COME ALIVE shows on August 23-24.
Executive producer Paul Roger said the show was the culmination of months of work from the Southern Stars team, as well as that of students and teachers.
"The past eight or ten weeks, teachers have been giving up weekends and holidays to run through rehearsals and choreography," he said.
"So to see all those pieces of the puzzle coming together now is a really strong sense of satisfaction and pride, because people have poured their heart and soul into this project.
"The music, the performance - there's something there for everybody. There's opera, rock, old hits, new stuff."