SINGING tutor Karen Hughes is urging people to pick up a new hobby and give group singing a go.

Sing Out Loud is in its four year in Colchester but celebrates a milestone ten years in Chelmsford.

The informal group, which gathers weekly at the Quaker Meeting House in Church Street, resumes on April 23 when Colchester-born Karen hopes to see lots of new faces for a taster session.

She said: “Three dozen singers is the magic number.

“Most people who come to us I’d describe as unsure singers. They only sing in the bath or the car when no-one else is around.

“By enabling them to sing with other people it releases all these relaxing and feel-good hormones which you won’t necessarily get singing alone.

“One of my ladies says she goes home feeling relaxed and exhilarated all at the same time.”

The boom in community singing makes contemporary groups like Karen’s that much more enticing and can be a great remedy for social isolation, low self-esteem, anxiety and low mood.

And it does not matter if you have never performed before, cannot read music or have never sung as part of a choir before.

For the shy singers, Karen, of Maldon, is happy for people to watch first before testing their voice out.

Sing Out Loud’s growing popularity means there are also plenty of performance opportunities including a St Helena Hospice fundraiser at Colchester Rugby Club on May 7.

She said: “Our oldest singer is in their eighties and we have one member who is in his twenties.

“Age isn’t a barrier. We’re there for the sheer enjoyment of singing.”

She added: “Often in our early lives if we’ve not learnt to play an instrument or read music at school, for example, you don’t tend to have a creative musical outlet so singing can enable someone to have that outlet.”

“The group is centered on your own personal development at your own rate.”

Classes are held in Colchester town centre on Mondays during term time and run from 7.15pm to 9.15pm.

For more information, call Karen on 07853 132 633 or click here.