James joined Aberdeen Bach Choir on a part-time basis in the 1960s and was promoted to the position of conductor in 1969, becoming largely responsible for the varied repertoire performed over the years. He continued as conductor until, after the December 2005 concert, illness forced him to give up his duties.
Tributes to James, whose contribution to the life of the Choir is incalculable, have been written by Robert Wilson and Alison Shiel. An obituary by Gordon Casely appeared in The Herald on 15 November 2006. Alan Falconer, Minister at the Cathedral, delivered a moving tribute at the funeral service held in St Machar's Cathedral on 16 November 2006.
An accomplished musician, James Lobban was educated locally at Mile-End Primary School and Aberdeen Grammar School before graduating from Aberdeen University with an Honours Degree in Music in 1964. In 1959 he played organ in a performance of the 'Messiah' at Inverurie West Church and in 1962 James became organist at Rutherford Church of Scotland in Aberdeen. 1966 saw James become Principal Teacher of Music at Inverurie Academy and despite this new challenge, he still managed to fit in a solo performance of Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G minor with the University Symphony Orchestra the following year. He moved on to become Principal Teacher of Music at Hazlehead Academy, a post he held until shortly before his death on Friday 10 November 2006. A dedicated member of St. Machar's Cathedral Choir, James sang bass and in 1981 was promoted to the post of Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral, which he held until his death. James was Principal Examiner in Music for Scotland from 1987 until 1995.