Nickie James, Personal Development Since an old school friend persuaded me to ‘come and sing’, I have had a love affair with singing harmony and the relationships it brings. A couple of weeks after that first evening at Chiltern Harmony (now Amersham Acapella), I experienced the thrill of competing on stage with them at Convention. Life-long friendships were made quarteting with Cheek to Cheek and within two years, I was invited to train as a LABBS Presentation judge. Through Barbershop, I discovered an art form that fulfilled inner drives to learn, share, sing and perform. Since qualifying in 2008, I’ve been fortunate to have judged numerous competitions within LABBS, BABS, IABS and SABS, European in Cardiff and Holland, and most recently for Harmony Inc. in Canada. I had the privilege of sitting in the pit at BHS International, Nashville, trial scoring for the new Performance Category. This wonderful ‘hobby’ has taken me far and wide – from coaching in Germany to performing with Phoenix in Hawaii. I can blame singing for bringing Ian, my husband, into my life with whom I directed Chorus Iceni to great improvement. We have wonderful memories to treasure. Together, we have five children – home is full of singing, quartet rehearsals and coaching. I currently direct Welwyn Harmony, holders of the most improved chorus award in LABBS. Most importantly, through these difficult times we have lifelines to friendships through a mutual love of singing and performing.At heart I am an educator – a teacher and leader. In real life, I lead a primary school in West Ham, Newham – a hugely rewarding role that takes priority in my life particularly in the current circumstances. However, my position as LABBS Performance Category Director enables me develop and train judges as well as coordinate LABBS Performance education. I am delighted to be working with BABS at their online Harmony College.